Tractor-Trailers Are Dangerous
We all know that tractor-trailers are larger, heavier and have many more blind spots than cars. If you ever drive on Interstate 81, you know that the trucks are taller than your car or truck and they are 20- 30 times heavier, too. If you get hit by a tractor-trailer, the odds are stacked against you. An expected result: death or serious injury. In a truck collision there is a 98% chance that the person in the car will be the one killed if there is a fatality (versus the tractor-trailer driver), according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). As one of my colleagues says, “In the battle of car versus truck, the car always loses.”
There are three important differences between tractor-trailers and cars. One is the fact that it takes much longer to stop a tractor-trailer than a car – 20-40% farther after the initial braking. Secondly, the tractor-trailer weighs 20 – 30 times more than cars weigh. That’s a 30:1 ratio! Lastly, commercial drivers are pushed to deliver faster and farther than the law allows. Did you know that tractor trailer drivers are allowed to drive only 11 hours at a time, and no more than 77 hours a week? That is why sometimes you see 18 wheelers pulled off onto the side of the road. The driver is required to keep a log of his driving hours in his truck. Many drivers violate these federal regulations and drive the large, heavy and dangerous rigs while fatigued.
Watch out when you are near a tractor-trailer on the highway. Try to avoid being close to these mammoth trucks for any length of time while driving. We don’t want you to be our client!
What To Do If You Are Hurt In A Tractor-Trailer Crash
The best thing to do if you are hurt by a tractor-trailer driver is contact a lawyer immediately. In our experience, the trucking companies have “risk managers” that contact all injured parties or their families, in the case of a fatality, to develop a relationship before a lawyer is contacted. Another reason to contact a lawyer as soon as possible is to make sure that all of the evidence in the case is preserved in order to protect your legal rights. A letter to the owner of the tractor-trailer requesting all electronically monitored or recorded data be preserved is imperative. At WilliamsFord, we know the complex federal regulations involving trucks and how to prove the carrier and their driver did not follow the law.
If you would like to discuss your case with one of our attorneys, contact us today. And remember, we handle cases in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.