Large Truck Accidents

Road accidents that involve large trucks can be particularly devastating. And because of their large size, trucks will usually get the better of a smaller vehicle or car in the event of a multiple vehicle accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS/HLDI), working with statistics from the US Department of Transportation, “Ninety-seven percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2016 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.” The IIHS study cites several factors for why devastating large truck accidents occur. Although each accident happens under unique circumstances, here are some primary recurring factors:

Driver fatigue

Until recently truck drivers were often required to work excessively long hours with no oversight from federal regulators or fleet owners. Drivers of large trucks frequently pull shifts as long as 11 consecutive hours, but surveys indicate that many violate existing regulations and work even longer. Electronic logging devices, required since 2017, should help with compliance, and eventually reduce driver fatigue-related accidents.

Longer braking times

Compared with smaller passenger vehicles, stopping distances for trucks are much longer, particularly on wet and slippery roads, or if braking systems are poorly maintained. New requirements for most new model trucks were instated in 2017. Among them, a requirement for electronic stability control is expected to reduce crashes in the future.

Lack of or inadequate rear under ride and side guards in many areas

Large trucks can weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger vehicles. They have much greater ground clearance than most cars, which means that lower-riding vehicles can slide beneath truck trailers, a fairly common type of truck/car collision. Rear under ride guards help stop this from happening, but IIHS research shows that guards can sometimes fail in low-speed crashes. In some areas of North America, neither rear under ride and side guards (which are especially helpful in preventing cyclist and pedestrian accidents with large trucks) are mandatory. Across the board standards and compliance need to be established, and the technology of the guards themselves improved.

If you’ve been involved in an auto-related accident, including one that involves a large truck or multiple trucks and vehicles, call Troutman Law Firm today for expert advice and guidance.

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