Even though Norfolk County does not have any major interstates passing through it, there are still a large number of trucks traveling on route 115, carrying all kinds of goods and merchandise to vendors. When a truck driver or a trucking company acts with negligence, a serious truck accident can occur.
Trucking accident facts
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 3,373 people died as the result of accidents involving tractor-trailers in 2011. The number showed a 7 percent increase over the fatality rate from 2009. When collisions happen between large trucks and passenger vehicles, the occupants of the passenger vehicles often suffer the worst injuries. In 2011, only 18 percent of fatalities in truck accidents were the occupants of the trucks, themselves.
Over the last several years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has addressed issues such as driver fatigue, distraction and load distribution in an effort to reduce the risk of an 18-wheeler truck accident taking place. For example, the FMCSA has undertaken steps to reduce distraction among truck and bus drivers by banning the use of hand-held cell phones and texting while driving, according to distraction.gov.
Driver safety tips
While a portion of the responsibility for trucking accidents lies with truckers and their companies, drivers of passenger vehicles can also play an important role in keeping themselves safe. One of the things that drivers can do is increase their knowledge of tractor-trailers with the following safety tips:
- When a truck is making a right turn, don’t try to go around it – due to their enormous size, semis have to make a wide turn and often will pull into the left lane. It is better to give the truck the room it needs rather than take a chance and get caught in a squeeze.
- Don’t cut off a semi – It takes about two football fields for a tractor-trailer to stop if it is travelling at 55 miles per hour. If a car cuts in front of a semi and has to slam on its brakes there is nowhere for the truck to go but into the rear of the car.
- Don’t hang out in a truck’s blind spots – A semi pulling a trailer has large blind spots, or no zones. These no zones are located behind the trailer, in front of the semi’s cab, to the right of the cab and to the left of the cab. When cars hang out in these places, a trucker won’t see them and could inadvertently collide with them.
- Don’t tailgate, especially uphill – semis have to change gears when they are ascending a hill and have been known to drift backwards.
- Try to stay away from the road’s lanes when dealing with a car break-down – this will decrease the risk of being hit by a drifting semi.
When drivers show respect to semis they can help keep themselves and others safe. However, sometimes when drivers do all they can, truck accidents can still happen, leaving them facing a number of challenges. In these instances, it is important for them to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss their legal options.
Remember that attorneys in Massachusetts can not mention in court that a defendant, regardless of whether it’s an individual or a company, has insurance that will cover nearly every judgment.