A car driver doesn’t have to be behind the wheel long in West Virginia before they come across a coal truck, a logging truck or the standard 18-wheeler. In early October, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Joe Heck pulled over to help with the aftermath of a truck crossing the median and creating a multi-car crash that left one man dead. Minus the politicians helping, we see or hear stories like this all the time and they often have a sad ending.
Whereas a crash with another car will likely be two drivers in similar size vehicles, the fact is that trucks open a whole host of issues, not the least of which is that trucks are usually moving at highway speed, can be 20-30 times bigger than a car and need twice the length of road to stop.
While ideally these professional drivers handle their rigs with extreme skill and care, the repercussions of a mistake can be deadly. According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucks or buses were involved in 4161 fatal crashes in the U.S. in 2014. That’s among 11.77 million large trucks and buses that are registered to drive the thousands of miles each year. While it didn’t break it down by truck and car, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out that nearly 300 people in West Virginia died in vehicle accidents in 2014 with a 25 percent in urban environments and 75 percent in rural areas.
All these numbers back up what we already know – there are a lot of trucks on the road and drivers need to be careful around them. If a car driver does get into an accident with a truck or bus, there are some different things to consider in whether there is legal recourse.
- Truckers are on the clock either working for a company or themselves. There could be issues of the number of hours worked or miles driven, leaving the driver over-tired and/or reckless. Perhaps under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- As with other vehicles, trucks sometimes have defective parts. The stakes of a malfunction are much higher.
- Companies sometimes overload trucks past safety levels, or perhaps assign a truck to routes unsuitable for the size of the truck.
An attorney experienced in the field of personal injury and truck accidents can be a huge asset if you, a friend or a loved one is involved in a collision with a truck. These crashes at best leave people injured, but it’s all too common for the situation to be similar to the one that Sen. Rubio and Rep. Joe Heck came across where someone died. No amount of compensation can bring that person back, but it will help ensure that his family will have money to make up for the wages he will never earn.