In 2012, 333,000 large commercial trucks were involved in accidents, killing 3,921 people and seriously injuring 104,000. Approximately 6% of these trucking accidents were rear-end accidents, in which the front of the large commercial truck hits the smaller passenger vehicle in the rear. Most people who have never driven a large commercial truck are unaware of just how long it takes a big truck to come to a stop. A passenger vehicle weighing approximately 4,000 pounds, traveling 65 mph takes approximately the length of a football field to come to a complete stop. A fully loaded semi-truck weighing around 80,000 miles, traveling at 65 mph will take nearly the length of two football fields to stop. You can see how impossible it is for a truck driver to bring a large truck to a quick stop.
Causes of Rear-end Trucking Accidents
There are a number of scenarios in which this type of rear-end trucking accident might occur, such as:
- A car is traveling in front of a large truck on the freeway. Traffic is merging on the right and the car is unable to move over. The car hits the brakes in order to avoid hitting the merging car, and the truck driver hits it from the rear.
- A car traveling too closely in front of a truck (or a trucker who is tailgating a car) is forced to slow down to avoid something in front of him or her, causing the truck to hit it from the rear.
- The truck driver is overly fatigued. He or she nods off for a few seconds, crashing in to the car in front of him or her.
- The truck driver is distracted, whether from eating, talking on the phone, texting, changing radio stations or other distractions, and doesn’t realize he is right on the passenger vehicle’s bumper until it is too late.
- A passenger vehicle changes lanes suddenly, right in front of the truck, causing the truck to rear-end it.
- The truck’s brakes could fail, causing the truck to be unable to stop, crashing in to the passenger vehicle. Brake problems are a factor in 27% of truck accidents, but only in 2% of passenger car vehicles.
- The truck driver could be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The truck driver is unfamiliar with the route and tries to change lanes suddenly to make an exit, hitting the car in front of him or her. A contributing factor in 19% of all truck-car accidents is unfamiliarity with the roadway on the part of the truck driver.
Any collision between a large commercial truck and a passenger vehicle is likely to be extremely serious, even fatal for those in the smaller vehicle. A 3,500-pound car is simply no match for an 80,000-pound fully loaded truck. When hit from behind by a large commercial truck, the smaller passenger could be crushed, run over, or pushed into other vehicles or into heavy traffic. When this type of accident occurs, the resulting injuries can be particularly grave, especially since most gas tanks are located closer to the rear of the vehicle than the front.
Injuries Sustained in Rear-end Trucking Accidents
A rear-end trucking accident will likely cause serious injuries to the passengers in the other vehicles. Injuries sustained in a rear-end trucking accident can include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Facial and head lacerations
- Severe fractures
- Internal organ damage
Contact Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a trucking accident in the Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, or throughout the State of Maryland, the trucking accident attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates are here to help. Our trucking accident lawyers understand that rear-end trucking accidents are complex and catastrophic. As such, we work tirelessly for all our clients from the very start. We can build a case that is designed to prove liability and maximize compensation after a devastating trucking accident. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The trucking accident attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and other locations throughout Maryland and Virginia.