While any type of traffic accident can be physically and emotionally devastating, those involving large trucks, also known as semis, 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers, can be especially dangerous. When the other vehicle involved in the accident is a passenger vehicle, the situation is more of a David vs. Goliath battle – although in this case, Goliath usually wins.
One of the obvious factors that make these accidents especially dangerous is the size of a typical large truck in comparison to a passenger vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers any truck over 10,000 pounds to be a “large truck,” but depending on the size and the load, a tractor-trailer can weigh anywhere from 12,000 to 80,000 pounds. The average car weighs about a quarter of the low-end of those figures.
Pure physics comes into play as well. Depending on the speed the truck is maintaining when the accident occurs, the ability to stop it is far more difficult in comparison with a passenger vehicle. A loaded tractor-trailer can go 20-40 percent farther when brakes are applied. Wet roads can make these numbers even higher. And, since most truckers are on a tight schedule, they are typically traveling at the highest speeds allowed on the highways, and sometimes exceeding them. All of these factors together can turn even an accident with only minor damage potential into a deadly crash.
Even though the trucking industry is highly regulated by government agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it is a commercial business with the goal of making a profit. Because drivers want to keep their jobs, they will test the limits of time and energy against the laws they are expected to comply with. A fatigued truck driver who allows his rig to cross the center line can cause much more damage than a passenger vehicle. A mere side-swipe by a truck that weighs six tons or more can run a passenger car off the road – or worse, even into oncoming traffic.
Unfortunately, these accidents occur all too often. Federal agency statistics show that, in 2012, almost 4000 people were killed in large truck accidents on U.S. highways. California has more than its share of these and the busy highways in the Los Angeles area are no exception. If you or a loved one has been a victim of one of these tragedies, a consultation with an experienced and reputable truck accident lawyer in Los Angeles can help determine your rights while taking the legal burden of investigations and insurance claims off your shoulders.
West Coast Trial Lawyers is one of the leading law firms in Los Angeles and has the best car and truck accident lawyers with highest success rate. For further information or to schedule an appointment with one of our reputable and experienced attorneys please contact us at (888) 539-9582 or visit www.WestCoastTrialLawyers.com.