Articles Posted in Multiple-truck Accidents

Accidents involving semi trucks and other large commercial or industrial vehicles are relatively common in Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia. Tragically, the victims in the accidents with these large vehicles are more often seriously injured or killed than in other types of crashes. Accidents involving commercial vehicles may be caused by the negligent act of the commercial driver or else malfunctioning or unsafe equipment. Semi-trucks and many other commercial vehicles are not always easy to operate safely; with the large number of commercial vehicles on our roadways, it is necessary to set high standards for training and safety for commercial drivers.

Tanker TruckAdditional Safety Responsibilities for Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers are required to carry a commercial driver’s license, or “CDL”, to legally operate a large commercial vehicle. Semi-trucks, vehicles transporting hazardous materials, and construction-related vehicles may require additional certifications. In commercial driving courses, drivers should learn about the hazards of driving a large vehicle, as well as the additional safety and legal responsibilities of commercial drivers, such as time logging and more frequent equipment checks. Unfortunately, many commercial vehicles on the road are not being safely operated by a properly licensed driver. When these vehicles are involved in accidents, the danger of somebody involved being seriously injured or killed increases.

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One of the reasons that tractor-trailers and other large trucks are prone to getting involved in serious accidents is the fact that they require a longer distance to come to a complete stop. This is true even with an empty trailer, but when a truck is fully loaded, it can take up to three times the distance to come to a complete stop, compared to other, smaller vehicles.

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It is for this reason that in geographical areas where visibility may be limited for one reason or another, truck drivers need to take extra precautions. The limited visibility may be due to fog or other weather conditions present on the road, but it may also be a function of the road itself. For example, winding roads that travel through heavily forested areas, as well as roads through the hills with peaks and valleys, present difficulties for truck drivers.

Notwithstanding the difficulty of operating a truck in these conditions, it is the truck driver’s duty to ensure the safe operation of his vehicle at all times. This often means researching a route in advance, slowing down to below-posted speeds, or even calling ahead to make arrangements with local law enforcement for safe passage.

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Recently in Delaware, an accident involving two cement trucks and a passenger car injured two people. According to a report by Delmarva Now, the accident occurred just after 9:15 in the morning near the intersection of Woodpecker Road and Butler Branch Road in Seaford, Delaware.

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Evidently, a woman was heading south on Woodpecker Road and was approaching a narrow bridge. At the same time, two cement trucks were approaching the bridge from the opposite direction. Before the first truck entered the bridge, he slowed down in order to allow the driver of the car to cross the bridge first. However, the driver of the second cement truck, which was directly behind the first, was unable to stop in time and needed to make a last-minute decision whether to run into the truck in front of him or try and avoid a collision.

The driver of the second truck attempted to avoid the collision but ended up rolling the truck instead. As the driver of the car crossed the bridge, she crashed into the overturned cement truck. After the accident, both the driver of the cement truck and the driver of the car were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

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Earlier this week, two tractor trailers got into an accident in one of the westbound lanes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. According to a report by the Baltimore Sun, the two trucks were “wedged” into one another, although luckily both trucks remained upright throughout the incident.

untitled-1160795-m.jpgTraffic was delayed for about three hours while emergency crews cleared the bridge of the two trucks. A team was also called out to clean up some spilled fuel from one of the trucks. One of the truck drivers was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and he is expected to recover.

Shortly before the accident officials instituted a wind restriction on the bridge due to winds that were gusting up to almost 50 mile per hour. The restriction was aimed at semi-trucks and tractor-trailers without heavy loads, because the wind could potentially blow the large, lightweight vehicles into guard rails or out of their lane of travel. It is unknown whether either of the trucks involved in the accident were subject to the restriction; however, at the time of the articles publication, authorities were still investigating the accident.

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tow.jpg Drivers traveling on Interstate 95 near the Baltimore Beltway last week may have encountered serious traffic delays in the area just south of Interstate 695, when lanes were closed due to a tractor-trailer crashing and erupting into flames.

Maryland State Police say the blaze started around three in the morning last Tuesday, after a tractor-trailer hit a disabled tow truck, which was being towed away by a second tow truck. Luckily, the driver of the tractor-trailer driver was able to get out of his vehicle before it became engulfed in flames, and no injuries were reported.

A cleanup crew from the Maryland Department of Environment Hazardous Materials responded to the scene in order to clean up some gas that had spilled on the highway. An investigation into the collision is ongoing.

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Unlike traffic accidents involving passenger cars, collisions between a cars and pedestrians, and motorcycle-related roadway crashes, trucking accidents can be and many times are serious events affecting multiple vehicles and numerous individuals. Here in the Baltimore area, as well as throughout Maryland and in the Washington, D.C., area, commercial truck drivers are held to higher standards than the average motorist.

As a Maryland personal injury law firm, our attorneys know the law as it applies to traffic accidents caused by drivers of commercial vehicles. With specific standards required of truckers and the companied for which they work, any personal injury lawyer who handles cases involving these kinds of large-vehicle crashes must fully understand both state and federal regulations covering commercial vehicles. Any truck driver or commercial trucking company that is found to be in violation of Maryland’s commercial vehicle laws, could possibly be held responsible if any one or a number of those rules has been violated while the vehicle in question is out on the road.

