Based on data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, crashes involving large trucks are three times more likely to result in an injury for passengers of other vehicles than the truck driver at a rate of 73% to 24%.
Commercial trucks are vital to our society, delivering the food and other necessary products across our great country. However, they also present a heightened danger to drivers due to their increased size and weight. Trucks can weigh as much 80,000 pounds. When you compare that to the average car weight of about 4,000 pounds, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Adding to the risk of injury or death is the fact that truck drivers are often pushed to their physical and mental limits to meet strict and sometimes unreasonable deadlines on their delivery obligations. Long hours on the road come at the expense of adequate sleep and safety.
In addition to the stress put on drivers, sometimes commercial vehicles are not maintained properly, whether it’s simple negligence, or trucking companies taking shortcuts to increase their bottom line. Improperly maintained trucks lead to higher accident rates, due to part failures, such as malfunctioning brakes or tires, or unsecured cargo.
While non-commercial vehicles can haul small amounts of materials, big rigs not only carry exponentially more and heavier content, often that cargo can be just as dangerous as the truck itself. Toxic and/or explosive materials, when dislodged from containers can be harmful to people immediately involved in the collision, but others as well, including the surrounding environment.
Last, but certainly not least, some companies hire truck drivers with little or no training, or do no investigation into their background. When incompetent drivers operate large vehicles on the highways, accidents are bound to happen.
Being involved in a semi truck accident entails a whole different set of legal rules than everyday auto collisions. Special federal and state laws apply exclusively to truck accident cases. Not to mention, there is a strong likelihood of more parties being involved who are potentially liable for injuries, including the driver, trucking company, and product distributors.
With the added complexities that come with trucking accidents, it is crucial to have an attorney who understands federal and state laws and regulations, and who is also aware of the potential for multiple parties being held accountable for your injuries.
Please call NW Injury Law Center at (360) 695-1624 if you have any questions or would like to speak with us regarding damage or injury by a truck and its heavily loaded semi-trailer.