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News reports this past month focused on new records being reached in shipments via truck in the United States.  In light of recent accidents between big rigs and passenger vehicles, safety experts are calling for companies to reassess their safety equipment for large vehicles after recent research showed that blind spot warning systems significantly decrease the chance of accidents or injury-related crashes by approximately 20%.

The research executed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzed more than 5,000 accidents in 2015 and compared results with two similar studies focused on trucking fleets in the US, and Volvo cars in Sweden.  From these studies, it was shown that in the US alone more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented if all vehicles had been equipped with blind spot or collision avoidance technology.

But due to the size difference and speed and other factors of trucks, new technology alone won’t rid American highways of deadly crashes with semi-trucks.   Statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics show there were more than 350,000 commercial trucking accidents each year.

Because of their difference in size and weight, collisions between a semi-truck and passenger car are far more destructive and devastating than accidents involving two passenger vehicles. A commercial truck, such as an eighteen wheeler, delivery truck or large freight truck may weigh more than 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. A typical passenger car weighs only about 3,000 pounds.

In addition, due to their size and weight, tractor trailers require a large stopping distance. For this reason, the truck driver must maintain a greater distance between the semi-truck and other vehicles on the highway.  When a safe distance is not maintained, the results can be catastrophic.

This leads us to ask, then, if blind spots aren’t the only reason trucking accidents occur, what are the most common reasons?  The National Transportation Safety Board has listed the following as some of the most common causes of truck accidents:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Inadequate (or lack of any) driver training
  • Speeding
  • Overloaded trucks
  • Oversized trucks
  • Brake failure
  • Poor driving conditions
  • Driver inexperience
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Aggressive, dangerous or reckless driving
  • Mechanical failure (or improper maintenance)
  • Defective parts (such as defective steering or defective brakes)

It takes an experienced team of attorneys and investigators to determine if trucking negligence was to blame for your accident or injury. Langdon & Emison has the experience and resources to determine if a truck driver or trucking company is responsible for your injuries and to maximize your compensation.

With offices in Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City, we try cases across the country and regularly represent seriously injured persons and the families of those killed by trucks.  Knowing the factors that go into a collision between truck vs. car (in which usually the truck is victorious) can help both when operating a car near big rigs going at interstate speeds, and to know the types of causes that experienced truck accident attorneys try to examine when they are representing people who have been involved in this type of wreck.

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