Trucks are very large vehicles. Not only are tractor-trailers several times the length of your average sedan, but they also weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 times the weight of your average car. They can’t be driven similarly. Truckers, in particular, need considerably more time to stop and maneuver their 18-wheelers.
In instances in which a tractor-trailer and an automobile collide, it’s often not the trucker that walks away injured; it’s the passenger car operator instead. Many motorists even die in such crashes.
Federal and state laws have been passed in the past few years prohibiting truckers from driving more than 11 hours at a time. These regulations were instituted in large part to curb the incidence rate of fatigued truckers causing crashes. Researchers previously found that those operators who spend more than eight hours driving without taking a break are twice as likely to get into a crash than others.
Data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that in 2018, there were over 4,000 individuals that died in crashes with large trucks. Those same statistics show that of the 4,136 individual deaths, at least 67% were passenger vehicle occupants. Another 15% were pedestrians.
IIHS data also shows that anytime there is a fatal two-vehicle crash involving a large truck and a car, all but 4% of the deceased motorists are the passenger vehicle operators. Those same IIHS statistics reveal that 11% of all the fatal motor vehicle crashes each year involve large trucks. At least 22% of those individuals who die in multi-vehicle crashes are passenger car occupants.
The traffic congestion on the roadways here in Baton Rouge makes them inherently unsafe. When you add to that outside factors such as driver fatigue, distractions and recklessness, this makes them even more dangerous.
One of the best things that you can do if you’ve been involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer is to seek out the advice of an experienced truck accidents attorney. Your lawyer can let you know how Louisiana law allows you to hold a negligent motorist accountable for their actions.