Sharing the road…with large trucks

Every driver knows the shiver of mild apprehension ­­­when a large truck draws near.  It is an apprehension born of the sheer size of a large truck, legally categorized as a vehicle weighing 10,000 lbs. or more. Although the frequency of fatal large truck collisions may be exaggerated in popular perception, the dangers are no less real.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that crashes involving a large truck account for 12 percent of all fatalities and four percent of all injuries in motor vehicle crashes.

But the statistics are not all so grim. In the last decade, the number of registered large trucks has increased by more than 25 percent, but the gross number of accidents involving large trucks has only increased by one percent.

And in fact, over the last decade, the number of injuries caused by large truck crashes has decreased by 21 percent. Of the over 400,000 large truck crashes that occurred in 2005, only 1 percent resulted in at least one fatality, and 18 percent resulted in nonfatal injuries.

But again, the dangers of large truck crashes are very real. More than half of those fatal crashes occurred in rural areas, and almost 90 percent of fatal and non-fatal large truck crashes occurred during the workweek – not comforting to hear in a city where daily commutes exceeding 15, even 20 miles, are the norm for many residents.

The No-Zone Campaign, tagged with the line “Share the Road Safely,” works to reduce the impact of large truck crashes. As a passenger car driver, some of the most important things to remember are:

1)      Large trucks have even larger blind spots, so keep an eye out for turn signal blinkers and do not linger where you will not be seen.

2)      Large trucks do not brake the way a passenger car does: the weight makes braking much slower. And somewhat counter intuitively, a truck that is not hauling any cargo brakes even more slowly without the added weight for greater traction.

Truck drivers should be the “proverbial ‘Knight of the Road,’” says the No-Zone campaign. They are encouraged to “drive defensively, give [passenger cars] plenty of room, and expect the unexpected.” It’s advice that applies to passenger drivers as well.

But if that advice has not held the worst at bay, and you find yourself in need of an attorney to handle a personal injury case involving a large truck crash, contact Oracle Law Group.

This post was intended to provide general information only and is not intended as specific legal advice. You should not rely upon this information alone, but should consult legal counsel regarding the application of the laws and regulations discussed and as applied to your specific case or circumstance.