Every year in the Philadelphia area, truck accidents prove to be of the worst kinds of crashes that can happen on our roads. When you combine the extreme weight of a truck – ten times that of a car, even when the truck is empty – with the increased height of the truck from the ground, the personal injuries that typically result from a truck accident are often severe or even fatal. To make matters worse, it is the occupants of the other vehicles that are involved in truck accidents that fare the worst: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that, in fatal truck crashes involving a truck and a passenger vehicle, the fatality happens in the car 97% of the time.
One would expect truckers to take their responsibility behind the wheel of a big rig seriously. Unfortunately, this is not often the case. After all, truck driver are not being paid to keep others safe – they are being paid to deliver cargo from one place to another. As a result, it should not come as a surprise that truck drivers all too often resort to unsafe truck driving practices as they pass through the Philadelphia area to get to their final destination. These driving techniques, however, often lead to local and innocent Philadelphians suffering significant injuries on our roads and highways.
The Problem of Unsafe Truck Driving Practices
Even if truck drivers do not want to put anyone else in harm's way while they are behind the wheel of their truck, all of the financial incentives are stacked against this interest. Driving safely often begins with driving slowly, and truckers are typically paid per mile driven, and are frequently pushed by their employers to deliver cargo as quickly as humanly possible. This is, after all, how trucking companies make a profit.
Unfortunately, this incentive structure means that truckers get paid more when they risk the lives of the others on the road. Sadly, statistics have shown that this is not just a theoretical problem.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a distressingly-high number of the truck accidents that happen are because the truckers who are involved were driving unsafely at the time of the accident. In a study that investigated nearly a thousand crashes in 17 states over nearly two years, the FMCSA found that, when the truck driver contributed to the crash, nearly a third of them had veered out of their lane and into someone else's. Another quarter of the truck drivers were speeding or were driving their rig out of control. Another one in ten did something unsafe in an intersection.
These are just some of the most dangerous truck driving practices that you can be victimized by. Here are some of the others.
Anyone who has driven on the roads or highways in or near the city of Philadelphia knows that the speed limit is rarely followed. However, when it is a truck driver who ignores the speed limit, the dangers increase dramatically because of the high chances that a resulting accident will be a severe one.
Trucks are not only heavier and taller than most cars – increasing the amount of force that comes in a collision and making it happen higher up on a car, at approximately head height for the occupants inside – they also have a longer stopping distance because of their increased weight. When a truck is speeding, this stopping distance – the amount of feet it takes a truck to come to a complete stop after the trucker hits the brakes – increases even more. The increase in the stopping distance of a speeding truck makes it far less likely that a truck driver will be able to notice a driving hazard up ahead, react to it appropriately, and then come to a stop before the collision can occur.
All of this means that a speeding truck puts everyone on the road in far greater danger than they would be in if it were abiding by the speed limit.
Not Checking a Truck's Blind Spot Before Merging
According to the FMCSA's study, one of the most common driving practices that leads to an accident on the roads is merging unsafely. This is largely due to the fact that trucks have massive blind spots when compared to regular passenger cars. The size of these blind spots means that truckers can completely miss a car that is in it, putting them in danger if the truck then makes a turn or lane change.
However, a trucker's mirrors are set up so they can see into those blind spots with just a bit of effort. Unfortunately, truck drivers who are intent on making a quick delivery might not take that time or effort to make sure their lane change is a safe one before starting it.
Distracted Truck Driving
Another common truck driving practice that is unsafe is driving while distracted. Truckers are professional drivers who are often behind the wheel for most of the day. This makes them even more susceptible than regular drivers to distractions, particularly towards the end of their shift. Just like regular drivers, though, distracted truckers might miss the signs of a road hazard and be left unable to avoid a severe collision.
Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Truck accidents are often life-altering events. They can leave you victimized by a truck driver who used unsafe driving techniques, with numerous medical bills and injuries that you did not deserve.
This is when it is crucial to have a personal injury attorney at your side.
By fighting for your rights and interests both in and out of court, the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can ensure you get the compensation that you need and deserve in order to make a full recovery after the ordeal. Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.