Are commercial trucks and big rigs more dangerous than cars and other passenger vehicles? Although there are more car accidents each year than truck accidents, a side-by-side comparison of cars to commercial trucks does reveal that trucks are usually the more dangerous of the two.
Three reasons why commercial trucks tend to be more dangerous than cars are:
- Weight: The average car weighs less than 4,000 pounds. On the other hand, the average commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds – or 20 times as much – without violating regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Physics tells us that the heavier an object is, the longer it will take to come to a stop once it is put into motion. In layman’s terms, the braking distance of a commercial truck can be much longer than that of a smaller car. Furthermore, heavier objects have more force than smaller objects in a collision, so a truck is more likely to do more damage to other vehicles in a crash, even when traveling slower than highway speeds.
- Size: Many semi-trucks are 72 feet long, about 9 feet wide, and more than 13 feet tall. To say that these vehicles take up a large portion of the road is a bit of an understatement. Due to the large sizes of commercial trucks, they are inherently more difficult to steer and navigate. Whereas a driver in a passenger car has some room around their vehicle most of the time to maneuver and avoid collisions, big rigs offer up little in this way. In a traffic emergency, there might not be much that the trucker can do to successfully steer their vehicle in a way that avoids a crash.
- Driver exhaustion: It is also worth remembering that truck drivers can be scheduled to work 14 hours a day and 70 hours a week. When you see a commercial truck driver on the road, they could have spent the better part of the day behind the wheel. Such grueling work schedules cause many truckers to feel exhausted or fatigued toward the end of their shifts. If they don’t get a good night’s rest between shifts, which is often the case, then they might already be tired by the time they start working. This higher risk of truck driver exhaustion makes the vehicles more dangerous than cars.
Were you hit by a truck while driving through Southern California? The Law Offices of Wax & Wax might be able to help you seek compensation. Contact us now to learn more.