No one likes to drive side by side with a Tractor trailers, also known as eighteen wheelers. Almost all of us grip our steering wheel a little tighter when one goes by. As Charlotte and North Carolina continues to grow the number of tractor trailers on our roads and highways is only going to increase. At almost any time of day you can jump on I-77 or 485 and be surrounded by tractor trailers.
Number of Accidents
A trucking accident occurs when large trailers (10,000+ lbs.) collide with other vehicles or pedestrians. Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5,000 trucking accidents result in fatalities. In fact, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision. Tractor trailers and cars collide as often as every sixteen minutes in the United States. Because of the size (and most often high rates of speed) injuries sustained in tractor trailer accidents are severe. What people frequently overlook is the fact that a tractor trailer traveling at 70 miles per hour has nearly double the energy of a tractor trailer traveling at 50 miles per hour. The average passenger car was not built to protect against forty ton trucks, and forty ton trucks were not built to mitigate collision damage to passenger cars.
On average, a tractor trailer driver will log 125,000 miles per year. This averages out to approximately 500 miles per day. If you assume that the average speed of the tractor trailer is is 60 miles per hour the average tractor trailer driver is behind the wheel more than eight hours each day.
Drugs and Alcohol
Tests performed by the National Transportation Safety Board over a period of one year, it was found that drugs and alcohol do play a strong role in tractor trailer accidents. Through comprehensive drug screenings performed on 168 fatally injured drivers, it was found that one or more drugs were detected in 67% of those drivers. Along with this, of the drivers tested, 33% were found to have detectable blood concentrations of psychoactive drugs or alcohol contained in their body.
In a study conducted on tractor trailer drivers by the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety, a number of the participants tested positive for drugs an alcohol. Specifically:
Non-prescription stimulants (12%) Cocaine (2%)
In a different study performed on 182 fatal tractor trailer accidents, 23 of the truck drivers tested positive for marijuana (12.5%) and 45 tested positive for cocaine (25%).
Underlying Cause For Accident
The NC DMV statistics reveal that tractor trailer accidents occur for a multitude of reasons, including:
- Unsafe lane changes;
- Illegal use of the shoulder;
- Failing to signal;
- Failing to yield;
- Improper merging;
- Unsafe passing;
- Driver fatigue;
- Cell phone use;
- Worn tires;
- Worn brakes;
- Defective reflective and safety equipment; and
- Lack of safety equipment.
Tractor trailer drivers have specific protocols they have to follow following an accident. These usually include contacting the insurance carrier or risk management of the company. If you or a loved one is injured in a tractor trailer accident it is imperative to retain competent experienced counsel as quickly as possible. An experienced lawyer will know what to look for following an accident, and what to request.
While no dollar amount can adequately compensate for a loss, the legal system is structured to permit monetary recovery where the injured party can prove that another negligently caused his/her harm. The amount of recovery is determined either by a jury at trial, or through a fair settlement made prior to trial, that is based upon jury verdicts in similar cases. If Rosensteel Fleishman accepts your case it will be actively researched and aggressively pursued to a conclusion. Please contact us to discuss your case.