It is hard to imagine a more dangerous vehicle on the road than a speeding semi truck. Speed contributes to many accidents, but when truckers speed the results are often disastrous, and fatal.
How Many Truck Accidents Involve Excessive Speed?
Large trucks are defined as those with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds, and they account for only five percent of all registered vehicles in the United States and only eight percent of total miles traveled, according to the Department of Transportation. However, large truck accidents claim around 5,000 lives each year and cause about 120,000 injuries, a much higher percentage of the total than would be expected given the number of trucks on the road. In addition, only 15 percent of the fatalities are drivers or passengers in the large trucks; more than three out of four fatality victims are occupants of another car.
Speed plays a clear role in the number of fatal large truck accidents. According to data collected by the American Journal of Public Health, the fewest fatal crashes occur when both cars and trucks have a speed limit of 60 miles per hour. The highest number of crashes occurs when speed limits for cars are raised to 70 while trucks are held to 65 miles per hour or when both vehicles are allowed to travel up to 70 miles per hour. The numbers are adjusted to account for the higher number of highway miles with a 70-mile-per-hour speed limit.
Why Does Speed Kill?
Obviously there are far more deadly crashes when trucks are allowed to travel at higher rates of speed, but that may not be for the most obvious of reasons. Clearly a large vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed has more force than one traveling at a low rate of speed, but it is most likely the inability to stop the vehicle quickly that contributes to most large truck crashes.
A large truck’s momentum is much greater than that of a smaller car. When a truck driver must brake quickly, the vehicle will not stop at the same rate of speed as a small car. Because of this, many truck drivers lose control of their vehicles and are unable to avoid a collision. Once the collision occurs, the force of the large truck is often enough to result in death or serious injury to others in passenger vehicles.
What Can I Do If I Am A Victim Of A Truck Accident?
Anyone who has been injured in a trucking accident should protect his or her rights by speaking to an attorney who has experience in handling truck accident cases. A personal injury lawyer with a background in trucking accident cases may be able to help victims recover damages for their injuries from trucking companies and insurers.
At David & Philpot, P.L., we have been helping accident victims for over 20 years. We understand how the harm caused by negligent truck drivers or trucking companies affects our clients and their loved ones. We strive to reduce the stress and hardship of our clients so they can focus on their health and family in their time of hardship. Contact us today at 800.360.7015. We are here to help.