A substantial number of tragic car accidents involve large commercial vehicles. According to nj.com, a homeless New Jersey man using a motorized wheelchair was recently struck and killed by a tractor trailer, showing how dangerous these accidents can be, even at relatively low speeds.
Tractor trailer was trying to turn
A local police officer said the truck was apparently attempting to make a right turn and struck the victim with its tires. The victim had recently been evicted from his apartment and had no place to go.
Individuals who knew the victim say he was sitting in his usual spot when he was hit by the vehicle. His usual spot was by a curb, away from the sidewalk, which enabled the tractor trailer to hit him as it rounded the corner. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
The tractor trailer was attempting to turn onto a ramp that leads toward the local train station. The driver of the tractor trailer remained at the scene and was interviewed by the police. Currently no charges have been filed.
Greater weight means a greater chance of a serious accident
Tragedies like this highlight the dangers posed by large commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers or weighty cargo vans. Large commercial vehicles are involved in a greater share of fatal accidents each year than other vehicles on the road.
According to saferoads.org, a group that advocates for highway and auto safety, large commercial vehicles have a fatal crash rate of 2.4 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. This is over 50 percent higher than the ratio of all other vehicles.
Additionally, over 98 percent of the fatalities in two-vehicle accidents involving cars and large commercial vehicles are occupants of the car. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the yearly death statistics from crashes involving large commercial vehicles is the same as having 26 major airplane crashes each year.
The significant weight difference between cars and large commercial vehicles helps explain these startling statistics. The chance of death or serious injury increases along with the weight of the commercial vehicle.
Larger vehicles also need more stopping time, and the amount traveled after stepping on the brakes increases significantly with only a minor weight adjustment. For instance, after a driver steps on the brakes, a vehicle carrying 100,000 pounds travels 25 percent further than a vehicle carrying only 80,000 pounds.
Commercial vehicle sizes have also grown in recent years. In the 1960s, the maximum allowable trailer length was 40 feet, while today some states allow trailers to be as long as 57 or 59 feet. Fortunately, many states use federal guidelines which place limits on the amount of weight commercial vehicles can hold.
Commercial vehicle crashes often result in severe injuries, substantial medical bills and lost wages. An individual who is injured by a large commercial vehicle carrying heavy weight should contact an experienced truck accident attorney. The attorney can investigate all of the evidence and help fight for all available compensation.