While large commercial trucks share the same roadways as passenger car drivers in Pennsylvania, they operate under a different set of rules. Truck-specific safety regulations such as reduced speed limits and driving hour limitations were put in place to mitigate accident risks. Due to their large size, trucks pose a great danger to other cars when they are involved in a collision.
What makes trucks so dangerous?
It’s not only their sheer size and weight that makes trucks more dangerous than passenger cars: It’s also the way that trucks operate. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds and measuring up to 80 feet long, a semi-truck has a very long stopping distance. A fully loaded semi-truck that is traveling 65 mph will require 525 feet, almost two football fields, to come to a complete stop.
No matter how skilled the truck driver is, trucks cannot just brake suddenly if there is a danger in the roadway. Trucks also require a larger area to make turns, and they have a more complex set of gears. When you add into the equation the fact that truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to make their deliveries on time, the result can be a dangerous combination.
Who is liable?
Truck accidents differ greatly from passenger car accidents when it comes to liability. A truck driver is usually an employee who is working for a company. The trucking company will have responsibility for the safety of the truck and the safety of the truck driver.
If a truck driver was not following federal trucking regulations concerning working hours and breaks, the trucking company could be responsible for allowing this behavior. In some cases, a trucker’s employer will even put pressure on the driver to make deliveries that are impossible to complete on a safe driving schedule.
Truck accident claims can be complex
The trucker and the trucker’s employer are not the only people liable for a truck accident. The owner of the truck’s cargo and the manufacturer of the truck could also have liability. Understanding how truck accidents differ from other motor vehicle accidents may help an accident victim to build a personal injury claim with an attorney’s guidance.