Little Rock, Arkansas Truck Accident Lawyers
According to the American Trucking Association, there are over 3,000,000 commercial truck drivers and over 500,000 commercial carriers in the United States. The trucking industry is an important part of the American economy.
Most of these drivers and carriers are safe; but when unsafe companies create unrealistic schedules, use unqualified drivers, or allow poorly maintained vehicles to cause dangerous conditions on the road, something must be done. The American public should not have to suffer because of unsafe companies and drivers.
About Big Trucks
Fully loaded, a tractor-trailer may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and can be over 65 feet long.
This significantly affects their on-road capabilities:
- Brakes. At 55 mph, a car can usually stop within 130 to 140 feet. A loaded big rig can take 190 to 200 feet to stop, or as much as 450 feet if its brakes are hot from repeated use.
- Acceleration. Because of their weight, big rigs take longer to reach cruising speed than passenger vehicles. This obviously makes it more difficult for a trucker to climb hills or rapidly move from lane to lane.
- Visibility. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots in the rear, on both sides and even in front of the cab. The rear blind spot can be 200 feet deep; on the sides, it can extend past the end of the trailer and in front, it can be as far as 20 feet.
- Maneuverability. Big rigs need extra room to make turns. Drivers often move to the left to make a right turn. Also, on multi-lane roads truckers prefer the middle lane because it gives them more maneuvering options in case of an emergency ahead. Cars can swerve or duck trouble more readily than a large truck.
Thousands of commercial trucks crisscross our nation's highways every day. Too often, unsafe trucks are involved in serious, sometimes deadly, multi-vehicle accidents.
- Nearly 5000 people died in 2006 in accidents involving large trucks. Another 106,000 were injured. Of these, 78 percent were occupants of another vehicle, 15 percent were large truck occupants, and 9 percent were non-occupants.
- An additional 114,000 people were reported injured in those crashes.
- Of the deaths, 85 % of them were not truck occupants.
- Large trucks are nearly twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as passenger vehicles compared with 1.5 accidents per 100 million miles traveled in 2006.
- The higher fatal involvement rate is attributable to the size disparity between large trucks and passenger vehicles.
- The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that up to 40% of accidents involving large trucks may be the result of driver fatigue.
- Research by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that truck drivers behind the wheel for more than 8 hours have a twofold increase in accident risk. In an Institute survey taken in 2005, one-in-five truckers (21%) reported falling asleep at the wheel at least once during the previous month.
- Federal officials have uncovered commercial truck licensing fraud in 24 states, and have on-going investigations in 13 states. They say thousands of unskilled, untrained drivers may be on the nation's highways.
- Transportation experts estimate up to 30% of all commercial trucks on the highways exceed allowable weight limits. The DOT reports about 15% of fatal truck accidents involve overweight carriers.
(Sources include: National Safety Transportation Administration 2006 Traffic Safety Facts; Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration)
For additional information about Truck Accidents, please see the following:
- What to do After an Accident with a Big Truck
- Questions about Big Rig Accidents
- Hazardous Materials and Truck Accidents
To schedule a free consultation with one of our Little Rock truck accident attorneys, please call or email Duncan Firm today. We are proud to serve clients throughout Arkansas.
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