According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), heavy commercial trucks account for over 13% of fatal accidents on the roads. This is an alarming statistic, considering that these vehicles make up fewer than five percent of all registered vehicles throughout the country. In over 70% of cases, the victims of these crashes are occupants of smaller vehicles and not those in large trucks.
While we do need large commercial trucks on the roads and highways, as they play an important role in the economy, there is no denying that they do in fact, pose a danger to others. Below, our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer outlines the most common types of accidents and why they occur.
Truck rollover accidents are some of the most terrifying and catastrophic types of crashes. Transport trucks have a much higher center of gravity than standard passenger vehicles. Truckers must exercise extra caution when they make sudden swerves or make a tight turn. When truck drivers do not drive safely, the trailer may flip, causing the entire truck to roll over onto its side. This creates a deadly and dangerous hazard for anyone in the near vicinity of the truck.
Truck drivers may cause a rollover accident when they drive while they are distracted, speed, or are impaired by alcohol or drugs. However, truck drivers are not always responsible for these types of crashes. For example, if a third party improperly loaded cargo onto the truck, that could throw the entire vehicle out of balance and cause the truck to roll over.
When two passenger vehicles are involved in a rear-end accident, the resulting damage is usually quite minor. However, when a large and heavy commercial truck rear-ends a smaller vehicle, the damage is much more catastrophic. In these cases, passengers in smaller cars can become crushed upon impact.
Truck drivers can cause a rear-end accident when they are distracted, following too closely, speeding, or exhibiting other dangerous driving behaviors. Truck drivers must ensure they observe the recommended following distances by the FMCSA to keep everyone safe.
Head-on collisions are typically fatal even when they involve two small passenger vehicles. Fatalities are much more likely when a head-on collision involves a large commercial truck. Truck drivers can cause a head-on collision in a number of ways including driving while impaired or fatigued. Tire blowouts can also cause a head-on collision if the trucker loses control of their vehicle and these are not always the fault of the driver. Manufacturers who create defective tires can also be held liable in these cases.
A head-on collision can occur anywhere on the roads, but there are some places that are more common than others. These include stop signs, red lights, and intersections. In these areas, head-on collisions often occur because a truck driver has failed to yield the right-of-way.
A jackknife accident can happen when a commercial truck with joints between the trailer and the tractor makes improper braking maneuvers or turns and the force causes the trailer to swing wide and create a folding jackknife shape. This type of accident is especially hazardous due to the fact that a skidding trailer is highly unpredictable and can strike vehicles in the nearby vicinity. Those vehicles can be further carried along as the trailer forces its way through traffic.
Improper braking is the most common cause of jackknife accidents. In these instances, the trailer does not slow down as quickly as the tractor. The trailer then fishtails and can slide to one side, causing a jackknife accident. Improper turns can also cause these types of accidents. Even if a trailer jackknifes and the driver avoids crashing into other vehicles before coming to a complete stop, oncoming traffic may crash into the trailer, which can result in a multi-vehicle accident.
A T-bone accident occurs when a heavy commercial truck crashes into the side of another vehicle. These crashes typically occur when truck drivers run red lights, do not yield the right-of-way, or ignore stop signs. T-bone accidents most commonly occur at intersections.
A T-bone accident will be most devastating for occupants of smaller vehicles, particularly those that are in the direct path of the truck. Smaller vehicles are not as able to absorb the impact as other vehicles and so, occupants will typically suffer catastrophic injuries.
Sideswipe accidents are very similar to T-bone accidents, but there are some differences. Typically, vehicles involved in a sideswipe accident were traveling side by side at the time, and it is the sides of the vehicles that crash together. Sideswipe commercial truck accidents are usually caused by negligent truck drivers who do not check their blind spots before merging or changing lanes. The blind spots on trucks are extremely large. Still, truckers are expected to know how to check them and make sure other vehicles are not in these areas before changing lanes.
Intense wind, tire blowouts, road obstacles, and inclement weather can all also cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle, causing a sideswipe accident. Regardless of what causes a sideswipe accident, occupants of slower vehicles are often severely injured because they are thrown into other lanes of traffic.
Wide Turn Accidents
Truck drivers must maneuver right turns far more carefully than left turns, as right turns are very difficult for large trucks. In some instances, truck drivers may swing out to the left before making a right turn, to avoid the squeezing action right turns create. However, this can be a problem for vehicles in the neighboring lanes. The FMCSA states that truckers should travel straight through to the further lane of the road onto which they are turning. They should then maneuver right into the closest lane available. Still, this instruction requires truckers to travel very carefully and cautiously to avoid a crash.
Our Personal Injury Lawyer in Baton Rouge Can Help After Any Crash
Regardless of the type of truck accident you were involved in, our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer at Big River Trial Attorneys can help. Our experienced attorneys know how to determine what caused your accident so you know who to hold liable for the full settlement you deserve. Call us now at (225) 963-9638 or contact us online to request a free consultation.