Tractor Trailer Underride Accidents. Written by http://www.monheit.com/truck/20041204054007.html
What is a Tractor Trailer Underride Accident?
Tractor-Trailer underride accidents occur when a passenger vehicle, usually front of passenger vehicle, enters below base of trailer of a large truck (e.g., 18-wheeler). This is particularly possible with small family passenger cars (as opposed to a mini-van or SUV). Unfortunately, height of front of car is insufficient to contact bed of truck, often 10 to 20 inches below bed of truck. This puts bed of truck right at head-chest level of passengers within car. Injuries in these accidents tend to be catastrophic, if not fatal.
Why doesn't driver just slow down to prevent an underride accident?
A tractor-trailer truck is pretty big... so why doesn't car driver see tractor trailer in time to prevent a underride accident?
Unfortunately, perception and reality meet too late in these circumstances. Often driver is fooled into thinking that roadway is clear. Simply, passenger car driver does not have adequate warning of impending trailer underride danger.
What is being done to improve driver perception or trailer safety?
Since 1993, trucks must have a special type of reflective tape on rear and sides of trailer. Since 1996, trucks must also be equiped with a rear underride guard (strong metal structure) at a height of 22 inches above ground, so that it will easily come in contact with engine block of a small car, and thus prevent car from underriding bed of tractor truck trailer. However, it is sad news that many trucks have not been retrofitted. Thus, many tractor trailer trucks manufactured before 1996 are on road without these two critical safety features. In addition, even ones that have had these features installed may have insufficient protective qualities, such as an inadequate amount of reflective material or a rear underride guard that is too weak to prevent underride of passenger vehicle.
What are other factors that play into a rear underride accident
Weather. Especially fog, snow, or rain that reduces distance of visibility. Fog and snow are a huge problem, since they often mask grey or white color of many trucks.
Heavy Truck Accidents and Unneccessary Deaths and Serious Injuries Written by http://www.monheit.com/truck/20041205102621.html
by: Michael Monheit, Esquire of Monheit Law, P.C. Toll Free: 866-761-1385
How common are injuries from heavy truck accidents?
An accident involving a heavy truck, 18-wheeler, semi, big tractor-trailer truck, often results in death or serious injury. The statistics are shocking. Over 1 million people were involved in nearly 500,000 large truck related accidents in 1999. That resulted in over 5,000 deaths and over 140,000 injuries. Of those injuries from heavy truck accidents, 10's of thousands involved severe brain damage or loss of limb. Some trucks weigh over 100,000 lbs when fully loaded. Unloaded, they still weigh over 10,000 lbs. That is 5-10 times weight of a car.
This problem of heavy truck accidents has been around for years, and data is consistent over time. For example, according to Safety Board analysis of Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS), in 1993 there were 3,311 heavy trucks involved in 3,169 fatal accidents, in which 3,783 persons died. The FARS report shows that heavy truck accidents are often caused by truckdriver fatigue. In fact, as many as 30 to 40 percent of all heavy truck accidents are caused by fatiuge of driver.
What is cost to society of heavy truck accidents?
Injuries and fatalities are not only toll inflicted by heavy truck crashes. For example, financial toll that goes along with such crashes impacts commerce, costs of insurance, costs of health care, and costs of good. The NTSB reports that actual cost of all heavy truck accidetns in 1999 was $34 billion.
What is most likely cause of heavy truck accidents?
The NTSB said, "Because of significant number of heavy truck-related fatalities and significant role of fatigue in such accidents, Board initiated this study of single-vehicle heavy truck accidents to examine role of specific factors, such as drivers' patterns of duty and sleep, in fatigue-related heavy truck accidents and to determine potential remedial actions. The purpose of Board's study was to examine factors that affect driver fatigue and not statistical incidence of fatigue. Therefore, Board specifically selected truck accidents that were likely to include fatigue-related accidents; that is, single-vehicle accidents that tend to occur at night. The Board desired to obtain approximately an equal number of fatigue-related and nonfatigue-related accidents through its notification process." The most common causes of heavy trucks accidents are: