You buckle your seatbelt and follow the posted speed limit. When changing lanes or turning, you are always sure to use your blinker. Phones are out of reach and there are limited to no distractions when you are behind the wheel. In short, you are a safe driver.
Sadly, even the world's safest driver is still at risk for serious injury. Large, commercial trucks are ever-present on Kentucky roadways, and many truck drivers engage in dangerous behavior behind the wheel.
Why are 18-wheelers so dangerous?
These vehicles are built for hauling and transporting goods across long distances, and thus are extremely heavy. An average tractor trailer can weigh over 10,000 pounds, but the federal maximum for highway travel goes all the way up to 80,000 pounds.
Some large trucks haul multiple trailers -- usually two, although some pull three -- which can increase the combined weight to more than the 80,000-pound federal limit. While this keeps these vehicles off certain roads, they still travel on the majority of state highways. Smaller motor vehicles are miniscule when compared to the sheer size and weight of these massive trucks, which often results in passenger cars taking the brunt of the damage in wrecks.
Truck accidents are deadly, but not always for their drivers.
Nearly 4,000 people died from large truck accidents in 2015. These reported fatalities were nowhere near even between truck drivers and occupants of smaller vehicles. From that same data, truck accident deaths were reported as such:
- 16 percent -- truck drivers/occupants
- 69 percent -- passenger vehicle drivers/occupants
- 15 percent -- motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians
Truck drivers usually fare better in these types of accidents, even when they are at fault. Many truck drivers spend long hours behind the wheel and are chronically fatigued, which can contribute to dangerous behavior on the road. Even spending eight hours behind the wheel -- which is still less than the current 11-hour limit -- doubles a truck driver's chance of causing an accident.
If you've been hurt in a truck accident, you deserve help.
Trucking companies are formidable powers that are familiar with the insurance and legal systems in Kentucky. Many try to force truck accident victims into unfair settlements, leaving them short of the compensation they need and deserve to fully recover.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries as a result of the actions of a negligent truck driver, you likely understand just how overwhelming it can be when trying to recover compensation while still physically and emotionally recovering. Vigorous representation from an experienced lawyer can give you the strong foundation necessary to take on trucking companies and their negligent drivers by means of a personal injury civil lawsuit.