NY Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer Discusses How Trucks Are More Dangerous Because of the Heavy Loads They Carry
Trucks are the reason why stores have goods on their shelves. In fact, if the nation’s truck transportation system were to shut down tomorrow, many our towns and cities would run out of food within a week. Although essential to the economy, trucks also take a toll on the lives of motorists with whom they share the road explains New York tractor trailer accident lawyer at the F&A injury law firm. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, this toll comes to nearly 4,000 fatalities each year from accidents.
Some may argue that accidents among motorists cause more deaths. However, truck drivers are professionals held to a higher standard. When they fall short of this, the resulting accidents with motorists are far more deadly because of the truck’s enormous size and weight. According to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research:
“Being hit by a vehicle that is 1,000 pounds heavier results in a 47% increase in the baseline fatality probability.”
A fully loaded semi truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. This gives them a weight advantage of 76,800 pounds over the average car. Just the trailers alone can weigh from 30,000 to 70,000 pounds. Clearly, truck accidents are more dangerous because of the heavy loads they carry.
To further bring home the point, consider that in terms of destructive energy, the average car would have to drive at 300 mph to attain the same destructive energy potential of a truck driving at 60 mph (and weighing 25 times more than the car).
The Effect of Weight on the Semi Truck’s Braking
Although a fully loaded semi truck can weigh 20 times more than a 4,000 pound car, its stopping distance isn’t increased by the same factor. Larger brakes and more wheels with brakes on the tractor and trailer combined, keeps the rig’s stopping distance within twice that of a car. At 65 mph for example, the stopping distance of a fully loaded semi truck (80,000 lbs) is about 1.66 that of a 4, 000 pound car. Under ideal conditions the truck requires 525 feet, which is nearly the length of two football fields. This distance is the sum of three parts:
- Reaction time distance. This is the distance traveled during the time required for the driver to get his foot to the brake pedal after recognizing the need to stop.
- Brake lag distance. This is the distance traveled during the time required for the brake pedal to mechanically engage the brake pads/shoes in all of the wheels (3/4 of a second).
- The braking distance. This is the distance traveled while the brake pads/shoes are engaged in slowing the rig.
Other Effects of the Semi Truck’s Weight
The semi truck’s enormous weight and high center of gravity severely limits its maneuverability. The high center of gravity makes it prone to tipping over when making sudden swerves to avoid an obstacle or a car. A hard swerve accompanied by hard braking can initiate jackknifing or tipping over.
If an accident with a truck injured you or a loved one, get the legal advice of an experienced tractor-trailer accident lawyer. For an assessment of your case, contact us at Frekhtman & Associates.