The trucking industry is responsible for much of the transportation of goods and services that is so essential to the U.S. economy. Trucks transport approximately two-thirds of all products across the country. But along with driving larger vehicles hauling heavy or possibly toxic loads, truckers in Kentucky and elsewhere also owe a duty of care to keep others who share the road out of harm’s way.
Unfortunately, several factors can cause deadly truck accidents, which are almost always catastrophic. Rising incidents have led experts to predict that large truck wrecks will be the fifth highest cause of death by 2030. As it is, around 130,000 are injured in truck accidents each year, and there has been a 52% increase in truck accident fatalities since 2009. Sadly, most of these fatalities involving commercial vehicles were occupants of smaller cars and trucks.
Why are large trucks so dangerous?
Truck drivers have a challenging job that requires them to drive hundreds or even thousands of miles in all kinds of road conditions to deliver their loads on schedule. They receive special training that allows them to their maneuver heavy and unwieldly vehicles in many different types of traffic and weather situations.
While many truck accidents are due to mechanical malfunctions in the brakes and tires, other significant reasons that they happen are due to driver negligence, including:
- Driver distraction
- Drowsy or inattentive driving
- Speeding and aggressive driving
- Poor judgement
A fully loaded semitruck can weigh up to 40 tons, in contrast to 2.5 tons for an average passenger car. In general, the heavier the truck, the more dangerous the consequences of a collision. In 2019, about 74% of all fatal truck accidents involved tractor-trailers.
Stopping too suddenly can cause a driver to lose control of an 18-wheeler that then jackknifes and careens into other vehicles. Semis require a much greater stopping distance than smaller passenger vehicles. The fact that a third of all truck accidents occur on interstates and highways suggests that speed and weight are also contributing factors in many crashes.
What damage occurs in a truck accident?
The huge weight and size differential between a car and a large truck cause serious injuries such as:
- Spinal cord damage
- Head trauma
- Back and neck sprains or broken bones
- Internal bleeding
For Louisville residents whose lives have been touched by the tragedy of a serious truck accident, it is essential to discover what legal steps they can take, especially if the truck driver or other third-party entities share responsibility for causing the crash.