Atlanta area residents have likely seen news footage of or read about commercial truck accidents in which someone was seriously injured or killed. In the vast majority of these accidents, drivers or passengers of personal vehicles are the unfortunate victims whose lives are claimed or irrevocably and adversely changed.
According to the American Trucking Associations, across the United States, there are an estimated 3 million commercial trucks in operation. These trucks and the millions of drivers who are trained and hired to operate them, are responsible for transporting roughly 9.2 billion tons of goods across the U.S.
There’s no doubt that the commercial trucking industry plays a vital role in the U.S. economy. There’s also no doubt, however, that these trucks can be extremely dangerous if not properly maintained or handled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, during 2012 alone, more than 3,900 people died in accidents involving large commercial trucks. While some truck accidents are unavoidable, there are measures that drivers of personal vehicles can take to protect against causing or being involved in a truck accident.
Some drivers fail to fully recognize the many driving challenges that commercial truck drivers face when sharing the road with other motorists. The view from and handling abilities of a commercial truck are very different from those of a car or personal truck. For example, while all drivers have blind spots, a truck driver’s blind spots cover a much greater surface area and include zones behind, in front of and to both sides of a vehicle.
Additionally, due to its size and weight, a commercial truck takes much longer to slow down or come to a stop. Therefore, in cases where a driver cuts in front of a truck and slams on the brakes, a serious rear-end accident is likely to result. Trucks also don’t have the same type of maneuvering ability as smaller vehicles. As a result, drivers would be wise to exercise patience and caution when a truck is changing lanes or attempting to make a turn.
There are also many cases in which truck drivers are negligent in causing or contributing to accidents. For individuals who suffer harm or injury due to a truck driver’s failure to properly maintain a vehicle or follow traffic laws, it’s wise to explore one’s legal options.
Source: FindLaw.com, “Common Causes of Truck Accidents,” March 31, 2015