Semi-trucks are necessary for our way of life; they transport food and other goods across the country so store shelves are stocked. The downside is that semi-truck accidents can have a devastating impact on other drivers and pedestrians. According to NSC Injury Facts, in 2021, there were 5,700 large trucks involved in fatal accidents, marking an 18% increase from the previous year and a notable 49% surge over the past decade. It’s important to note that “large trucks” in this context encompass any medium or heavy truck with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 10,000 pounds, excluding buses and motorhomes. This category encompasses both commercial and non-commercial vehicles.
These statistics reveal that large trucks had a significant impact on road safety in 2021:
- Large trucks were responsible for 9% of all vehicles involved in fatal accidents.
- Despite comprising only 5% of all registered vehicles, large trucks played a substantial role in fatal accidents.
- Large trucks accounted for 10% of the total vehicle miles traveled, highlighting their substantial presence on the roadways.
Why Are Semi-Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
There are several factors that contribute to the dangers of semi-truck accidents, including:
Size and weight
Semi-trucks, also known as tractor-trailers or big rigs, are significantly larger and heavier than most other vehicles on the road. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds (36,287 kilograms) in the United States. This sheer size and weight make them more difficult to maneuver and stop, and they have the potential to cause catastrophic damage in a collision.
Force of impact
Due to their mass, semi-trucks generate a tremendous amount of kinetic energy when they are in motion. In an accident, this energy is transferred to other vehicles, leading to severe damage and injuries. Smaller vehicles involved in a collision with a semi-truck often experience much greater force than in collisions between two smaller vehicles.
Height and underride accidents
Semi-trailers have a higher ground clearance compared to passenger vehicles. In certain types of accidents, such as rear-end collisions, smaller vehicles can slide under the trailer, which can result in devastating underride accidents where the roof of the smaller vehicle is crushed.
Longer stopping distances
Because of their weight and size, semi-trucks require significantly longer distances to come to a complete stop. This means that if a semi-truck driver needs to brake suddenly, they may not be able to avoid a collision with a vehicle in front of them.
In some accidents, cargo being transported by a semi-truck can pose additional dangers. Hazardous materials, flammable goods, or heavy cargo can spill or create additional hazards in an accident, increasing the risk of injury or environmental damage.
Semi-trucks have limited maneuverability, especially in tight spaces or when making sharp turns. This can lead to difficulties in avoiding obstacles or other vehicles in emergency situations.
Semi-truck drivers have large blind spots, especially on the sides and rear of the trailer. This limited visibility can make it challenging for them to see smaller vehicles, leading to potential accidents.
Semi-trucks have a higher center of gravity compared to passenger vehicles, making them more susceptible to rollovers, especially in sharp turns or if the driver loses control.
The severity of semi-truck accidents can lead to secondary accidents involving other vehicles, further increasing the risk to other motorists on the road.
Given these factors, it’s crucial for both truck drivers and other motorists to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines when sharing the road with semi-trucks. Safety measures, including proper training, regular vehicle maintenance, and adherence to regulations, are essential to reduce the risk of accidents involving these large commercial vehicles.
Semi-truck overturns, spilling fish onto NB I-5 in Marysville
As reported by komonews.com, Drivers on northbound I-5 in Marysville were greeted by a smelly fish mess on Thursday, September 21 after a semi-truck transporting fish overturned, spilling fish across the roadway. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) first reported the crash located just south of State Route 531 around 8 a.m.
Crews were able to flip the semi-truck upright by 8:40 a.m. but it took another hour to clean up the debris from the roadway. Lanes were reopened around 9:50 a.m.
No injuries were reported and the cause of the crash was unknown at the time this article was written.
Contact a truck accident lawyer today!
A truck accident lawyer can help you recover a full and fair settlement for the injuries you sustained in a car accident with no up-front costs to you. We know the sneaky strategies used by insurance companies to get injured people to agree to settlements far below what they are worth. Our clients typically end up with a settlement or jury award that is five to ten times larger than they could have negotiated on their own. We have been representing people injured in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. Contact the experienced and hard-working personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Mount Vernon, WA today for a FREE consultation!