Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are the largest vehicles that the average driver will find on the road. In fact, these vehicles can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when carrying a full load of cargo. Large commercial trucks are thus able to do enormous amounts of damage when involved in accidents with much smaller passenger vehicles.
Despite the risks involved in a tractor-trailer accident, many large trucks lack the advanced safety features that can be found in much smaller cars and trucks which pose far less of a safety threat. Read on to learn about the ways that large truck safety could be improved with the introduction of advanced crash prevention systems, and contact a seasoned Texas personal injury lawyer for a consultation if you’ve been hurt in a crash with an 18-wheeler.
Fatality rates rising among tractor-trailer crashes
In recent years, fatality rates in motor vehicle crashes in the US have jumped markedly. Crashes involving tractor-trailers are no exception to this pattern. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2016 saw roughly 4,300 people killed in crashes involving large commercial trucks, which is 5% more than were killed in crashes involving trucks in 2015. Whether or not trucking companies are doing all they can to operate safe truck fleets is a subject of some debate. Safety experts have noted that most large trucks lack modern safety features that exist in many passenger vehicles, despite the major accidents that could be prevented if these features were used in large trucks. According to one study, only 15% of all large commercial trucks have a form of collision avoidance or crash warning system installed.
Collision-avoidance systems could address rising fatal crash rates
In many ways, crash avoidance systems could be even more useful in large trucks than they are on passenger vehicles. For example, semi-trucks have massive blind spots that wrap from the passenger side all the way around the side to the rear of the truck. Vehicles driving in these areas are essentially invisible to the driver, and if the truck merges lanes, vehicles riding in these so-called “no-zones” are at risk of being hit or forced off the road or into another vehicle. By installing blind-spot warning and lane drift warning systems, these accidents could be prevented. Additionally, tractor-trailers traveling at highway speeds can need up to 400 meters to come to a complete stop, and if the driver fails to notice an upcoming hazard, they may not begin braking early enough. By equipping these trucks with front-crash warning or automatic emergency braking systems, drivers could get the help they need in bringing their truck to a stop before a crash occurs.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck crash in Texas, find out if you’re a good candidate to file a personal injury lawsuit for money damages by contacting the professional and effective Houston personal injury lawyer Charles J. Argento for a no-cost evaluation of your claim, at 713-225-5050.