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Typical 18-Wheeler Accident Causes and Injuries
18-wheeler accidents are often disastrous, particularly when passenger vehicles and motorcycles are involved. Of all the accidents involving semis and single automobiles in which fatalities result, the driver or passengers of the automobile are the ones to die 98 percent of the time. This should be no surprise considering a fully loaded semi outweighs a typical passenger vehicle 40 to 1.
As it is with automobile accidents, driver error, distraction, fatigue, intoxication, speeding or driving too fast for conditions causes most 18-wheeler accidents. However, truck drivers are more likely to suffer from fatigue than regular motorists due to the long hours spent on the road. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that 31 percent of semi accidents are due to fatigue. Many truck drivers fight the effects of fatigue with stimulants, both legal and illegal, but stimulant use is often not enough. Two thirds of truck drivers who die in semi accidents test positive for one or more drugs in their system.
Other 18-wheeler risk factors
A fully loaded semi can weigh 80,000 pounds or more. Even though the braking systems of these trucks are designed to handle this weight, the stopping distance for a fully loaded trailer is roughly 3 times longer than that of an automobile, and even more for a semi without a trailer. The high profile of a semi also makes it especially vulnerable in windy conditions.
Another important factor to consider is the cargo being hauled. Often times it is the truck’s cargo that puts others in danger. For example, in some accidents involving semis, a motorist may not suffer any serious injury from the impact of the accident itself, though they may suffer injuries due to exposure to hazardous materials leaking from a semi’s cargo tank. There are hundreds of different hazardous materials being transported on highways and interstates today that can cause severe injury or death upon exposure.
If you live in the Mobile, Alabama area and have suffered personal injuries or property damage due to an accident involving an 18-wheeler, we can help. Please contact Long & Waite, Attorneys at Law today to arrange a consultation.