Carrying the weight of the U.S. economy, tractor trailers transport nearly seventy percent of all freight moved in the United States annually. Over two million trucks share the roadway, logging in more than 130 billion miles traveled a year. With over two million trucks operating in the United States, it’s no surprise there are nearly 500,000 truck accidents involving tractor trailers annually, resulting in 5,000 deaths. Every sixteen minutes someone is injured or killed in a tractor trailer related crash
Tractor trailers typically weigh between 50,000 and 80,000 lbs. More than 20 times the weight of the average sedan, tractor trailers require 40 percent longer to come to a complete stop. A fully loaded tractor trailer traveling at 65 mph requires more than 500 feet to stop; that’s over the length of a football field. With an average length of 70 feet, tractor trailers lack the maneuverability of smaller vehicles, leaving it difficult to avoid hazards on the road such as accidents, or debris. Because of the sheer size and weight of tractor trailers, significant damage is almost always done to the passenger vehicle involved in a crash. In fact, reports show that 98% of related deaths occur to the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
General Types of Tractor Trailer Accidents
While specifics may vary, generally most crashes involving tractor trailers fall into one of six categories:
- Turns- Trucks require ample time and space during turns – often neither is available.
- Underrides- Often drivers of passenger vehicles do not stop in time, causing an underride.
- Stopped Trucks- Stopped or broken down trucks are often struck.
- Rear-end Collisions- Trucks need ample time to be stop. Slowed or suddenly stopped vehicles are often rear ended by tractor trailers.
- Improper Maneuvers- Failure to stay within a lane, failure to stop/yield, failure to use turn signal.
- Cargo Shifts- Improperly or overloading a truck can cause a truck to overturn or jackknife.
While not all crashes can be prevented, there are many things we can do as drivers to help avoid collisions with tractor trailers:
- Keep a Safe Distance- Refrain from tail-gating or cutting off a tractor trailer.
- Stay Visible- Tractor trailers have large blind spots- if you cannot see the driver of a tractor trailer, he cannot see you.
- Turn Signals- Always use your turn signal and never changes lanes abruptly.
- Give Trucks Wider Berth- Trucks need more time to accelerate and have upwards of nine gears to shift through.
- Avoid Road Rage- Never instigate road rage or retaliate.
- Pull Completely Off the Road- In the case of an emergency, pull completely off the road and use your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
The average cost of a tractor trailer crash is estimated to be $59,000, costing Americans nearly $20 billion each year.
Injuries and Wrongful Death Following a Large Truck Accident
Given the injuries and number of deaths caused in tractor trailer accidents each year, the insurance companies for the trucking industry have an aggressive system in place geared towards saving money at the expense of injury victims. If you are injured or a loved one is killed as a result of an accident with a tractor trailer, you need experienced representation immediately. Tractor trailers have on board data recorders that record braking distances, speed, and numerous other vital pre-crash data that will help show how the crash occurred. If this information is not promptly obtained, it can be overwritten or lost. An extensive investigation mush occur immediately after a tractor trailer accident to protect your case.
If you or a love one has been injured in a tractor trailer crash, call our tractor trailer accident lawyers today to discuss having an investigation performed immediately. There is NO FEE for our services unless we are successful. We understand those suffering from an injury and out of work are unable to pay up front for a lawyer. To speak to a lawyer, call (855) 402-7247 or (314) 409-7060, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.