What Makes Truck Accidents More Dangerous Than Car Crashes?

March 30, 2023 | Truck Accidents

Any vehicle accident has the potential for serious injuries and property damage, but this is particularly true for accidents involving larger trucks on the roadway. Incidents involving vehicles heavier than the average passenger car how much more likely to cause catastrophic injuries that lead to long-lasting consequences for drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. Here, we want to review what makes these incidents so much more dangerous.

Large Commercial Truck Weight and Size

When we examine the information available from the Federal Highway Administration, we can see that national weight standards typically apply to any commercial truck that operates across state lines (interstate travel). Each state is also allowed to set its own commercial vehicle weight standards, particularly for those vehicles that only operate within state borders.

Typically, the weight limits allowed for commercial trucks involve examining the number of axles on the vehicle. Overall, the maximum weight for a commercial truck is typically 80,000 pounds when the vehicle is fully loaded with cargo. This is an extreme amount of weight, particularly when it is involved in a vehicle accident. Additionally, large trucks are typically capped at a length of 65 or 75 feet, depending on the type of connection between the trailer and the tractor.

The average passenger vehicle weighs a few thousand pounds. When a regular passenger vehicle is involved in a collision with a larger commercial truck, the results are often devastating. 

Another possible factor making matters worse with a larger commercial truck accident is the cargo involved. In many cases, these trucks carry rather benign items, such as household goods. However, there are times when accidents involving commercial trucks carrying hazardous materials occur (fuels, medical waste, toxic chemicals), and this can lead to an extended disaster on the ground at the site of the incident. 

Drivers and Companies Make Mistakes

Commercial vehicles are heavily regulated by both the state and federal governments. However, that does not mean mistakes aren’t made regularly. Drivers can make mistakes, and trucking companies can make mistakes.

Drivers can make errors by failing to uphold their duty of care to others on the roadway. The most common driver errors involved with trucking collisions include operating while distracted by phones or other devices, operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs, following other vehicles too closely, speeding, failing to stop at stop signs or stop lights, etc. Drivers could also fail to uphold the required hours of service set forth by the federal or state government, and they may fail to regularly inspect their vehicles before each trip.

Trucking companies can make errors that cause accidents as well. This also includes failing to regularly inspect and maintain the vehicles as prescribed by federal law, failing to check the qualifications of drivers, or failing to provide adequate driver training.

Contact an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, you need to reach out to an Austin truck accident attorney as soon as possible. These claims can be incredibly challenging, but an attorney can get involved quickly, conduct an investigation, and help you recover the compensation you need.