As we have mentioned time and time again, avoiding a traffic collision may not be something motorists actively think about day in and day out, but the fact remains that every day, week or month that any of us is not involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident is one more day we have each beaten the odds. Naturally, good drivers and those experienced as professionals skew the results for the rest of the driving population by getting through months or years without being caught in a traffic collision.
Remember, however, that on average, anyone reading this right now has an even chance of being involved in a roadway collision at some point in their lifetime. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues are more than certain that those individuals who are involved in traffic accident here in Maryland, or over in Washington, D.C., will have a much higher chance of being seriously injured or killed if that crash includes a large commercial truck.
This is because the massive size and overall weight of 18-wheel tractor-trailers, large box trucks, flatbed trailer trucks, construction dump trucks, and fuel tankers can only exacerbate the injuries associated with any highway accident. When a trucking-related collision does happen, it is an almost certainty that the injuries sustained by those in smaller passenger cars, motorcyclists, pedestrians and other bystanders will be more severe than a “typical” car-to-car crash.
Because trucking accidents are not like other collisions between privately-owned vehicles, an attorney who represents the victim of a trucking-related accident must be familiar with our state’s laws and regulations concerning commercial vehicles. As well, any good lawyer must also be more than just a little bit conversant in the federal regulations governing commercial vehicles, their drivers and the owners of trucking fleets.
Knowing about the carnage that is possible in a commercial trucking accident, we as Baltimore automobile accident lawyers also understand the reasons why these kinds of large motor vehicles can cause such extensive human and property damage. It’s a well-known fact that the destruction wrought by an 18-wheel tractor-trailer is due in large part to its high mass — 20 or more times that of the typical passenger car or SUV. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to realize what an 80,000 pound big rig could do to a 3,000 pound minivan carrying a family of five, though we would all prefer not to dwell on that type of scenario.
Not long ago, we came across two examples of traffic accidents involving commercial vehicles. The first took place in Frederick County when two truck tangled with each other along a stretch of Maryland’s Rte 26. According to news reports at the time, two people were hurt in that accident which occurred at a little after 3pm in the afternoon. Based on police reports, the an Isuzu box truck was heading along the westbound lanes of Rte 26 just a little bit east of Crum Rd. Apparently, the driver of the box truck attempted a left-hand turn without leaving sufficient room for an approaching 18-wheeler, which could not stop in time to avoid a crash.
As a result of the wreck, caused by the first driver’s miscalculation, the smaller box truck was hit by the tractor-trailer. The Isuzu’s driver was taken by chopper to Shock Trauma with reportedly non-life-threatening injuries. The trucker in the semi was also injured, though not seriously based on the news article; that man was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his non-life-threatening injuries.
In a second incident, this one in Howard County, a single-truck accident on a Friday morning resulted in a two-hour closure of Rte 29 just near the interchange of 29 and Rte 32. Based on police reports, the crash happened a few minutes before 10am. At the time of the news report, there was no indication of how many people were injured, or if the crash involved any other vehicles. It is instructive to add that in cases of single-truck wrecks, driver error can be one of the possible causes. In a smaller percentage of situations, there is always a chance that some kind of vehicle equipment failure may have resulted in the crash, though a full investigation by police is usually required to confirm the specific cause or causes.