Every time there's a plane crash, the story makes headlines in every major media outlet. Fortunately, such tragedies occur infrequently. But what would happen if there were a commuter plane crash every week in the United States--each time killing all of its passengers? Under such a scenario, plane crashes would kill more than 4,000 Americans each year. There would likely be a public outcry to increase plane safety and reduce unnecessary deaths.
While the above scenario is hypothetical, you may be surprised to learn that an equivalent number of Americans are killed each year in trucking accidents. An additional 100,000 people sustain serious injuries in such accidents. Worse still, the rates of trucking accidents, injuries and deaths are on the rise.
What makes trucking accidents so dangerous?
When you think of accidents involving large tractor-trailers, one obvious risk factor that stands out is size. A semi-truck is much bigger and heavier than other cars on the road. In addition, large trucks tend to travel on highways and freeways--where speed limits are high. If a truck is involved in a collision, all of these factors increase the likelihood of tragedy for passengers of any other vehicles.
Trucking accidents can also be particularly disastrous because of a phenomenon known as "underriding." A large truck's ground clearance is disproportionately high, compared to that of a car. If a car collides with a truck's trailer from the side, instead of ricocheting away, the car will likely be pulled underneath the trailer--tearing off the roof of the car and usually killing its passengers.
Many truck drivers work for 10 or 11 hours on end, and they and the companies they work for may push their driving hours beyond what the rules allow. Fatigue is a major roadway hazard. In addition, large trucks have wider blind spots and slow reaction times than cars. They can't see other cars as easily, and they can't brake or turn away as quickly in the event of an emergency.
If you or a loved one has sustained loss due to a trucking accident, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your recourse.