Due to their size and weight, motor vehicle accidents involving trucks,
particularly those carrying heavy loads, often result in fatalities, serious
injuries, and delays.
On Wednesday morning, an accident involving a loaded logging rig on Georgia 303 killed the
driver of a passenger vehicle and caused serious traffic delays. The accident
led to closure of the northern access to Blythe Island for several hours
and resulted in a detour that spanned nearly 12 miles long.
The accident occurred at approximately 10:30 am when the driver of a Dodge
van crossed the highway’s center line and stuck a tractor trailer
traveling eastbound. The tractor trailer attempted to avoid the collision
by steering off the road onto the highway’s right shoulder. However,
the driver of the tractor trailer was unable to avoid the collision and
was struck by the Dodge van at its rear tandem wheels.
The tractor trailer was overturned during the collision, spilling its load
on the side of the road and into the ditch. The responding public safety
agencies had to call in a loader to the scene in order to remove the remaining
logs from the overturned tractor trailer and to help lift it upright.
In trucking accidents, most fatalities involve occupants of passenger vehicles.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most fatalities
resulting from trucking accidents involve individuals occupying passenger
vehicles. Passenger vehicles are simply more vulnerable due to their size
and weight as compared to trucks. The average truck is 20 to 30 times
heavier than a passenger car. Trucks are also taller, wider, and have
greater ground clearance.
As a result, passenger vehicles are susceptible to underriding trucks during
collisions. Underriding occurs when a passenger vehicle penetrates beneath
the rear or side of a truck during an accident. When this occurs, the
passenger vehicle’s top is often crushed or ripped off. This frequently
results in the occupants of the passenger vehicle suffering from head
trauma and even decapitation.
Trucks are required to install rear bumper devices in order to minimize
the risk of underriding during collisions. However, rear bumper devices
are not full proof. In some instances, the rear bumper devices are defectively
installed such that they are too high above the road, to narrow across
the rear, or to weak to provide protection during collisions.
In addition, as a result of their size and weight, trucks take longer to
come to a stop than passenger vehicles. For example, it takes a loaded
tractor trailer 20 to 40 percent more distance to stop than a passenger
vehicle. The distance required in order for a truck to come to a complete
stop is even greater when roads are wet or slippery due to weather conditions.
Truck Maintenance and Other Regulations
The risk posed to passenger vehicles by trucks is even greater when truck
drivers or trucking companies do not take care to properly maintain and
inspect their trucks and when they fail to obey regulations pertaining
to the size of their load.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a
truck accident, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your case.