Statistics show that approximately 5,000 people die every year in semi truck accidents in the United States. Out of those 5,000 fatalities, 700 people are drivers or passengers in heavy trucks, and 4,300 people are drivers or passengers in cars and small pickups that are hit by big rigs. Due to the high number of semi truck collisions on U.S. highways, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has advised the public about potential accident dangers.
Semi trucks can be deadly on the highway because of their size and weight. When traveling at speeds of 65 to 70 mph, a semi truck requires a much longer time to come to a stop than a smaller vehicle, especially when it’s fully loaded. Even in the best of circumstances with driver awareness and good road conditions, cars traveling in front of semi trucks are at a much higher risk for serious accidents and injuries.
In Hammond, Indiana, a 22-year-old woman was killed in an accident with a semi truck when she had to stop suddenly behind a concrete truck. The semi truck behind her could not stop and collided with the car, pushing it into the concrete truck. The car burst into flames, and the woman was killed. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed, and the victim’s estate was awarded a $2.8 million settlement.
In a similar Virginia accident, a semi truck driver tried to stop as he approached an unexpected traffic slowdown, but could not stop in time. The tractor-trailer rear-ended a car, pushing it into a nearby guardrail, then hit an SUV, pushing it forward into a pickup truck. After hitting three vehicles, the semi truck jackknifed, trapping the first car between the tractor and the trailer. The driver of the first car, a 38-year-old woman, was pronounced dead at a local medical center.
According to Henry Queener, a Nashville semi truck accident attorney, “speed, overloaded trucks, and truck driver fatigue all contribute to semi truck accidents on U.S. highways. If a sudden stop occurs in front of a fast moving, fully-loaded semi truck, a rear end collision is a likely possibility.”