Approximately every 16 minutes a tractor trailer accident occurs in the United States. What may seem unusual is when and where most of these accidents take place. The majority of these accidents happen on weekdays, 66 percent of them happen during daylight hours and 68 percent occur in rural areas. Passenger cars and smaller vehicles are the most vulnerable in these types of crashes. Ninety-eight percent of the time those killed are in the smaller vehicles rather than the truck driver.
Tractor-trailers, also known as semi trucks, 18 wheelers or "big rigs," are an important part of our economy. The purpose of tractor-trailer trucks is to carry goods and materials from one place to another. There are two main components of a tractor trailer - the engine and the trailer. The engine will tow the trailer on which the cargo or freight is carried. Even without passengers and cargo, the truck itself weighs more than 10,000 pounds. Depending on the kinds of goods being carried, the truck can weigh anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 pounds. Accidents involving these mammoth machines often have tragic results.
Many rules and regulations have been designed for truck drivers and trucking companies to keep people safe while on the road. Though in place, these safety rules set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are sometimes neglected. This leaves the door open for an increase in accidents and fatalities. Unsafe driving, exceeding speed limits, driver fatigue (driving too many hours without a break) and other negligent acts raise the risk of tractor-trailer accidents. It is against the law for any truck driver to be on the road for more than 11 hours.
Tips For Passenger Vehicles
In an effort to reduce the risk of a collision with a tractor trailer, smaller vehicles should:
- Avoid areas of limited visibility to the driver of the truck. These areas include the "No Zones" - the areas behind and beside the tractor trailer.
- Refrain from unsafe passing of a tractor trailer.
- Do not drive between large trucks.
- Do not merge inappropriately or execute quick lane changes in busy conditions.
Tractor-trailer accidents are in a separate category from other types of vehicle accidents because of the number of injuries and fatalities involved. Because sometimes many parties are involved, there can also be several different insurance companies handling the claims.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, the best advice is to immediately consult with an attorney.
Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1800-898-HAYS or visit
http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation.