The dangers associated with large trucks, including semis, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles are immense. These trucks sometimes weigh up to 80,000 pounds and account for a great number of traffic injury and death each year. Could you image increasing the size and weight of these trucks? Neither could we. Our law firm recently read a report by Saferoads.org regarding the need to freeze the maximum size and weight of trucks in order to increase the safety of all individuals traveling on Illinois interstates and highways.
Freezing the size and weight of large trucks is necessary because in simple terms, bigger trucks compromise safety. The heavier a truck is, the more the chances of a truck accident occurring and resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that large trucks are involved in 11% of all crash fatalities. In 2009, nearly one-quarter of occupant fatalities in passenger vehicles that had multi-vehicle collisions were the result of accidents involving large trucks. In two-vehicle crashes involving passenger vehicles and large trucks, 98% of the fatalities were occupants of the passenger vehicle.
In addition to injuries and fatalities, the issue of cost is at hand. Truck related accidents cost up to $19 billion each year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). Fatal truck accidents create the highest costs, with an average of $3 million spent per accident. These costs include medical bills, lost wages, road damage, and other projected costs. Specifically, road damage has become a serious issue in that one legal 80,000-pound tractor-trailer truck does as much damage to road pavement as 9,600 cars! By damaging roads, large trucks further degrade highway safety and continue to add to the costs caused by trucks. With even heavier trucks, interstate highways would simply be unable to accommodate them.
Despite the list of numerous concerns, trailer lengths have continued to grow over the past few decades, some states allowing vehicles of up to 59 feet on their roadways. The number of trucks on U.S. highways has also consistently grown, even after increases in both the sizes and weights of semis. According to the release above, by an 88% majority, the American public is opposed to allowing bigger and heavier trucks on highways. Our law firm agrees that this growth needs to be stopped in order to prevent accidents, reduce costs, and keep all motorists as safe as possible behind the wheel.
Our Chicago truck accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand that truck accidents can result in life altering consequences. If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in a truck accident due to a negligent driver, please contact us to learn about what rights and compensation may be available to you.