Cars, SUV’s and even small trucks will almost always suffer more damage than the huge 18-wheeler when rear-ended by a large truck. When a several-ton truck is barreling down a highway and rear-ends a car or SUV, the collision can cause catastrophic injuries and death.
The damage and extensive injuries caused by rear-end truck accidents are due to the truck’s large size and speed of travel. Because a truck driver’s performance is determined by how quickly he gets to his destination, there’s a great deal of pressure on commercial truck drivers to drive fast, which sometimes leads to carelessness and catastrophic wrecks.
THE CHALLENGES OF DRIVING A SEMI TRUCK
Driving an 18-wheeler takes a lot of skill, and spending long hours on the road doing the same thing every day for long stretches at a time is certainly not for everyone.
In addition to often being physically tired, sleep-deprived, and cramped in the driver’s seat for hours at a time, truck drivers face other challenges that come with maneuvering a vehicle of that size. The heavyweight of a semi-truck makes it much more difficult to maneuver and stop than a passenger vehicle, and trucks have large blind spots that make it more difficult to see other vehicles around the truck. Trying to look around blind spots takes a truck driver’s eyes off the road in front of him and can lead to rear-end collisions or near misses in which the truck has to swerve and comes terribly close to rear-ending the vehicle in front of the truck.
When carrying heavy cargo, the truck becomes even more difficult to control, and the truck driver must also contend with the fact that he is carrying a heavier load. When hazardous materials are being hauled, the threat of a catastrophic collision increases. The truck’s large size and heavy cargo make braking a challenge every time, and when high rates of speed and difficult road conditions like inclement weather or construction zones are added into the mix, the danger level rises.
FMCSA’S MISSION TO KEEP US SAFE
For many decades, state and federal regulations have been in place to make the roadways we share with our truck-driving friends safer for everyone. Trucking regulations are designed to protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders. While state and federal truck regulations are meant to help reduce accident occurrences, the truck drivers themselves can make the real difference in keeping our nation’s highways safe for everyone.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), established in the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, has a primary mission of preventing commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. By working with Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, labor, and safety interest groups, the FMCSA:
- Enforces safety regulations
- Targets high-risk carriers and drivers
- Improves safety information systems and technologies
- Strengthens commercial motor vehicle equipment
- Determines operating standards
- Increases safety awareness
When you add distracted driving to the challenges faced by today’s truck drivers, it is not hard to see why there are more catastrophic truck accidents than ever.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a collision involving a large commercial vehicle in Texas, please contact the Wood Law Firm LLP for a free claim evaluation.