Passenger Vehicles: Collisions with Semi-Trucks and Tractor-Trailers
December 14, 2020
Approximately 38,800 people died in car crashes last year, according to early estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC). Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers, which can weigh up to several tons and travel at high rates of speed, were involved in 11% of fatalities. Collisions between passenger vehicles and trucks can be disastrous. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly three-quarters of drivers killed in crashes involving trucks are the drivers of passenger vehicles.
There are several hazards associated with tractor-trailers and semi-trucks. Some drivers go on what is known as a “long haul,” where they drive for hours – and sometimes even for days – on end. Driving for long periods can lead to major fatigue, endangering not only truck drivers but all others they encounter on the road as well. Here are some other common trucking-related hazards:
- Vehicle weight. Some trucks weigh over 75,000 pounds depending on their load, whereas passenger vehicles tend to weigh around 3,500 to 4,000 pounds. Due to how fast they can travel and how much they weigh, when a truck collides with passenger vehicle it can lead to catastrophic consequences
- Ability to stop. Because of how heavy trucks are, they require more time and distance to come to a complete stop. This means that truck drivers need to leave more distance in between themselves and other vehicles on the road
- Transporting hazardous materials. It is not uncommon for trucks to haul dangerous materials like flammable liquids and solids, industrial chemicals, gases, and other dangerous items. These materials can cause explosions and fires if there is a crash
- Human error. Human error includes road safety issues like fatigue, speeding, distraction, alcohol abuse and controlled substance use
- It is critical to regularly inspect and maintain semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. Problems with brakes, load hitches, and tires can cause otherwise preventable accidents
According to data from the NHTSA, the rate of fatal crashes involving large trucks increased by 12% over a recent ten-year period. The agency also reports that the majority of fatal truck and passenger vehicle collisions occur on weekdays, during daytime hours (between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.) and on interstate roadways.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Victims of truck accidents often experience extensive injuries. While there are various laws, rules, and regulations in place to mitigate known truck-related dangers (e.g. regulations stating that truck drivers may not drive after driving 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty, etc.), they are not always enforced and devastating accidents continue to happen every day. Truck accident victims can sustain a range of serious, potentially life-changing injuries, like:
- Neck and back injuries, including spinal cord injuries. These injuries sometimes cause temporary or permanent paralysis
- Head and brain injuries, like traumatic brain injuries or TBIs. Traumatic brain injuries can cause serious medical complications like seizures, infection, and fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus)
- Fractures and broken bones. Depending on the severity of the fracture, surgery and physical rehabilitation may be necessary
- Soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, and pulled muscles. Though most soft tissue injuries heal over time, some require surgery to repair
Getting into an accident is a scary and traumatic experience, particularly for a passenger vehicle occupant involved in a collision with a large truck. If you were in an accident with a truck and are able to, call 9-1-1. Request police and emergency medical personnel. Even if you do not feel like you are injured, you should still seek medical attention. Our bodies release adrenaline during and after an accident, so it can be easy to miss the signs of a minor or major injury. Make sure to notify your insurance company about the incident as soon as possible. If you were injured, you should contact a skilled truck accident lawyer who will protect your rights and advocate for you. To speak with a truck accident attorney and learn more about filing a claim for your injuries, contact a representative of our firm online now.
Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Accident Victims Since 1947
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.