WE’LL COME TO YOU
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Imagine you are traveling down the open highway with your favorite tunes on the radio. It is a beautiful sunny day with puffy white clouds hanging majestically in the vividly blue sky. Driving under these conditions can be quite rejuvenating. Then things suddenly change. An 80,000 pound object 75 feet in length has just cast a long dark shadow on you! Instinctively, you know it’s a semi-truck and it’s trucking along well past the legally posted speed limit for trucks. Your carefree happy mood has suddenly vanished and you are instantly in full alert mode being constantly vigilant. You get a glance out of the corner of your eye at the driver of this gigantic metal beast. He’s on the CB radio and, although you can’t hear his conversation, you’re sure he’s asking his buddies for a cop report because he needs to make up some time to get whatever he’s hauling to its destination on time. Now you’re in an even more vigilant mode. Maybe you’re even a little scared. You intentionally slow down to let him pass you by. You breathe a little sigh of relief but are still watchful when there is finally a good distance between you and him.
Does this sound familiar? It is not unusual for a driver to be scared when he or she suddenly has to share the highway with a large truck. It can be quite a daunting experience. It’s even worse when you run into a convoy of large trucks. It can seem like you’re a tiny little mouse trying to move through a herd of elephants without being trampled.
It is more than reasonable to feel this way given the fact that the average car weighs only 4000 pounds and the average commercial truck weighs 80,000 pounds – the truck weighs 20 times more than the car! This is why when deaths occur in an accident between a large commercial truck and a car, more than 97% of the time it is the passengers in the car who die, not the truck driver. This is an alarming but true statistic.
Semi trucks are referred to by various names: semi-trailer trucks, semis for short, the big rigs, tractor trailer trucks, and 18-wheelers. Regardless of the name you use, getting into an accident with a large truck carries with it a very high probability of severe injury to you and your passengers. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 296,000 large trucks (defined as having a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds) were involved in accidents in the United States in 2009. This resulted in 3,380 deaths and 74,000 injuries.
In fact, seven percent of all fatal crashes in the United States involved a large truck. Additionally, accidents involving large trucks are far more likely to involve more than two vehicles with 81% of all fatal crashes with large trucks involving three or more vehicles. The only good news to report is that the number of fatalities involving large trucks has been steadily coming down since 2000 when 4,995 people died in these types of accidents.
In a 2009 “Traffic Safety Facts” report, NHTSA compiled large truck accident data from 2000 to 2009, updated last in September 2011. In this report, California had the most large truck fatal accidents with 4,205 in 2009 alone. However, Texas was not far behind with 4,187 truck related fatalities. Southern California stats are even worse.
It makes good common sense to go out of your way to always yield to large trucks on the highway, even if they are driving in an aggressive way. Remember, “being in the right” isn’t going to matter to you much if you and your passengers get into a collision with one of these highway monstrosities!
If you have been in an accident with a large truck and need the services of the best attorney for trucking accidents in California, please contact The May Firm: (805) 980-7758. We provide a free initial consultation to evaluate your case. Anything our trucking accident attorneys discuss is fully confidential. All of our cases are taken on a contingency basis so you do not pay anything unless we successfully settle your case or win your case in court.
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