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Why Crashes Involving
Commercial Trucks are
An Introduction to Large/Heavy Truck
Large trucks weigh as much as 40 tons, up to 20 times the weight of
passenger vehicles. They also take up to twice as long to brake as
passenger cars. It’s no surprise that when a large truck and a passenger
vehicle collide, it is usually the occupants of the smaller vehicle who suffer
serious injuries or death. In the following pages, we’ll look at how these
crashes occur, and what it means for those involved.
Fast Facts - Heavy Truck Crashes in
In 2015, there were 6,916 heavy truck crashes in Pennsylvania, more
than 20 a day.
The number of heavy truck crashes in 2015 was the highest in over five
Of the heavy truck crashes in 2015, 56% (3,879 crashes) occurred on
non-interstate highways, while 26% (1,807 crashes) occurred on
However, 44% of all road deaths in heavy truck crashes occurred on
interstates, compared to 37% of road deaths on non-interstate highways.
Why Truck Crashes Happen: Unsafe
Speeding is a major contributor to large truck crashes. While we tend to
think of “speeding” as exceeding a posted speed limit, it is better defined as
travelling too fast for conditions. In other words, a driver should be aware of
the weather and traffic conditions so they can drive accordingly. For
example, truck drivers must drive slowly and cautiously on icy roads in
heavy traffic, regardless of the posted speed limit.
Why Truck Crashes Happen: Distracted
Just like all other drivers, truckers can be susceptible to distractions while
behind the wheel. Mobile devices, navigational systems and car stereos are
a few of the most common causes of distraction, but even activities like
talking to passengers, eating, drinking or looking in the mirror can draw a
driver’s attention off the road and put other motorists in danger.
Why Truck Crashes Happen: Drowsy
Drowsy or fatigued driving is a major concern for truck drivers. They spend
several hours of their day on the road, travel long distances to meet
shipping demands, and often stay seated for long periods. These factors,
among others, make truck driving a difficult job, one notoriously linked to
adverse health conditions. For example, nearly one-third of commercial
truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea, a condition that increases
the likelihood of fatigued driving.
Vehicular Error in Truck Accidents
In addition to human error, vehicular errors can also causes serious
crashes. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the
four leading causes of truck crashes related to vehicular error in 2015 were:
Tire or Wheel-Related
Unsecured or Overloaded Trailers
Power Train Failures
Total Steering System Failures
Common Injuries in Large Truck
Large truck crashes can be some of the most serious and deadly on our
roads. Common injuries in these accidents include:
Traumatic brain injuries
Spinal cord injuries
Internal damage to organs
Tips for Driving Safely Around Large
Be mindful of a truck driver’s blind spots. If you can’t see a driver or the
driver’s mirror, they likely can’t see you either.
Always signal before changing lanes when driving around large trucks.
If you shift lanes in front of a large truck, avoid braking or reducing your
speed until there is ample space between you and the truck.
When trucks are making tight right turns, be careful to keep your
What Happens After a Heavy Truck
After a large truck and a passenger vehicle collide, police and emergency
medical responders will likely arrive on the scene. Anyone who has been
injured should seek immediate treatment. The police officer will fill out a
report. Occupants of the passenger vehicle should cooperate with police,
but avoid speaking at length to others. It is not uncommon for a truck
driver’s employer to send representatives to the scene of a crash to find
ways to lessen their liability and shift blame onto the other driver.
Have You Been
Injured in a Large
If you or a loved one has been
injured in a large truck crash,
contact the vehicle accident
attorneys at Wapner, Newman,
Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller to learn
more. Our experienced legal team
can provide you with skilled,
aggressive legal representation to
make sure you receive the
compensation you deserve. These
crashes are often complex, so it is
best to retain the services of a
qualified firm like Wapner,
Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher &
Miller to represent you.
Contact us today to learn more.