Whether we realize it or not, we all depend on commercial trucks. Large semis and big-rigs are essential to our economy, as they deliver goods our growing population needs and depends on. In addition, the trucking industry supports various other industries, from travel plazas to roadside diners. While these trucks play a vital role in society, they also pose significant risks to other motorists. This fact is particularly true when they are not maintained properly or when their drivers are negligent. Also, many trucking companies ignore government safety protocols, which place their drivers and others on the road in danger. What’s more, truck accidents cause the greatest destruction you will find on our highways and city roads. Because of their immense size, these trucks can cause substantial property damage and produce devastating injuries to victims of crashes. Not surprisingly, most fatalities in commercial truck accidents are passenger vehicle occupants, whose smaller vehicles are no match for massive semi-trailers. These big-rigs generally weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles, generating much more force at high speeds and making it difficult to stop. In fact, trucks need 20 percent to 40 percent more distance than other vehicles to stop. Simply put, many accidents occur because truck drivers can’t stop or maneuver their vehicles quickly to avoid an accident.
What Are the Most Common Types of Commercial Truck Accidents?Although commercial truck accidents can occur in countless ways, here are some of the most common types of large truck collisions that injure drivers every day on our streets and highways.
Head-On and Rear-End CollisionsHead-on accidents take place when a big truck strikes other vehicles from the front while rear-end collisions happen when larger commercial trucks run into the back of a smaller vehicle. Both of these situations are extremely dangerous, especially for those in the smaller vehicle.
Jackknife AccidentsA commercial truck can jackknife when the driver suddenly brakes and the trailer behind sways out to a 90-degree angle. Other drivers are in a vulnerable position relative to the out-of-control tractor-trailer, which can ultimately roll over and wreak havoc.
Underride CrashesUnderride accidents are some of the deadliest types of truck accidents. They occur when a truck stops suddenly, and approaching vehicles become lodged underneath the trailer. Many times, the impact rips the top of the smaller vehicle off. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends all truck companies and independent drivers implement the use of side guards on their trucks to prevent such horrific accidents.
Tire BlowoutsHow many times have you seen remnants of large tire blowouts on the highway? While a blowout can happen with any car, commercial trucks are much more susceptible to tire blasts. These blowouts can make it difficult for the driver to control the truck, and the large tire scraps that are left behind are a road hazard to others.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?Typically, large commercial truck accidents happen as a result of one or more of these circumstances:
Poor MaintenanceThe law requires truck owners to keep their trucks in peak condition before they take their rigs on the road. Sadly, truckers fail to do this because of the time of maintaining the trucks and the costs involved. They may prefer to use that time to deliver goods. As you might expect, poor maintenance is one of the leading causes of commercial truck accidents.
Alcohol and Drug UseMany truck drivers are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs while driving their trucks. These substances directly impact their ability to drive safely. Many commercial truck accidents happen because of impaired drivers who have diminished judgment or reaction time. We’re not only talking about illegal drugs here. Many drivers experience reduced coordination and judgment due to ingesting prescription drugs.
What Types of Injuries Do Commercial Truck Accidents Cause?When a truck weighing as much as 80,000 pounds slams into a much smaller vehicle, the injuries suffered by the car’s inhabitants can be extremely serious. Here are a few of the most common injuries victims suffer in a commercial truck accident:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Head trauma and brain injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ injuries