Truck accidents of all types cause some of the worst accidents seen on today’s highways. Despite all the safety regulations for commercial trucking, the accident rates for trucks are still alarmingly high. Thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands of serious injuries result from crashes involving trucks and large trailers.
We’ve all seen big trucks while driving on highways and interstates. Trucks play a significant part in our economy. They deliver goods and help meet the demands of our nation’s growing population and consumerism. Yet, while trucks are essential parts of our society, they can pose a pronounced risk on the road. Moreover, trucks can pose an even greater risk if the driver is negligent or company owners don’t comply with safety regulations.
Truck accidents can lead to serious bodily injury or even death. If you have been injured in a truck accident in Denver, Colorado, contact a qualified truck accident attorney today to help you claim compensation.
How Are Truck Accidents Different?
The impact is the most apparent difference between a typical car accident and a truck accident. With a truck accident, the effect is much more severe due to the size and weight. While a car weighs 3,000 pounds or more, a truck weighs around 80,000 pounds or more. The higher weight of trucks means it needs more time to stop. As a result, truck accidents can cause deadly disasters when going at high speeds.
Another key difference is that trucks must have more insurance coverage. Insurance for trucks can be upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Due to such large insurance payments, truck companies often attest their claims vigorously to protect all the money at stake.
What Are the Most Common Types of Truck Accidents?
Due to the enormity of trucks, they can cause sizable damage to property and inflict life-changing or fatal injuries on accident victims.
Here are some of the most common types of truck accidents:
- Jack-knife – can occur when a driver brakes too abruptly. After a sudden stop, the truck’s trailer swings to the side and makes a 90-degree angle with the cab. Imagine the truck forming a capital L. Trailers usually have thousands of pounds of cargo, which poses an immense risk. The trailer could swing out and hit other vehicles. Another risk of jack-knifing is the possibility for the truck to overturn. This can be a deadly hazard on the roadway due to the potential to spill cargo and start a fire.
- Truck rollover – As explained above, a truck rollover can happen after a jack-knife. It usually results from the driver losing control. The truck then slides and rolls over to its side. A rollover can wipe out other cars on the road as it rolls.
- Tire blowout – A tire blowout can happen to any vehicle. The vehicle will become volatile and lose control when a tire blows out. This is extremely dangerous for the driver and all nearby vehicles.
- Wide turn – Trucks need a lot of space to turn. When making a right turn, truck drivers must first swing left to give themselves enough space to make the right turn. This is known as a wide turn. Suppose the truck driver is unaware of a vehicle behind it. In that case, it can trap a car between the cab and the trailer. Or, the driver could hit a vehicle while making a wide turn.
- Blind spots – blind spot accidents happen when drivers can’t see other rear vehicles while switching lanes. Trucks have substantial blind spots and are nicknamed “no man’s land.” If a truck driver can’t see adjacent vehicles while changing lanes, it can hit other cars and cause accidents. The truck can hit, crush, or force other vehicles off the road.
- Rear-end – Truck rear-end accidents will cause more damage than regular rear-end accidents due to their weight.
- Under-ride – if a truck stops quickly, a smaller car behind it can get stuck under. These accidents can be deadly for the passengers in the smaller vehicle.
- Lost load – If cargo or freight is not properly packed and secured on the truck, it can fall out. This would be highly hazardous to other vehicles, especially while moving at high speeds. This can potentially lead to multi-car or pile-up accidents.
- Head-on – can be some of the most devastating truck accidents, often resulting in severe injury or death.
- T-bone – This would occur if a truck driver ran a red light or made an otherwise illegal turn and hit another vehicle on its side.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Driver error. Distracted, fatigued, or negligent driving is the leading cause of truck crashes. Fatigue is prevalent among truck drivers due to the long work hours. Distraction is a major concern for all drivers, not only truck drivers. The consequences of distracted driving can be life-threatening. Another cause of driver error commonly seen with trucks is speeding to meet deadlines.
- Lack of proper truck maintenance. Failure to maintain brakes, tires, and other parts could have catastrophic consequences.
- Poorly loaded cargo – truck drivers don’t usually load their freight. Dockworkers are responsible for loading the trailers. But drivers are ultimately accountable for checking and ensuring the load is secure prior to driving. Unbalanced loads can fall off and cause uncontrollable hazards on roadways.
- Equipment failure – sometimes third parties are at fault, like manufacturers, for truck accidents caused by equipment failure.
- Malfunctioning brakes – truck drivers rely heavily on their brakes, so brakes need more maintenance than other truck parts. If brakes don’t work or malfunction, it can lead to tragedies.
Truck Driver Accident Statistics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compiles national crash data for truck accidents. Here’s what we know from recent crash data:
- Five thousand two hundred thirty-seven large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2019, increasing 2% from the previous year.
- Speed and driver distraction are the leading causes of commercial truck accidents resulting in death.
- 27% of crashes that resulted in fatalities in work zones involved large trucks.
Contact An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Denver, Colorado
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, call us today to schedule your consultation. Our proficient legal team will investigate whether the driver was fatigued or otherwise negligent and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. We will settle your case or move to court if need be.