In this post, our Missouri truck accident lawyers answer five questions we frequently hear from the victims of semi-truck crashes.
Missouri semi-truck accidents: Five frequently asked questions
1. What is a commercial truck?
A commercial truck is a large vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds that is used in the transportation of goods or related business. These trucks typically consist of a single-unit truck or tractor and one or more trailers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets a commercial vehicle maximum weight of 80,000 pounds. This means that commercial trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as the average passenger vehicle, and they typically require 20 to 40% farther to come to a complete stop.
2. Are semi-truck accidents more dangerous than collisions involving other kinds of vehicles?
Yes, especially for the occupants of passenger cars and trucks. In collisions involving semis and smaller vehicles, occupants of the small vehicles are considerably more vulnerable to serious, life threatening injury. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,413 people were killed in U.S. crashes involving commercial trucks. Of those fatalities, only 14% were the occupants of the commercial trucks. By comparison, 72% of those killed were occupants of passenger vehicles, and 13% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.
3. What factors commonly contribute to collisions between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles?
There are several factors that often play a role in semi-truck accidents, including the following: driver error; fatigue; distraction; speeding; truck limits (such as braking distance and visibility); equipment failure; and improperly loaded trailers.