The massive weight and size of tractor-trailers poses a unique risk to other drivers with whom they share the road. The weight disparity between a commercial big-rig and a passenger vehicle often exceeds 75,000 pounds. This difference usually means catastrophic injuries for drivers of passenger vehicles when involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer. The problem is clear when one considers that in 96 percent of fatal collisions between a commercial truck and another vehicle the person killed is the occupant of the other vehicle. The length and weight of tractor-trailers also impact the truck driverâ€™s ability to see other vehicles as well as a truck driverâ€™s ability to stop quickly or engage in split second emergency maneuvers. Despite the potential risks posed by the enormous weight and length of tractor-trailers, the trucking industry is currently lobbying Congress to increase both the maximum weight and the length of commercial trucks. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we have been representing those who suffer catastrophic injuries and wrongful death in tractor-trailer accidents throughout Tennessee for over 20 years. Because the dangers posed by tractor-trailers are largely linked to their current size and length increases in either of these is a bad idea.
The trucking industry has a powerful lobby and exerts a lot of influence in Washington with an estimated 500,000 trucking companies generating revenue in excess of $250 billion per year. An increase in the length and weight of commercial trucks would allow trucking companies to save money and increase their profit margin. These size and weight modifications would mean more loads could be transported with fewer trips resulting in reduced expenditures on drivers, fuel and other expenses. Trucking industry advocates are citing the high cost of fuel prices and the impact of the recession as key justifications for these proposed changes.
The trucking industry is subject to both federal and state regulations, which govern the permissible weight and length of a commercial truck. Under current federal regulations a tractor-trailer is permitted to weigh up to 80,000 pounds including the weight of its load. The proposed legislation would increase this maximum weight by twenty percent and permit fully loaded trucks to weigh up to 96,000 pounds. As tractor-trailer weight increases the likelihood of its being involved in a fatal accident increases exponentially. One study found that an increase from 50,000 to 80,000 pounds resulted in double the risk of the commercial truck being involved in a fatal trucking collision. Heavier trucks also mean more braking distance because a 120,000-pound truck, for example, would travel fifty percent longer before stopping than a truck weighing 80,000 pounds. While trucking industry advocates contend this increase in risk is offset by fewer trips and fewer miles driven, past increases in the length and weight of tractor-trailers have not resulted in fewer trips or fewer miles traveled.
The proposed change in tractor-trailer length is also likely to increase the risk to other drivers with whom commercial trucks share the roadways. Trucking industry advocates are lobbying Congress to allow for more â€śdoublesâ€ť and â€śtriplesâ€ť, which are multiple trailers hitched together. These multiple trailers would then be permitted to be up to 120 feet long on Western highways. The vast majority of interstates currently permit tractor-trailers no longer than 53 feet. This massive increase in length would increase the number and size of blind spots around commercial trucks, referred to as â€śno zonesâ€ť. The lack of visibility in tractor-trailers already plays a role in a fair number of commercial trucking accidents. Though trucks are equipped with special mirrors designed for these blind spots, a fatigued or careless truck driver may fail to check all of these mirrors with catastrophic results.
Despite the fact that tractor-trailers make up only four percent of all registered vehicles, they account for 21 percent of all multiple vehicle crash accident fatalities. Longer and heavier trucks will simply make an already dangerous situation much worse. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we believe proposed changes to trucking industry regulations should focus on making trucks safer not bigger, heavier and more dangerous. If you or a family member has suffered serious injuries or wrongful death in a tractor-trailer accident, the experienced Tennessee trucking accident attorneys at NST Law are prepared to represent you and assist you in obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.
If you are involved in a tractor-trailer accident anywhere in Tennessee, the attorneys at NST Law can ensure that you receive the full compensation to which you are legally entitled. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has offices in Memphis, Jackson and Knoxville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas with the experience and resources necessary to fully investigate and help successfully resolve your Tennessee trucking accident case. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence. Call us today for your free no obligation initial consultation with a Tennessee truck accident attorney at 1-800-LAW-4004 (1-800-529-4004) or visit us on the web at www.nstlaw.com. No matter where you are in Tennessee, NST Law is just a phone call away.