Drivers of smaller passenger vehicles, including pickup trucks and SUVs, are all threatened constantly by the presence of large commercial trucks which share the public roadways. The weight of these much more massive semi tractor-trailers, box trucks and other delivery vehicles can eclipse the average family car. For example, a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh upward of 80,000 pounds.
As Maryland trucking accident lawyers, I and my colleagues know that any traffic accident involving a semi can be a life-threatening event. Annually, hundreds of heavy vehicles, including Kenworth, Peterbilt and Freightliner big rigs, are involved in accidents across the country. A trucking accident, especially at highway speeds, can easily result in serious injury to the occupants of the smaller cars caught up in that particular collision; many of these wrecks can be fatal to the drivers and passengers in smaller cars, trucks and motorcycles.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that big rigs are more likely to be involved in serious multiple-vehicle collisions than SUVs, minivans or other passenger vehicles. Statistics bear this out that time after time injuries from trucking accidents are much more serious and very often fatal. Typical injuries to passenger car occupants can include spinal cord damage, traumatic brain damage, broken bones and other serious and possibly permanent bodily injuries.
Because heavy commercial vehicles are important to this country’s continued economic success, the volume and frequency of these oversize trucks on Maryland’s public roads will always be a significant factor in traffic accident, injuries and, sadly, fatalities. Busy urban areas also have their share of trucking accidents, whether on nearby expressway on- and off-ramps as well as surface streets leading to and from industrial parks.
From research performed over the years, we know that many trucking accidents could have been avoided. Although most trucking companies are responsible enough to ensure that their trucks and drivers are safe, some are not. Cargo overloading is more common than one would expect and can cause operational problems for the driver of these big rigs. In an accident situation, and overloaded truck takes longer to stop and can more easily lose control, depending on the road conditions.
It’s no uncommon that truck drivers themselves will occasionally take risks on the road. While most truckers observe traffic safety rules and regulations, some do not. Instances of exceeding the legal on-road driving time, just one example, can be a common factor in many a tragic accident. Drowsy driving on a truck driver’s part can frequently be found as a contributing factor. Other causes may include driving too fast for conditions, making unsafe passing maneuvers, and even intoxicated driving.