The Increased Risk of Serious Injury in Semi-Truck Accidents - Elliott & Smith Law Firm

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May 22

The Increased Risk of Serious Injury in Semi-Truck Accidents

Elliott & Smith Law Firm

There are over two million semi-trucks in operation in the United States.

There are over twice as many semi-truck trailers as well. These trucks are part of a multi-billion-dollar industry, and many truck drivers will, on average, drive roughly 45,000 miles per year. Long-distance drivers will often travel more than 100,000 miles per year.

Although semi-trucks make up a good portion of the traffic on major interstates and highways, they actually end up being involved in just a small fraction of motor vehicle accidents. However, accidents involving semi-trucks are more likely to be deadly or result in serious injuries compared to passenger cars. There are several reasons for this increased risk for severe injury.

Bigger Size Means Bigger Risks

Most semi-trailers are 53 feet long, and some will pull multiple trailers at one time. Just the semi-truck engine can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, which is more than some smaller passenger vehicles weigh altogether. Trucks are not permitted to weigh more than 80,000 pounds, but many reach that maximum.

A semi-truck’s size and weight make them harder to control for several reasons.

  •     It takes a longer time to stop.
  •     It is easier for the truck to tip during tight turns or quick lane changes.
  •     They have large blind spots.

Maintaining control of a vehicle this large requires specific safety training and specialized licenses.

Longer Time on the Road Increases Potential Dangers

Unlike the average passenger car, a semi-truck may be on the road for millions of miles. However, as these trucks age, parts may wear out without being replaced properly. Tires, for example, will sometimes be retreaded rather than outright replaced to save on costs. Mechanical problems can result in problems controlling the vehicle due to parts failures.

Drivers are also on the road longer compared to passenger drivers. Although there are strict federal and state regulations about how long a truck driver can drive at one time, drivers do not always follow these restrictions. Tired or inattentive drivers are one of the main reasons that semi-truck accidents occur.

Passenger Cars Are Much Smaller Than Semis

The average passenger car does not have much of a chance if it is involved in a semi-truck accident. Semis can easily crush a passenger vehicle, and there are many situations where a car simply slides under a trailer during a crash.

In semi-truck accidents, it is far more common that other drivers and their passengers are injured compared to the semi-truck driver, who sits far above the average passenger car.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi-truck accident, you may have legal options. Talk to our team by calling 479-JUSTICE (587-8423). Phone consultations are available.