Big Rig Fatal Accidents on the Rise

Westport Truck Accident Lawyer

Experts suggest that a combination of big tires, increased road speeds, and poor maintenance standards are all contributing to a seemingly sudden epidemic of big rig accidents on our roadways. Connecticut has experienced far too many big rig and large truck-related accidents in recent months, and the American Trucking Association is taking a stand. Understanding the magnitude of what it is to drive an 80,000-ton truck and how weather, maintenance, and speed limit regulations is not something the general public is well versed in. What we do know is this: big rigs are creating more accidents and people are anxious to find out why.

Explanations for Increase of Truck Accidents

Speed limits are increasing across the country. Fourteen states in the country have speed limits exceeding 75 miles per hour, which is considered the maximum speed that large truck tires can handle. A tire blowout is not something that is just dangerous for a truck driver, but for the passengers in the vehicles surrounding the truck as well. The truck may swerve. The tire may break off into pieces and fly into the roadway or hit the windshield of a nearby car. The possibility of a blowout, coupled with the speed and sheer size of a big rig is cause for significant concern

In the last five years, it is estimated that big trucks and buses have been the cause of over 14,000 fatal crashes. Of these, 223 were specifically attributed to tires. The American Trucking Association is not the only group concerned about these numbers either. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made it clear that combating the big rig accident epidemic is a top priority. In addition to advocating for more reasonable speeds for trucks, the Administration is also looking to implement an electronic speed monitoring system so trucks will not be able to go over a certain designated speed. A spokesperson from The American Trucking Association claimed that a 2007 study showed that nearly 70 percent of trucks already had similar devices, although the effectiveness of these is now certainly put into question

Proposed Changes

States are responsible for regulating most of the roads and public areas within their borders, so advocating for federal changes may be a difficult course for those pushing for reform. Regardless of where the changes are coming from, recent accidents in Connecticut have shed light on this important, tragic, and seemingly preventable issue.

While proposed changes and implementation is still in the works, it is up to states to monitor their speed limits. Driver education can also go a long way, with many drivers claiming that they were unaware of their truck’s tire limitations. Requiring weigh station use, proper tire pressure, routine maintenance checks, and driver training are all things that states can educate and advocate for with their drivers to help keep their roads just a bit safer.

Other Safety Concerns

Thought the NHTSA has made clear that big rig accidents are rising, trucks on the roadway have always posed a threat to other drivers. Many smaller vehicle drivers are under the false assumption that trucks can always see them because of the truck’s mirrors. This is simply not the case. Trucks have blind spots, that is, areas where the driver cannot see due to the angle or proximity. While all vehicles have blind spots, a truck may change lanes into your car if you are driving in an area where the truck driver cannot see you, which will likely be catastrophic. The best things you can do as a driver around large trucks is

  • Avoid driving in the lane directly next to a truck where the truck cannot see you in the mirror;
  • Do not speed up to pass a truck; you may enter the blind spot just as the truck is changing lanes;
  • Observe safety flags and steer clear of construction vehicle escorts carrying heavy equipment or machinery; and
  • Stay alert while driving near a truck that is making a turn; trucks have very wide turning radius’ and it is important to recognize that when you are in an adjacent lane.

Truck drivers require specialized training to operate these large vehicles, but they trust that you are observing traffic laws and appreciating the size and limitations of a large big rig. Always take extra precautions when driving near a large truck to prevent serious injury to yourself and others.

Westport, CT Truck Accident Attorney

Getting in any auto accident can be frightening. You may be frightened by your potential liability, concerned about medical expenses, or unable to work due to an injury. Hiring an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyers who knows how to navigate this niche area of the law is your first step toward getting your life back together after an accident.

Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law is always available to provide you with a free initial consultation about the merits of your case. He understands the significant impact an auto accident, particularly a trucking accident, can have on your life, and the catastrophic injuries or even death that can result. If you or anyone you know has been injured or killed in a trucking accident, contact our Fairfield County office at 203-226-6168 to learn more about your legal options today.

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