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Statistically, truck accidents are more likely to cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities than passenger car crashes. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 4,119 victims lost their lives in large truck accidents in 2019. While this was far less than the almost 32,000 deaths that occurred in other types of accidents, the odds of serious and fatal injuries are higher with commercial trucks. This is because truck accidents are more dangerous than car accidents by nature. If you or a loved one suffer harm in a crash, it’s important to contact a New Haven truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
In a vehicle collision, gravitational forces are exerted upon the occupants of a motor vehicle, causing bodily injuries. The force of impact in a car crash is equal to its mass multiplied by its acceleration. Using this equation, it is easy to see why a larger and heavier vehicle would inflict greater harm than a smaller vehicle in a collision. A larger vehicle, such as a big rig or 18-wheeler, has a larger mass. Therefore, the force of impact will be greater than in a standard car accident.
Large trucks can reach up to 65 feet in length and 8.5 feet in width. Most carry trailers that are connected to the cabs using a hook-up, turning a semi into an 18-wheeler. A passenger vehicle is no match for the immense size of a commercial truck in a collision. The larger vehicle will most likely crush or obliterate the smaller car, causing severe or fatal injuries to those inside.
Proof of the size disparity between a large truck and a passenger car – and how it relates to life-threatening injuries in an accident – is found in death percentages. The IIHS reports that 82 percent of deaths involved in large truck accidents in 2019 were occupants of passenger vehicles, as well as motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Ninety-seven (97) percent of vehicle occupants killed in collisions between large trucks and passenger cars were occupants of the latter.
The heavy weight of a commercial truck is also a contributing factor to the severity of these collisions. Large trucks can easily weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles, with weight limits of 80,000 pounds (or heavier with special permits). By contrast, the average weight of a passenger car is around 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. This difference means that a large truck will carry most of the power in a traffic accident – and provide better protection to truck occupants.
A truck accident may also involve the complication of hazardous cargo being transported in the bed or trailer of the truck. This cargo may spill out into the road in an accident – putting those involved in the crash and even the surrounding community at risk of significant harm. If a commercial truck was carrying flammable liquids or gases, for example, a collision could result in a fire or major explosion. The possibility of hazardous cargo increases the risk of serious injuries and deaths in truck accidents.
Commercial trucks have less stopping power than smaller and lighter passenger cars. They use air brakes and take an average of 20 to 40 percent more distance than passenger vehicles to stop. Unfortunately, this can mean high-speed collisions and greater damage inflicted on victims. If a large truck fails to come to a stop in time to avoid hitting a parked vehicle, for example, it can cause a catastrophic rear-end collision or an override accident, where the commercial truck rides up and over the back of the smaller car.
Truck accidents are extremely dangerous for many different reasons. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in New Haven, contact an attorney from Jacobs & Jacobs to help you with a claim. We recognize that most truck accidents are caused by negligence on the part of the trucking company or truck driver and can help you pursue justice and financial compensation for your collision.