Semi-Trucks: Why Are They So Dangerous?
The trucking industry is an essential part of the American economy. According to the American Trucking Association, 70 percent of all freight moved in the United States is by trucks. An average semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can be 52 feet long. An average vehicle in the United States can weigh between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds. Just from the sheer disparity in size, when a car and a semi-truck collide, the consequences can be fatal. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,921 people we killed and 104,000 people were injured in truck accidents involving large trucks in 2012. Although trucks may be vital to our economy, they can also be dangerous for various reasons.
The Dangers Surrounding Semi-Trucks
It is not surprising that navigating a vehicle that weighs almost 80,000 pounds on an open road surrounded by much smaller vehicles can be a challenge. Truck drivers need to use extra caution to make sure that they do not pose a risk to other drivers or cause an accident. For example, truck drivers have to be careful about blind spots while making turns or switching lanes. In addition, they must be more aware of other drivers on the road and must adhere to slower speed limits to ensure that they do not lose control of their vehicle. In addition to the sheer size of a semi truck, the driving conditions that truck drivers face can also make their job precarious.
The Federal government has enacted some regulations to ensure that truck drivers do not get behind the wheel of the truck when they are incredibly tired. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the Hours of Service Rule, which provides that truck drivers carrying property may not drive for more than 11 consecutive hours in a day. The Hours of Service Rule also makes it mandatory for a truck driver to take a 30 minute break during the first eight hours of a shift. Although these regulations emphasize the importance of truck drivers getting adequate rest before driving their heavy load on highways, truck drivers disregard these rules all of the time. This disregard often occurs because the employers provide drivers with an incentive to deliver a load by a certain day and so they forego regulations for monetary reasons.
Another leading cause of truck accidents is driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the FMCSA, illegal drugs and prescription drugs contributed to 26 percent of truck accidents in 2007.
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Truck Accident Attorney
If you were the victim of a truck accident in Wisconsin, please contact an Appleton truck accident lawyer at Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. to help build your case. Seeking compensation for injuries sustained from a truck accident can be complex and filing your claim in a timely manner is crucial. We also have offices located in Green Bay, New London and Oshkosh. Call 920-739-7366 today.