It’s quite true that trucking accidents are an unfortunate reality in our modern world; these is really no avoiding these vehicles as passenger car drivers and other motorists must inevitably share the road with extremely large and massive vehicles. It’s no surprise, then, that thousands of innocent victims killed, injured or maimed in accident involving collisions with semi tractor-trailer rigs and other large commercial motor vehicles.

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Hard as it may be to reconcile at time, we all put our lives on the line each and every time we step out of homes and into a motor vehicle to travel to work, school or even to the grocery store. It’s not a pleasant thought, to be sure, but it is a reality: People are killed and injured every day across the state of Maryland, and throughout the U.S., doing simple day-to-day activities that none of us would think twice about. As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we have to concur that operating a motor vehicle can be intrinsically life-threatening, if only from a statistical standpoint.

Of all the many and varied causes of traffic collisions, a percentage of these are the result of a failure in some safety- or control-related vehicle component or system. Be it a fractured steering shaft, poorly cast suspension arm, improperly torqued bolt or other fastener, even a faulty safety belt, each of these items can result in a serious accident. Depending on the part, the vehicle’s speed at the time of the failure, and other factors, it’s not a stretch to say that a fatality or multiple fatalities could be in the cards as well.

As automobile, trucking and motorcycle accident attorneys, we understand that these are not uplifting subjects. But the fact remains, at least for experienced legal professionals like ourselves, the existence of a faulty or poorly designed vehicle part or component can be grounds for a products liability suit, especially if a person is hurt or killed as a result of the failure.

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Trucking-related accidents can be fatal to those people traveling in passenger cars who are unlucky enough to be involved in a crash with these heavy-weight motor vehicles. But as Baltimore auto injury lawyers, the legal staff at y firm knows that other commercial truck drivers are just as at risk as many other drivers of car, truck and motorcycles caught in a collision with a semi tractor-trailer, tank truck, municipal bus, or box truck. This is why we always advise caution when passing or driving near large commercial vehicles, especially at higher speeds on the expressway.

It’s a common problem that trucking accidents are frequently caused by driver fatigue. In fact, drowsiness on the part of truckers is one of the primary contributing factors linked to commercial trucking accidents. As motorists, we tend all to rely on the fact that truck drivers are professionals, and as such they are required by law to follow various state and federal safety regulations specifically written to protect the rest of us. Sadly, not every trucker or trucking company obeys the laws laid out for them.

Thousands of innocent people, mostly drivers and passengers in private automobiles, sport utility vehicles and minivans are hurt in collisions caused in full or in part by the driver of a tractor-trailer or commercial delivery vehicle. Whether the negligent trucker is operating a car hauler, tanker truck, flatbed tractor-trailer, commercial dump truck, box trucks or any of the numerous other commercial motor vehicles plying our state’s highways and city streets, the potential for personal injury is high.

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We won’t go into great detail here, but it is instructive to remind people that being involved in a traffic accident with a larger and more massive commercial vehicle can have a significant effect on the extent of one’s injuries following a roadway collision. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues understand the law as it pertains to personal injury caused by a collision with an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer rig, commercial box truck, cement mixer or dump truck, even a city bus or airport shuttle.

How often do these types of accident occur? From our perspective, often enough to merit extreme caution when driving with one’s family along Maryland roadways, not to mention dense urban areas. Based on statistics compiled over the years, trucking accidents involving passenger cars can result in extensive, if not serious bodily injury to the automobile’s driver and occupants. Even large, so-called safer sport utility vehicles are not much of a match for a 20-ton tractor-trailer rig carrying a full load.

So what happens when truck meets truck on the highway? Unlike the mismatch between commercial vehicles and smaller autos, two trucks of near equal mass will likely suffer similar damage, depending on the circumstances. In these types of cases, the drivers and passengers in either vehicle could be at risk of bodily injury such as broken bones, cuts and abrasions, deep lacerations and internal injuries. Because these trucks would be equally matched, the results of a roadway collision can be quite spectacular.

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It seems that every time we turn around, there’s another large highway accident caused by a commercial truck driver. This is, of course, not an indictment of all professional truckers out there, many of whom are conscientious drivers who understand the enormity of their personal responsibility to handle these big rigs with care and safety. But, on the other hand, there is a percentage of 18-wheeler, box truck and commercial delivery truck operators who lack either the training or the concern for others on the roadways.

As Maryland commercial trucking accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers, it’s our job to help victims of highway traffic accidents and their families recover from severe and sometimes fatal car, truck and motorcycle wrecks. Nothing can shock a family to its core like a serious injury accident that sends a father or mother to the hospital.

Medical costs alone are difficult enough to manage these days, what with many people being out of work or just hanging on. Throw in the loss of wages due to a terrible car, or truck collision and you have a perfect storm of hospital bills and no, or greatly reduced family income to help pay for them.

While a number of trucking accidents can be attributed to mechanical problems, such as defective safety equipment, poorly maintained brakes, or badly worn tires, a greater percentage of tractor-trailer crashes stem from driver error. It’s not uncommon these days for even a professional truck driver to be distracted by his cellphone or some other device in the truck cab.

Whatever the reason, the carnage wrought by an out-of-control 18-wheeler can be widespread and deadly for occupants of nearby passenger cars. Broken bones, internal injuries, head and neck trauma, as well as other serious injuries can be life-threatening if the victim is not attended to in time.

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