Study Reveals Truck Accidents Are a Problem in Pennsylvania
Ryan Zavodnick | January 23, 2020 | Truck Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents can be extremely destructive and even fatal for other drivers on the road. The large size of the trucks can make it difficult to drive safely in some situations like severe weather. Drivers in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania should be particularly wary. A new study revealed that the state is one of the worst for tractor-trailer accidents.
Study Shows Pennsylvania Worst for Underride Crashes
The recent study, conducted by a truck accident law firm in Arizona, revealed that Pennsylvania is one of the worst states for truck accidents. The study analyzed nationwide research from various sources to compile statistics for fatal crashes involving tractor-trailers, straight trucks, and any other vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
Pennsylvania has the not-so-honorable distinction of leading the nation in underride crashes. This type of crash is where a vehicle, usually a smaller car, slides under the side or the back of the truck. Pennsylvania’s number for this type of crash was over 118 incidents. The number two state, California, paled in comparison with 89 underride accidents.
Pennsylvania was not number one, but was still in the top five, for most fatal truck accidents during the years 2015 to 2017. This is also a not-so-honorable distinction. During that time, there were over 400 fatalities involving large tractor-trailers in the state. One major factor for these fatalities is that I-95 runs through most of the state. This interstate is heavily used by semi-trucks and is the third most fatal road involving tractor-trailers in the United States.
Overview of Philadelphia Truck Accidents
Tractor-trailers are also known as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and straight trucks. They are large in size. Dry trucks and refrigerator trailers can weigh, with cargo, up to a maximum of 45,000 pounds. The maximum length allowed is 48 to 52 feet. A flatbed truck can carry even more weight, with the maximum limit being 48,000 pounds. These weights are regulated and trucks must frequently stop at weigh stations across the country.
Over the past few decades, the number of truck accidents has increased by over 20%. While these types of accidents account for less than 5% of total accidents on the road, the results do tend to be more devastating for both the truck driver and other people on the road who are involved in the collision.
As mentioned above, truck accidents often result in catastrophic ways including serious injury or even death. The size, weight, and length of the truck are major factors in the accidents. For example, a small patch of black ice may make a smaller car spin a bit but it is easy for the driver to correct the vehicle safely. If a large and heavy tractor-trailer hits that same ice patch and begins to slide, it will be more difficult for the driver to maintain control and not cause an accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Accidents can be caused by any number of reasons. For those involving tractor-trailers, the crash is usually based on driver error, malfunction of the truck or cargo, or weather. The cause of the accident is important if you are injured and intend to seek legal action. It is unlikely that any injuries resulting from these accidents would be minor. They would more than likely be severe and life-changing.
For accidents involving driver error, either the tractor-trailer driver or other drivers involved in the crash could be wholly or partially responsible. Common types of accidents include underride crashes, rear-end or T-bone collisions, or head-on crashes. Additionally, the driver may be under extreme pressure to make a delivery on time and may speed or cut corners to get to their destination as quickly as possible.
If there is a malfunction of the truck or the cargo, the manufacturer of either the truck or the freight shipment could be to blame. There may also be a liability for the company that loaded the cargo onto the truck or the person or company that maintains the fleet of trucks for the trucking company. Types of these accidents could include brakes not working, cargo falling off the truck, or a truck roll-over because it was too heavily loaded.
Finally, weather can play a major role in tractor-trailer accidents. When there is fog, the driver may be unable to see other cars. If there is rain, sleet, or snow; the driver may skid or lose control of the vehicle. Since the trucks have so much weight and are so large, a small skid can quickly turn into a major multiple-vehicle accident or pile-up.