As a Maryland personal injury attorney who represents victims of trucking-related crashes, I understand the various factors that contribute to serious tractor-trailer collisions with passenger cars, minivans and sport utility vehicles. As anyone who has been involved in a traffic wreck with an 18-wheeler knows, the force of such an accident can severely injure or even kill the occupants of the smaller motor vehicle.
Here in Baltimore and other cities and towns across our state, these kinds of car-truck crashes happen fairly often. Similarly, delivery truck and motorcycle wrecks are also common, especially in congested urban areas, as are bicycle-related injury accidents.
In many cases, trucking-related traffic accidents can result in cuts and bruises at one end of the spectrum, while broken arms, crushed tibias, and fractured vertebrae are a examples of more serious bodily injury. Of course, some of the worst would be traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage. These last two can result in a lifetime filled with multiple surgeries, continuous therapies and even around-the-clock nursing care.
Fatalities are not uncommon, especially when one considers the weight difference between a fully loaded cross-country big rig and a 3,000-pound minivan. Occupants in these smaller vehicles are at much greater risk of being killed when struck by a large tractor-trailer than if their vehicle is hit by another passenger car or light truck.
A percentage of commercial truck crashes can be traced to fatigue, which has become somewhat of a hot-button topic in traffic safety circles. Nearly as dangerous as drunken driving, drowsy driving presents the same threat to the road-going public since the end result — a trucking-related accident — can be just as deadly as that caused by impairment as a result of alcohol or prescription drug use.
Drowsy driving can lead to numerous traffic violations — running a red light, ignoring a red signal, failure to yield and speeding – all of which can lead to an accident. In an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related trucking accidents the federal government has regulations in place that limit the number of hours a truck driver can spend on the road before taking a break, as well as other requirements.