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.