According to data, almost 9,330 people died in traffic crashes in the US in the first three months of 2023. Some of these are car accidents, some truck accidents, and some other types. Truck accidents differ from car accidents, but not as much as you think.
Still, it’s essential to understand the differences between truck collisions and other types of motor vehicle accidents. This will help better prepare yourself to handle an accident if one happens.
In this article, we’ll touch on how the size of trucks makes them more dangerous than cars. We will also go through some other differences between car and truck accidents.
Critical Differences Between Truck and Car Accidents
The differences between truck and car accidents can be summed up with this: trucks are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. The reason is due to their large size.
Here are some of the key differences you will find in truck and car accidents:
Size and Weight Disparities
There are several reasons why truck accidents can be so much more severe than those involving cars. The first and most obvious is size: trucks are much larger than cars. Hence, they have a greater mass and cause more damage in an accident. They also require a longer stopping distance, making maneuvers challenging.
Consider this example of a truck accident in St. Louis that ran into a pole on September 1, 2023. The driver had to be rescued from the crushed vehicle. This crash could be that the driver could not maneuver the vehicle.
Hence, many truck accidents occur in rural areas where turning becomes difficult. A Forbes article shows that almost 55% of fatal truck accidents occurred in rural areas, termed high-risk zones. Consider this example of a car and truck accident in Blaine in April 2022.
Blaine is a rural-like area where maneuvering large vehicles is challenging. Hence, the car and truck drivers could not control their vehicles, which led to an accident. The collision, which led to a massive fire, was caught on camera.
Regulatory Framework Differences
While trucks are subject to the same laws and regulations as cars, the trucking industry is highly regulated. Truck drivers are subject to strict training, licensing, and testing requirements to operate on public roads. This is especially true for truck drivers working in the corporate world.
Businesses are at risk of getting into a lawsuit due to truck accidents. Hence, they want the drivers to be good at their work. Therefore, truck drivers working with corporations are given special training and guidelines that are usually not given to passenger car drivers.
In addition to complying with state laws regarding hours-of-service limits and logbooks, truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This means that they have passed a comprehensive exam covering topics such as vehicle safety inspections. Moreover, they should also know about air brake systems operation and repair procedures for multiple vehicle types.
Trucks also usually operate cross-states, which means they have to abide by the regulations of different US states. Hence, truck drivers need to know which state they are in and what rules apply there.
That’s also why truck drivers should hire local attorneys in case of accidents. This ensures that the lawyers will have the right legal knowledge to help you in the location where the accident occurred.
Consider this example of two tractor-trailer crashes in St. Louis in August 2023. The first crash occurred on Interstate 55 and the other on Interstate 255. The drivers suffered minor injuries. Suppose a similar truck accident occurs there in St. Louis. In that case, it will be the best and easiest choice to hire a truck accident attorney in St. Louis.
Number of Parties Involved in Truck Accidents Are More
According to TorHoerman Law, truck accidents are more likely to involve multiple liable parties. This is based on who owns the truck or for whom the driver is operating. For instance, suppose a company has rented a truck for moving goods from one place to another. The business then hires and trains a driver for the work.
Now, if the driver crashes a passenger car, more than one party will be liable. Firstly, the driver will be liable for the accident. Second, even the company the driver was working for will be held liable. Third, even the business that owned the truck and gave it on rent could be held liable.
In a truck accident, the legal rights will depend on whether or not the driver was negligent. They may be liable if they were negligent and caused your injuries or damages. This means that if you file a suit against the driver’s insurance company, they will pay up according to state laws regarding liability.
In some cases, however, there may still be confusion about who is responsible for paying out money after a truck accident. It depends on where the accident occurred and the type of truck involved in the crash. And even then, there could still be gray areas when it comes down to determining who should bear financial responsibility.
Hence, most companies using trucks are required to have insurance. According to justice.org, carriers are supposed to have $750,000 per incident in insurance. This is quite low compared to the crash, which can cost $4.9 million in direct costs.
Safety Measures and Prevention
Due to the sheer size and damage they pose, truck accidents need to be prevented. Here are some safety measures and prevention tips:
- Truck drivers can do their part by being aware of their surroundings, staying sober, and not speeding. Car drivers should also be aware of trucks and drive defensively.
- Truck companies can take measures to ensure their vehicles are safe and well-maintained by hiring qualified mechanics. They can regularly inspect the trucks for cracks in glass or metal panels, worn tires and brakes, or faulty lights or mirrors. Companies should also train their drivers to correctly use these safety features, like airbags, in case they’re ever deployed during an accident.
- The government could implement stricter laws regarding traffic violations such as speeding. This will make people less likely to get into accidents due to reckless behavior.
All of these factors make truck accidents different from car accidents. It’s essential to understand the differences to protect yourself in an accident. In case of accidents, it is advised to seek medical attention promptly. This will prevent any health consequences.