Many people in New Orleans may be intuitively weary of driving their cars next to large tractor-trailers on highways and other roadways. Given the fact that these large vehicles can be up to 30 times heavier than passenger cars, and that trucks are higher off the ground, a car is no match for a semi-truck in a collision. But just how many people die from accidents with large trucks?
According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 3,600 people died in these accidents in 2014, which is the most recent year for which the IIHS reported such data. Of those truck accident deaths, almost 70 percent of the victims were people in cars or other types of smaller passenger vehicles. Another 15 percent of the victims in fatal truck accidents were those who were on motorcycles or bicycles, or were pedestrians.
Because of their enormous size and weight, large trucks cannot stop as quickly as smaller vehicles can. Trucks can require up to 40 percent more road space to stop than is needed for a car to stop. Of course stopping becomes even more difficult during inclement weather when road surfaces are wet.
Truckers are on the road for long hours as they haul goods from one place to another throughout Louisiana and everywhere else in the country. Even the best and safest drivers can suffer from fatigue after many hours on the road. Despite federal regulations that limit the hours that truck drivers can be on the road, driver fatigue factors into many truck accidents.
When a fatal tractor-trailer crash is caused by the truck driver, or even something that went wrong with the truck itself, the driver and the truck company will likely have liability for the damages that result from the accident. All drivers should do what they can to avoid truck accidents. However, victims and their families should not have to shoulder the burden of accident-related expenses when the truck accident was not their fault.
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Large Trucks," Accessed on June 26, 2016