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Why Are Truck Accidents So Deadly?

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Winder, Georgia, 13th May 2022, ZEXPRWIRE, Truck accidents tend to have deadlier outcomes than crashes involving ordinary vehicles. These collisions result in massive property damage, severe injuries, and even death in some cases. 

An example of a severe truck accident happened to Aguilera-Medeiros, aged 23, when the brakes of his semi trailer loaded with timber failed on Interstate 70 on April 25, 2019. He was trying to shift gears to slow the truck down when it plowed into vehicles slowed down by another wreck that was yet to get cleared. 

The result was a 28-car pile-up that resulted in ruptured gas tanks causing a blaze that reduced some vehicles to shells, and melted part of the tarmac. The accident resulted in four deaths. Aguilera-Medeiros would later get a 110 years sentence, which, after a national uproar, was reduced to 10 years. 

But why are truck accidents so deadly?

Weight

One reason for the severity of truck accidents is the truck’s weight. The maximum weight a fully loaded truck can carry on American roads is 80,000 pounds. This is a sheer 40 tons of steel and cargo. The weight determines the momentum of a truck and the time it will need to come to a stop. When it collides with a car at a relatively high speed, the chances of a car being run over entirely are high, with minimal chances of survival.

The Design

The fact that a truck has a trailer makes it more dangerous by design as the trailer can morph from a cargo container to a lethal weapon on the road in a split second. A typical left turn accident at an intersection would likely result in a T-bone accident with the car occupants that are hit on the side suffering the most damage. However, if you put a semi-truck in the same scenario, the vehicle that hits it on the side would go right under the trailer, making the outcome even more severe. 

The sheer height of the truck makes a collision with a small car significantly dangerous. No matter how you look at it, the chances of getting under the truck and being crushed under its wheels are likely.

The length is also a major factor contributing to the severity and the chances of an accident. Due to the length, trucks have a much larger blind spot, making them more likely to collide with other cars when changing lanes. There is also the question of maneuverability which is significantly affected by the length and weight of the trailer. 

Fatigue

While accidents may be unavoidable, some factors contribute to their prevalence. One such factor is driver fatigue. 

America is experiencing a short supply of truck drivers. This means existing truckers already have more work than they can manage. While federal rules limit the hours a driver should be on the road in a day, some trucking companies and truckers always find a way around the rules resulting in fatigue and, consequently, accidents.

Poor Maintenance

Truck owners and companies owe a duty of care to other road users by ensuring that their truck’s maintenance schedule is updated. Due to their weight, small mechanical problems can result in catastrophe. Other leading causes of truck accidents include unbalanced load, distracted driving, DUI, and driver errors.

“Depending on the causes and circumstances of a truck accident, different parties may be at fault and held liable, which may make it complicated to pursue compensation,”  says truck accident lawyer Rustin Smith. Liability can fall on the driver, the trucking company, dock workers, or even the truck owner.

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