Trucks are large, cumbersome vehicles that often travel at high speeds carrying heavy loads that can contain toxic or highly flammable material. Truck drivers are specially trained to handle big rigs which are hard to maneuver, difficult to stop at high speeds, and prone to jackknifing on slippery roads. But adverse road conditions and driver miscalculation and error can create significant hazards to other drivers.
How trucks contribute to catastrophic injury and death
The average passenger car weighs around 3,000 pounds, while a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh in at up to 80,000 pounds. The huge size differential, in combination with a collision at high speeds, makes the likelihood of a serious accident much greater for the victims of a truck accident.
Cars are lower to the ground as well and more likely to slide under the truck, causing severe neck or head trauma, or even decapitation. High-speed collisions spark vehicle fires, and the larger the fuel tank, the greater the fire risk. Post-collision fires may also cause severe secondary injuries if the truck was carrying petroleum, industrial chemicals, or other hazardous materials.
It is also more than likely that the truck will walk away unharmed after a serious accident with a passenger car. Large trucks make up only about 4% of all vehicles on the road but are involved in 10% of all highway fatalities. In 2017, over 70% of tractor-trailer fatalities were the occupants of other vehicles in the crash.
When negligence is the cause
It is fatigue, impairment, or speeding of either the truck driver or the other driver that appear to be the primary causes of most fatal accidents, including those involving trucks. In 2017, truck driver errors accounted for nearly a third of these accidents, including:
- Failure to yield right of way
- Drowsy or impaired driving
- Careless, aggressive, or reckless driving
For residents of Indialantic and surrounding areas, getting immediate medical attention after a serious accident is the top priority. Then, discovering your legal options if the accident was due to driver error is the next step to getting the compensation you deserve.