Why Are Semi-Truck Accidents so Deadly?
Semi-truck accidents often have a high fatality rate. In 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that 4,965 individuals died in accidents involving large trucks. Many of these fatalities were occupants of smaller vehicles such as cars.
If death does not occur as a result of a semi-truck crash, then catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, are likely the result. If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, the Law Giant can help.
Reasons Why Semi-Truck Accidents are Dangerous
Semi-truck crashes are especially dangerous because of how these commercial vehicles operate, including:
Truck Weight and Size
Semi-trucks in Texas can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while the average car weighs around 4,100 pounds. When two vehicles collide, and one is significantly smaller, the force from the larger vehicle can cause excessive damage. Because of their size, trucks also have unique blind spots, making it harder to see smaller vehicles on the road nearby.
The size and weight of a semi-truck also makes them harder to maneuver. Sharp turns, lane changes, and braking are just a few actions that may be difficult for a large commercial vehicle. Performing any of these movements can be dangerous and requires a skilled truck driver.
Dangerous cargo in a semi-trailer can contribute to the damage caused in a crash. Items such as flammable or explosive materials could create a deadly blast or widespread chemical exposure upon impact. In 2021, hazardous materials were involved in 3,233 large truck crashes.
Regular cargo can pose a threat as well if it was improperly loaded. The collision itself could be relatively minor, but unsecured cargo might fall out and severely injure another driver.
Causes of Deadly Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi-truck accidents happen for several reasons, including the following:
Lack of adequate sleep or driving when your body is naturally drowsy can be dangerous. It may decrease reaction time and focus levels, and even lead to falling asleep behind the wheel. Driver fatigue could be a leading factor behind any vehicle accident, including semi-truck crashes.
Even with required off-duty periods, many commercial truck drivers work long hours with irregular schedules. One study shows that truckers average five hours of sleep a night, and roughly 19 hours awake. Alarmingly, being awake for even 17 hours similarly affects performance as having a BAC of 0.05 percent.
Improper Stopping Distance
Because of semi-trucks’ weight, they gain more momentum than cars and require more time and distance to stop. Significant truck accidents commonly occur when a car cuts in front of the truck and brakes quickly, leaving the big rig insufficient time and space.
In Texas, trucks are obligated to follow the speed limit. Some commercial vehicles contain devices that prevent frequent speeding. However, speeding is not uncommon. With tight delivery schedules, drivers might feel rushed to meet a deadline. The weight and size of a truck mean speeding can have especially dangerous consequences.
Vehicle failure can also be a factor behind a crash. Parts might be faulty or broken. In this case, a commercial trucking company would be liable for the accident, as they are required to perform regular safety checks and repairs.
Common Injuries in Semi-Truck Accidents
When big rigs are involved in an accident, the injuries can be fatal or severe. These common types of injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Psychological injuries, such as PTSD
A Texas Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
If you are injured after a semi-truck accident in Texas, reach out to the Law Giant for help. Begum Law Group works with Texas personal injury victims to bring them closer to recovery. The Law Giant has offices in Brownsville, San Antonio, Laredo, and McAllen. You deserve the highest compensation from a negligent party—and a highly-dedicated lawyer who fights to make it happen.