Large Truck Rear-end Crashes Pose a Serious Danger in Maine

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are approximately 400,000 truck crashes involving commercial motor vehicles each year. Of these, eighteen percent (18%) are rear-end crashes, including collisions where another vehicle collided with the truck and where the truck rear-ended another car or truck. The two types of accidents are very different.

A collision between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle leads to devastating injuries for the driver and passengers of the car because the truck can be more than forty times heavier than the sedan or light truck, leading to the car absorbing a far greater impact force during the crash. Eighteen percent of rear-end crashes where the large truck strikes another vehicle have three or more vehicles that were directly impacted in the accident. Many times, this is the result of the truck convoys that frequently travel down interstate highways. When a large truck is not involved in the crash, only five percent of the vehicle crashes involved three or more vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are 423 people in passenger vehicles who are killed each year as the result of a rear-end collision with a commercial truck. An additional 5,000 passenger car drivers or passengers are injured in a rear-end crash with a tractor-trailer. Many of these accidents are the result of negligent activities by the truck driver or the trucking company.

Different Causes of Rear-end Accidents

Rear-end accidents may result from a large truck being unable to stop in time to avoid hitting a vehicle that has slowed or stopped in front of it. These types of collisions also may occur when a passenger vehicle runs into a large truck because it does not have the proper illumination or the truck moves into the lane of the car without warning. There are a number of factors that increase the risk of a large truck rear-end accident, including:

  • Whether it is day or night – collisions involving a truck striking another vehicle are far more likely to take place during the day while accidents where another vehicle strikes the commercial truck from behind are more likely to occur at night;
  • Mechanical failure – truck brake failure leads to rear-end collisions;
  • Driving under the influence – alcohol has been shown to be a factor more often when an impaired driver strikes the rear of a commercial truck rather than when a tractor-trailer strikes another vehicle; and
  • Lights and other warning indicators on the truck – if there are lights out or insufficient lighting and warnings, it can increase the chance of another vehicle striking the truck. Many rear-end collisions where a car strikes the back of the large truck result in a light violation issued to the truck driver.
  • Aggressive or reckless driving – tractor-trailers are longer, heavier, and wider than other vehicles on the road. When the truck driver uses this size advantage to bully other drivers, the results can be tragic.
Under-ride Accidents Lead to Loss of Life

Accident victims may be seriously injured or killed when the passenger vehicle in which they are riding rear-ends a commercial truck and travels under the carriage of the truck. These “under-ride” crashes lead to many commercial truck accident fatalities. A vehicle that impacts a tractor-trailer can continue moving under the truck, leading to the top of the vehicle being severely crushed or sheared off completely. Although most commercial trucks are supposed to have guards that will protect an impacting vehicle, the fact is that many times these protective mechanisms fail to stop the intrusion of the car into the undercarriage of the truck.

There have been calls by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to require that all commercial trucks be fitted with under-ride guards and that these guards be improved to the point where they better protect the drivers and passengers of other vehicles. However, improvements in this category have been slow to yield safety improvements, despite some new regulations.

Peter Thompson & Associates Fights for the Rights of Truck Accident Victims

Accidents between a large tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle lead to the occupants of the car suffering from serious injuries while the truck driver often walks away with little or no harm. It is important to learn about the true cause of the accident in order to get the compensation that the victims of these accidents need in order to get the medical care that they need, often for many years following the accident. Severe injuries also lead to victims being unable to work, so any settlement or award will need to reflect these damages. The skilled and hardworking Maine truck accident attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates will work with you to develop the right legal strategy for you and your family. To schedule an initial consultation, please call us at 1 800.804.2004.

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