When a commercial truck driver steps behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler the responsibility as a professional driver is different from that of the normal person driving their passenger car. A tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds without a special permit. When a driver of a semi-truck speeds it puts everyone around at risk.
Does Speeding Really Cause Accidents?
Yes. Speeding is a major factor in many car accidents. One of the reasons is that the faster one is traveling the less reaction time you have for something in front of you. Further, your reactions must be perfect, or the speeding may exacerbate the correction. In short, the faster you are traveling the less reaction time you have for sudden events. Further, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration indicates these consequences of speeding:
Easier to lose control
Reducing the effectiveness of your seatbelts and airbags
It takes longer to stop
More severe crashes
Higher fuel costs
Increased chance of an accident with tire failure
How Speed Increases Your Chances of an Injury Accident
Not only does speed reduce your time for reactions, but it also contributes greatly to serious injury or a fatality. Simple physics suggests that the harder the impact the more likely an injury will occur. With tractor-trailers weighing up to 80,000 pounds, the speed coupled with wait leads to very devastating crashes. Those who are fortunate enough to walk away from an accident with an 18-Wheeler at highway speeds are truly lucky.
According to NHTSA, 26% of all wrongful death crashes in the United States involve speed as a factor.
Big Rigs Take Longer to Stop
Speeding with big rigs is even a bigger problem because the truck or tractor-trailer takes longer to stop than much of the traffic in front.
An 18-wheeler takes longer to stop than a passenger car, as a rule of thumb it takes a semi-truck about one-third longer to stop than a car or pickup truck. This makes the reaction time and speed of the commercial vehicle critically important.
Speed Can Be Determined After the Crash
Speeding and driver distractions are the two most frequent causes of commercial vehicle accidents. Many trucks have what is called “black box” event data recorders on board the tractor. Special equipment is needed to download the evidence after a truck accident and if the vehicle does have an event data recorder speed is part of the data that will be shown from the computer chip.
Also, expert witnesses are also used to educate juries about the speed of vehicles involved in an accident. These experts or trained in crash reenactment and use science and physics to formulate opinions on speed. Given the computer data is now available on most commercial vehicles, the expert reconstructionist is mainly used to confirm the speed shown by the onboard computers. If you think you may have been in an accident with a speeding truck, call our skilled truck accident law firm for a case evaluation.
Why Do Trucker Crash?
18 wheelers provide a higher viewpoint than most other vehicles. Which offers a truck driver more time to prepare for traffic-stopping in front. Rear-end truck accidents, jackknife accidents, and rollover accidents all can be attributed in some cases to improper speed.
Weather conditions can play a role. Professional truck drivers are required to adjust speed in adverse weather. Also, if the weather conditions are unsafe, the driver must pull off the road (when they can do so safely) and discontinue the trip until conditions improve.
Driver Error is The Leading Factor
Without a doubt, driver error is the single largest factor in most commercial vehicle crashes. Driver error is a very broad term and can include many factors. Some of the more common driver error that or Texas truck accident attorneys see frequently are:
- Faulty Evasive Action
- Following too Closely
- Improver Lane Changes
- Failing to Yield Right of Way
- Wide Turns
- Jackknife Crashes
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