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September 11th, 2018

Why Commercial Truck Collisions Are Not Just Big Car Accidents

It is easy to mistakenly assume commercial truck collisions are just a type of big car accident. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2017 there were 35,635 accidents that involved at least one commercial truck. From these accidents, 8,244 people were injured with 1,529 serious injuries, 1,221 serious crashes, 601 fatalities, and 512 fatal crashes.1

Unlike car accidents, accidents involving commercial vehicles can be very serious and life-threatening. The thing most people tend to forget is the overall size of commercial vehicles, their increased weight, and the force of impact they create when crashing into another vehicle.

The average commercial vehicle tends to weigh anywhere from twenty to thirty times more than your typical passenger vehicle. During an accident, the force of the impact from the heavier vehicle is significantly higher. As a result, the body of the vehicle has to absorb the increased force, which can cause very serious injuries and even death.

Another reason commercial truck accidents are more serious is that these vehicles require a longer stopping distance. The amount of distance required to come to a complete stop can be anywhere from twenty to forty percent more than a passenger vehicle. In some cases, this could be as long as a regulation football field or more!

For instance, some fatal crashes involving commercial trucks are the result of another vehicle cutting in front of the truck too closely and then stopping abruptly. The commercial truck does not have sufficient time to react, and it slams into the back of the vehicle in front of them. There is a high probability the truck will a run over the vehicle, crushing it and its occupants.

Even in cases where the crash is caused by a passenger vehicle hitting a commercial vehicle, the results are often fatal. For example, on March 29, 2017, a young man driving a pickup truck crashed head-on into a church minibus and killed 13 people. The cause of the accident was due to the young man texting and driving.2

Potential “Side Effects” of Commercial Truck Collisions

Aside from the damages and injuries caused by the impact between the commercial truck and another vehicle, there are several potential side effects. These side effects can result in additional damages and injuries and could include:

 

  • The potential of creating a chain-effect where one vehicle after another is rear-ended, resulting in a major accident pile-up.
  • The spilling of toxic and dangerous chemicals or flammable fluids like gasoline.
  • The truck trailer “jack-knifing” and smashing the truck cab.
  • Potential decapitation by the truck trailer if a smaller vehicle goes underneath the trailer.
  • The release of cargo from the trailer onto the road or onto other vehicles.

The extent of injuries from the initial collision, along with any “side effects,” can be very serious if not fatal.

If you have or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is in your best interests to speak to a personal injury truck accident lawyer at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers.

You could be entitled to a much higher amount of compensation than the insurance company is offering you. Please feel free to contact our law office today for a free consultation!

Sources:

  1. http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2017/30.pdf
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/31/witness-truck-driver-texas-crash-killed-13-texting/99888684/

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