The huge size and weight disparity between fully loaded commercial trucks – which can easily weigh 50,000 pounds or more – and standard passenger cars means that when the two collide, injuries disproportionately affect those in the smaller vehicles. On an almost daily basis, news reports from across Tennessee and around the country demonstrate the tragic results of truck wrecks. Fatalities are common, and injuries are often catastrophic.
Common causes of truck crashes
Like many other crashes, the majority of truck “accidents” are not really accidents at all. They can be traced back to human error, often, but not always, on the part of the truck driver.
- Though federal hours-of-service regulations exist to ensure that truckers adequately rest before hitting the road, trucking company pay structures encourage speed and efficiency over safety. Simply put, more miles and more loads equate to more money in the truck driver’s pocket. As a result, speeding and fatigue are rampant among truckers, both of which (as previously discussed) cause crashes.
- Failure to perform necessary maintenance, particularly on rig and trailer brakes, results in countless crashes each year. When a 50,000 pound truck can’t stop, it will take out anything in its path, including other vehicles.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription medications, street drugs and stimulants also leads to injury-causing wrecks. The slowed reaction times, poor decision-making and lack of focus resulting from intoxication are especially deadly when a huge, heavy, fully-loaded truck is involved.
- Sometimes a crash can be caused by the negligence of a car driver who fails to adequately account for the size, lack of maneuverability, and longer stopping distances of these large trucks. When that occurs, other vehicles may be involved, resulting in a multi-vehicle crash.
When vehicles are moving at highway speeds, the physics and forces involved in truck crashes mean that injuries are severe, even considering the advanced safety features (airbags, steel passenger compartment frames, crumple zones, etc.) incorporated into modern vehicles.
These crashes can cause death or life-changing injuries including:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord damage (leading to full or partial paralysis/paraplegia/quadriplegia);
- Compound bone fractures;
- Crush injuries; or
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
If you or someone you love was killed or injured in a truck wreck, reach out to a skilled Tennessee personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case.