William W. Hurst
Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC
50 S. Meridian St., Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Semi-truck, tractor- trailer and commercial vehicle accidents in the United States continue to rise. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that over 100,000 people sustain serious personal injuries, and over 5,000 people die in these crashes annually. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) compiles statistics and reports for truck-driving accidents in the United States and attempts to identify and correct hazards that face truck drivers. Even insignificant driving errors can result in consequences where a small vehicle is in a collision with an eighteen wheeler (18-wheeler) which can result in catastrophic injuries. Many drivers fail to understand that trucks have limited field of vision on their right side and that large trucks traveling at high speeds cause a draft which can pull a vehicle into the danger zone or cause an automobile to over correct and run into the truck or off the road. www.todaystrucking.com
In Indiana, investigation of truck accident statistics involving 18-wheelers, semi-tractor trucks or large trucks have been compiled by the Center of Criminal Justice Research based upon National Highway Traffic Safety Administrative studies as well as the Indiana State Police Automated Report Information Exchange System. In prior years, one in every six fatal traffic collisions involved large trucks. This was based on traffic collision trends between 2004 and 2008. The summer months show the highest number of total large truck collisions and the highest number of fatal collisions involving them. Over 50% of the collisions occurred on interstates with the least likely roads for them to occur on Indiana County Roads. 32% of the fatal collisions reviewed occurred on State Roads and 30% on Interstates. Between 2004 and 2008 there was a gradual increase in involving fatal collisions occurred. The Indiana Officers Standard Crash Report requires investigating officers to indicate the primary contributing factor for the collision. In fatal collisions involving large trucks that were reviewed by the Center, 27% of the large truck drivers contributed to the occurrence compared with 64% for other vehicular types. Large trucks were 2.5 times more likely than drivers of other vehicles to be attributed to the occurrence of the collision in instances where distracted driving was listed as the primary factor. In total collisions between 2004 and 2008, involving large trucks where speeding was a factor, the large truck involved was reportedly speeding about half of the time. It is sad, but in most large truck, semi-tractor trailer, 18-wheeler accidents involving an automobile, it is the car and it’s passengers that come out the loser. There have been numerous examples of this in recent times in Indiana.
On March 1, 2011 a semi-truck that was driven by a 41year-Indiana operator was issued a citation for failure to control his vehicle after he rear-ended a pickup truck on I-77 South. The driver of the pickup truck was transported to St. Joseph hospital and all of the passengers in the pickup truck from Waverly, Indiana were taken to Candem Park Memorial Hospital after the accident. In this case, the injuries were not life threatening, however in a Jackson County, Indiana accident on February 25, 2011, a Michigan man was killed on I-65 in Jackson County. The police described this as a horrific crash. On that date, three people called to report a speeding driver, weaving along the road just south of Seymour. This car collided around the 37-mile marker in Jackson County with a semi-truck. The driver of the car was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the seen. The driver of the semi-truck, who was not at fault, had no injury whatsoever. In a recent Indianapolis collision between an automobile and a semi-tractor trailer, an Indianapolis Public School thirteen-year old girl was killed. The child died at the seen of the accident. This accident happened on the Southwest side of Indianapolis.
Clearly truck drivers are professional and generous and some of the best drivers on the road, but the areas behind and beside large trucks are hazardous areas where drivers should proceed with great caution. It’s clear when semi trailers are involved in accidents with smaller vehicles, the forces generated by the collision are so tremendous that serious injuries and death often occur.
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