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Large Truck Crashes in Pennsylvania


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Why Crashes Involving Commercial Trucks are So Dangerous

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Large Truck Crashes in Pennsylvania

  1. 1. Large Truck Crashes in Pennsylvania Why Crashes Involving Commercial Trucks are So Dangerous
  2. 2. An Introduction to Large/Heavy Truck Crashes Large trucks weigh as much as 40 tons, up to 20 times the weight of passenger vehicles. They also take up to twice as long to brake as passenger cars. It’s no surprise that when a large truck and a passenger vehicle collide, it is usually the occupants of the smaller vehicle who suffer serious injuries or death. In the following pages, we’ll look at how these crashes occur, and what it means for those involved.
  3. 3. Fast Facts - Heavy Truck Crashes in PA  In 2015, there were 6,916 heavy truck crashes in Pennsylvania, more than 20 a day.  The number of heavy truck crashes in 2015 was the highest in over five years.  Of the heavy truck crashes in 2015, 56% (3,879 crashes) occurred on non-interstate highways, while 26% (1,807 crashes) occurred on interstates.  However, 44% of all road deaths in heavy truck crashes occurred on interstates, compared to 37% of road deaths on non-interstate highways.
  4. 4. Why Truck Crashes Happen: Unsafe Speeds Speeding is a major contributor to large truck crashes. While we tend to think of “speeding” as exceeding a posted speed limit, it is better defined as travelling too fast for conditions. In other words, a driver should be aware of the weather and traffic conditions so they can drive accordingly. For example, truck drivers must drive slowly and cautiously on icy roads in heavy traffic, regardless of the posted speed limit.
  5. 5. Why Truck Crashes Happen: Distracted Driving Just like all other drivers, truckers can be susceptible to distractions while behind the wheel. Mobile devices, navigational systems and car stereos are a few of the most common causes of distraction, but even activities like talking to passengers, eating, drinking or looking in the mirror can draw a driver’s attention off the road and put other motorists in danger.
  6. 6. Why Truck Crashes Happen: Drowsy Driving Drowsy or fatigued driving is a major concern for truck drivers. They spend several hours of their day on the road, travel long distances to meet shipping demands, and often stay seated for long periods. These factors, among others, make truck driving a difficult job, one notoriously linked to adverse health conditions. For example, nearly one-third of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea, a condition that increases the likelihood of fatigued driving.
  7. 7. Vehicular Error in Truck Accidents In addition to human error, vehicular errors can also causes serious crashes. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the four leading causes of truck crashes related to vehicular error in 2015 were:  Tire or Wheel-Related  Brake-Related  Unsecured or Overloaded Trailers  Power Train Failures  Total Steering System Failures
  8. 8. Common Injuries in Large Truck Crashes Large truck crashes can be some of the most serious and deadly on our roads. Common injuries in these accidents include:  Broken bones  Traumatic brain injuries  Spinal cord injuries  Internal damage to organs  Wrongful Death
  9. 9. Tips for Driving Safely Around Large Trucks  Be mindful of a truck driver’s blind spots. If you can’t see a driver or the driver’s mirror, they likely can’t see you either.  Always signal before changing lanes when driving around large trucks.  If you shift lanes in front of a large truck, avoid braking or reducing your speed until there is ample space between you and the truck.  When trucks are making tight right turns, be careful to keep your distance.
  10. 10. What Happens After a Heavy Truck Crash After a large truck and a passenger vehicle collide, police and emergency medical responders will likely arrive on the scene. Anyone who has been injured should seek immediate treatment. The police officer will fill out a report. Occupants of the passenger vehicle should cooperate with police, but avoid speaking at length to others. It is not uncommon for a truck driver’s employer to send representatives to the scene of a crash to find ways to lessen their liability and shift blame onto the other driver.
  11. 11. Have You Been Injured in a Large Truck Accident? If you or a loved one has been injured in a large truck crash, contact the vehicle accident attorneys at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller to learn more. Our experienced legal team can provide you with skilled, aggressive legal representation to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. These crashes are often complex, so it is best to retain the services of a qualified firm like Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller to represent you. Contact us today to learn more.