18-Wheeler Accidents Are Often Fatal
18-wheeler trucks are a vital part of our economy and a common sight on Dallas highways. Large trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, compared to about 4,799 pounds for the average SUV. This extreme difference in weight is just one of the reasons large trucks can pose severe dangers to other drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Often, accidents with semis result in catastrophic injuries. While all road accidents are serious and can have a lasting impact on those involved, large 18-wheeler accidents are particularly bad. Not only do they weigh a great deal more than passenger vehicles, but they are also susceptible to outside factors that may contribute to an accident, such as windy conditions. It is imperative large truck drivers, and all other drivers, use extra caution when navigating the city’s busy highways and roads, especially at high speeds.
In 2018, more than 4,136 people died in large truck accidents. Of those, a shocking 67% were drivers and passengers of other vehicles, and 16% were truck occupants. These numbers show just how dangerous 18-wheeler trucks can be to other vehicles. In the event a semi-truck collides with another car, there’s a good chance the smaller vehicle will take the brunt of the damage. At Shamieh Law, we understand how devastating these types of accidents can be. As more people move to the Lone Star State, we only expect large truck accidents to increase.
The purpose of today’s article is to take a closer look at 18-wheeler accidents, including why they are susceptible to causing wrecks. If you were injured in a large truck accident in Dallas, or if you lost a loved one because of a truck driver’s negligence, please contact Shamieh Law. Our experienced Dallas personal injury lawyers understand what you are going through and are here to help. While some accidents are indeed accidents, others are caused by a truck driver’s negligence. If this is the case, you may have the right to compensation for your damages. To learn more about your rights, please contact Shamieh Law today and schedule a free consultation.
Factors that Make 18-Wheeler Trucks Dangerous
Several important factors contribute to large truck accidents, including:
- Trucks have a wider turning radius – Because of the size and length (53 feet, in some cases) of 18-wheeler trucks, they typically make much wider turns than passenger vehicles. Depending on the intersection, a truck may need to change its direction to avoid a smaller vehicle and stay upright.
- Trucks have a higher risk of tire blowouts – A common factor in many large truck accidents is tire blowouts. Due to the long hours on the roads and the heavy cargo many 18-wheeler trucks carry, the tires are often under extreme pressure and prone to blowouts.
- Trucks create chaotic airflow – Trucks are a lot taller than other vehicles and therefore create sporadic airflow that may pose a danger to other people on the roads.
- Trucks require more time to stop – Unlike passenger vehicles, trucks cannot make sudden stops safely. Given their heavy loads, they have a lot more momentum and require more time to stop. As you can imagine, this can cause problems on busy highways and other roads that require drivers to stop suddenly.
- Trucks need more time to get up to speed – Similar to the above, trucks also take a longer time to accelerate and get up to their ideal speed. Their speed can be deceptive, contributing to accidents when the driver misjudges the speed.
Common Causes of Large Truck Accidents in Texas
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), Texas has the highest number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents (621 in 2017). Nearly 12 percent of all large trucks in Texas are involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Why is Texas so dangerous, especially when large trucks are involved? Numerous factors contribute to these high numbers, including the number of vehicles on the roads. For the second year in a row, Texas is growing at a rate of 1,000 people per day. Between July 2017 and July 2018, 187,545 people moved here.
With so many people calling the Lone Star State home, including a high number of truck drivers, it is no wonder these types of accidents happen on a regular basis. Let’s now look at some of the most common causes of large truck accidents in Texas:
- Driver fatigue
- Long shifts
- Night driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence
- Improperly loaded vehicles
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Driver reaction time
Examples of Unsafe Acts That May Contribute to a Truck Accident
While 18-wheeler truck drivers are often to blame for accidents, there are also numerous unsafe acts committed by other drivers that lead to accidents:
- Driving in the truck’s blind spot
- Driving in “No Zones” (directly behind and beside a large truck when the driver has limited visibility)
- Abrupt lane changes
- Sudden maneuvers when a truck is turning
- Misjudging a truck’s speed
- Improper merging
- Failure to maintain speed
- Passing a truck in windy conditions
- Driving between two large trucks
Injuries from Large Truck Accidents
Given the fact that large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, the impact of a collision can be absolutely devastating. Some of the most common injuries from large truck accidents include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Chest injuries
- Loss of limb or amputation
If you were involved in a large truck accident in Texas, please contact Shamieh Law. We will help you understand your rights and ensure those responsible for the damages you incurred are held responsible. We understand how life-changing these accidents and injuries can be. Don’t suffer alone — contact Shamieh Law today and schedule a free consultation.