Most people understand that there's an element of risk involved in riding in or driving a motor vehicle. Even if you are a very cautious driver, you can always end up in a collision caused by someone else's mistake or negligence. Any crash has the potential to be quite dangerous, but when a commercial truck hits a passenger vehicle, the results can be tragic.
Every day, people across the country and here in Louisiana end up in a collision with a commercial truck like a semitruck or an 18-wheeler. Many of these people incur substantial personal injuries, in addition to the damage to their vehicles. In some cases, sadly, the results of these collisions are fatal.
Smaller vehicles bear the brunt of the risk in commercial truck crashes
It's sad but true that smaller passenger vehicles just can't hold up against a massive, heavy commercial truck. In fact, in 2016, 97 percent of the fatalities related to collisions between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles were the people in the smaller vehicles.
In a way, that statistic makes a lot of sense. Commercial vehicles are much bigger, heavier and stronger than smaller passenger vehicles. Vehicles can end up trapped under a truck in a collision, resulting in catastrophic damage to the vehicles and the passengers inside. While the average driver likely takes steps to be safe when driving in close proximity to a commercial truck, that will do nothing to offset mistakes and poor driving practices on the part of the commercial driver.
Many risk factors can contribute to commercial truck crashes
Those who drive commercial trucks are only human, and they are prone to the same mistakes and issues that anyone else could have on the road, from sudden medical events to exhaustion. Even with special rules in place, including lower blood alcohol content limits for commercial drivers and restrictions on how long they can drive, commercial drivers can choose to violate those rules, just like anyone else who drives.
Sadly, when a commercial driver engages in intoxicated, exhausted or distracted driving, they place the majority of the risk on everyone else on the road. Between their huge blind spots, wide turns and longer stopping times, mistakes that a passenger vehicle driver could overcome can prove deadly when made by a trucker.
Even when road conditions are perfect, it only takes one argument on a cellphone, one decision to send a text message or one cheeseburger to create a dangerous driving situation. Those who experience a collision caused by a commercial truck have the right to pursue compensation, including an insurance claim, a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit if the accident is fatal.