Protect Yourself Against Increasing Large Truck Traffic

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

Large trucks have made our modern existence possible. Without a way to efficiently transport just about anything, almost anywhere, you probably wouldn’t have the computer on which to read this blog or the chair on which you’re sitting. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that in 2011, 11,301 million tons of freight was trucked across the United States – two-thirds of all freight that moved that year. That’s about 3,200 pounds of freight for every person on the planet. But while trucks, and those driving them, perform an invaluable service to the country and our economy, with all those trucks, drivers and freight, accidents happen. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on American roads in 2009 there were 295,924 heavy truck accidents and 3,215 of those resulted in fatalities. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation estimates that heavy trucks were involved in 5,891 crashes in the state in 2012 and 143 of those accidents involved fatalities. Problems related to tires, wheels, brakes and unsecured or overloaded trailers caused the most accidents, which most commonly happened on state highways. Fracking has resulted in a significant increase in truck traffic, particularly in Wyoming and Susquehanna counties. These trucks may be poorly maintained or driven by overworked and tired drivers. This can be a recipe for disaster. One fatality caused by a large truck is too many. We represent families of loved ones killed in truck accidents as well as clients seriously injured in truck accidents. Lawsuits against trucking companies are complex. Going up against big trucking companies requires aggressive representation by attorneys who know what to do to win the case. Our attorneys have the resources to even the playing field and combat the well-funded trucking companies. Depending on the jurisdiction, the highest legal weight for a semi-truck is 80,000 pounds. If it’s going 55 miles per hour, it would take a semi-truck about 100 yards, and about six seconds, to come to a stop. That’s about twice the distance it would take for an automobile. Try to avoid an accident with a heavy truck by taking these steps:

  • If you see a truck making strange or sudden maneuvers, or the trailer starts to sway, keep your distance. It could indicate equipment failure, obstacles in the road or an intoxicated driver,
  • Be on the lookout for bad behavior in other drivers near big trucks. If a truck driver is forced to take sudden evasive maneuvers, it can easily jackknife, causing a serious accident,
  • When a truck is turning or changing lanes, it can easily crush a car in its blind spot. If you can’t see the driver through the windows or in a mirror, you’re in the truck driver’s blind spot.
  • When trucks swing out to the left taking up two lanes of traffic before making a right-hand turn, they create an open space to their immediate right, which many drivers are tempted to pull into. Never pull into that space even if the truck does not have its turn signal on.
  • Since trucks need more room to stop than you do, cutting off a big truck can mean getting rear-ended or it can cause the truck driver to make dangerous evasive maneuvers, causing a jackknife or rollover.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, contact our office so we can discuss your situation and your possible options to obtain compensation for your injuries in a wrongful death lawsuit.