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What Makes a Truck Accident Different and Why are they so Dangerous?

The main difference between a trucking accident (one involving an 18-wheeler or another large commercial vehicle) and a passenger car accident is that the truck accident often involves fatalities.

In deadly two-vehicle accidents involving a truck and a passenger vehicle, it is the occupants of the passenger vehicle – about 98% – who tragically die, per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  Oftentimes, the trucker is not even injured given the size and weight of his or her truck.

In essence, truck accidents are different in the amount of damage and injuries that they can cause when compared with passenger vehicle accidents.  Specifically, a fully-loaded 18-wheeler can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds or more in some cases. A large tractor-trailer that is traveling at a speed of 70 miles per hour hits with a greater force than your average 2,000-pound passenger vehicle.

The design of a commercial truck also makes them more dangerous in an accident, per the IIHS.  Large trucks are taller and have a greater ground clearance than passenger vehicles. This means that cars can drive underneath an 18-wheeler’s trailer, an accident of which is an “underride.”  This type of accident often has fatal consequences. Trucks often have guards that are meant to prevent underride accidents, however, they can fail in relatively low-speed accidents, as noted by the IIHS.

The occupants of a passenger vehicle that is hit by a large truck often sustain serious, if not fatal, injuries.  Each year, nearly 4,000 individuals die in trucking accidents and over 85,000 sustain injuries, per the IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Another sixteen percent of trucking crash deaths were motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.  

Tractor-trailers represent about four percent of vehicles on the roadway but are involved in about ten percent of all fatal crashes. 

At Torgenson Law, our truck accident lawyers have years of experience representing trucking accident cases. If you or a loved one sustained injuries during a truck accident, call our Phoenix truck accident lawyers at Torgenson Law at (602) 759-0012 for your free case review.

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