By Tim O’Hare
Every year in America, there more than 500,000 traffic accidents involving commercial trucks. When a truck weighing more than 10,000 lbs. collides with a passenger vehicle or pedestrian, the results are often fatal. Of the 500,000 trucking accidents each year, at least 5,000 of those result in fatalities, and 98 percent of the time, it is a driver or passenger in the vehicle who is killed, not the truck driver.
For passenger vehicles, sharing the road with an increasing number of commercial trucks can be extremely dangerous. Due to the size and weight of semi-trucks and tractor trailers, quick response, defensive driving and coming to a fast stop can be very difficult for truck drivers. It is not uncommon to see a commercial truck closely following behind a passenger vehicle on the highway. In the case that the passenger vehicle had to stop quickly, it is likely the truck driver would not be able to avoid slamming into the car.
Fatigued driving and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are also causes of accidents involving large trucks. Commercial truck drivers are on the road long hours, covering thousands of miles in a relatively short amount of time. Just as any driver can easily grow tired while on the road, truck drivers are not exempt.
Sharing the road isn’t only the responsibility of truck drivers, but it is the responsibility of every driver. Many accidents involving commercial trucks are not the fault of the truck driver, but are the result of inattentive, distracted or drunk driving by the driver of the passenger vehicle.
To avoid serious injury or death as the result of a trucking accident, truck drivers should be sure to slow down in work zones, avoid following passenger cars too closely, and be sure they are awake and alert while driving.
Drivers of passenger vehicles should remember these rules in regard to sharing the roads with commercial trucks:
Avoid blind spots around large trucks. If you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you. When possible, avoid driving directly beside large trucks, unless passing.
Give trucks plenty of space. Don’t follow too closely or cut in front of a large truck. Also, remember that semi-trucks make wide turns. Sometimes, truck drivers may have to make a right-hand turn from the left-hand lane. Pay close attention to turn signals on trucks, and avoid being in a lane next to a truck that is attempting to turn.
Report dangerous driving. If you encounter a commercial truck that is not following traffic rules or is driving dangerously, report that truck driver. There may be a phone number listed on the back of the truck to call to report dangerous driving, if not, report the truck to local authorities.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you need experienced and aggressive personal injury trial attorneys to handle your trucking accident case. The personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare have successfully sued drivers, trucking companies, corporations that operate large trucks, insurance companies and other defendants who have caused trucking accidents, recovering money on behalf of our clients from these defendants and their insurance carriers. If you have any questions, or if you or someone you know has been injured in a trucking accident, please contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free initial consultation with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney. Call us at 972-960-0000 or Toll-Free at 888-960-0020.