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Why Truck Accidents Are Much More Dangerous Than Car Accidents

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Posted on September 19, 2023

Tucks vs. Cars

Are trucks more dangerous than cars? Yes. NTSB reports show that occupants of trucks are more likely to be killed in accidents than those in cars due to the larger size. The increased mass of trucks can lead to more severe outcomes in collisions, as per safety statistics. The same factors make trucks more dangerous to those they share the road with.

Why Truck Accidents Are So Dangerous

At Vanguard our truck accident attorneys understand that truck accidents can be life-altering events. These collisions often result in severe injuries and, tragically, sometimes even fatalities. Truck accidents are distinctly more dangerous than those involving passenger cars. Most drivers intuitively understand that truck accidents are more dangerous than car accidents, but don’t know the specific factors that lead truck accidents to cause more catastrophic injuries. Understanding what makes different types of trucks dangerous can help drivers avoid accidents and stay safe on the road around trucks.

Weight and Size

The main reason truck accidents are more dangerous than car accidents is because trucks weigh more. Larger vehicles generate more force upon impact, so the difference in mass and size makes cars more likely to be crushed when they collide with a truck. As a result, truck accidents often result in more severe injuries and damage to those in other vehicles.

Stopping Distances

Truck drivers face significant challenges when it comes to stopping their vehicles. The weight and momentum of a truck make braking and avoiding collisions more difficult. This is particularly concerning on highways and in situations where sudden stops are required. The extended stopping distances of trucks contribute to the elevated risk of rear-end collisions.

Dropping Cargo and Spill Risks

Cargo-related issues are a significant factor in truck accidents. Improperly secured cargo can shift or spill during transit, becoming a dangerous projectile. Such cargo-related hazards have been known to cause accidents and severe injuries.

High Center of Gravity

Certain types of trucks, such as car carriers, have a higher center of gravity. This design feature, while necessary for their intended purposes, makes these trucks more susceptible to rollovers. Rollover accidents are particularly dangerous, often resulting in catastrophic injuries and fatalities.

Regulatory Compliance and Negligence

Trucking companies and drivers are subject to strict regulations to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. However, not all companies and drivers adhere to these rules, sometimes due to negligence or cost-cutting measures. When regulatory compliance is neglected, the risk of accidents increases. The danger doesn’t come from drivers or owners forgetting to fill out paperwork, the danger is from the unsafe conditions the regulations are meant to prevent. Overworked drivers, overloaded cargo, failed brakes, and other unsafe conditions put the public at risk of great injury which could be avoided if the regulations were followed.

Types of Trucks and Their Dangers

The term “truck” includes many different types of vehicles. According to Merriam-Webster, a truck is: “a wheeled vehicle for moving heavy articles”. However, when discussing the danger a truck poses it is important to better understand what types of trucks are on the road and the types of danger they bring to the road.

  1. 18-wheeler: A large truck consisting of a tractor unit and a trailer with 18 wheels, commonly used for long-haul transportation. 18-wheelers are more likely to cause serious injuries in a crash with a smaller car due to the significant difference in mass.
  2. Armored truck: A vehicle designed to transport valuable items, typically equipped with security features to protect against theft. Armored trucks can be heavy and pose a greater risk to occupants of smaller vehicles in a collision.
  3. Articulated truck: A truck with a pivoting joint that allows for greater maneuverability, commonly seen in urban settings. The articulated joint can lead to instability during sudden maneuvers, potentially causing accidents with other vehicles.
  4. Big rig: Informal term for a large, heavy-duty truck, often used in long-distance transportation. Big rigs have longer stopping distances, making it difficult to avoid collisions, especially in emergencies.
  5. Box truck: A truck with an enclosed cargo area, typically used for transporting goods that need protection from the weather. The solid construction of a box truck can result in a greater impact force during a crash, increasing the risk of injury to occupants of other vehicles involved.
  6. Bucket truck: Equipped with an extendable boom and bucket for aerial work, such as tree trimming or utility maintenance. Bucket trucks, when involved in a collision, can lead to serious injuries due to the height at which workers operate in the bucket.
  7. Car carrier: Designed to transport multiple automobiles, typically used by car dealerships and auto transport companies. Car carriers, when carrying multiple vehicles, have a higher center of gravity, making them more susceptible to rollovers in accidents.
  8. Cement truck: Used to transport and mix concrete for construction projects, featuring a rotating drum. The rotating drum of a cement truck can cause unpredictable weight shifts during a collision, potentially endangering those in other vehicles.
  9. Concrete mixer truck: Similar to a cement truck, designed for mixing and transporting concrete, often with a rotating drum. Similar to cement trucks, concrete mixer trucks can experience weight distribution issues in a crash, posing a risk to others on the road.
  10. Crane truck: Equipped with a crane for lifting heavy objects, commonly used in construction and material handling. In an accident, a crane truck’s large and heavy equipment can cause extensive damage and injuries to other vehicles and pedestrians.
  11. Delivery truck: Used for transporting goods from a distribution center to stores or customers. Delivery trucks often make frequent stops and starts, increasing the chances of rear-end collisions and injuries to other drivers.
  12. Dump truck: Designed to haul and unload materials like dirt, gravel, or construction debris by tilting its bed. The high-sided design of dump trucks can result in significant harm to smaller vehicles in side-impact or rollover accidents.
  13. Fire truck: Emergency vehicle equipped with firefighting equipment and tools for responding to fires and rescuing people. The size and weight of fire trucks, along with their emergency response speeds, can make collisions with other vehicles especially dangerous.
  14. Flatbed truck: Features an open cargo area without sides or a roof, suitable for transporting oversized or irregularly shaped loads. Cargo on flatbed trucks may not be adequately secured, posing a risk of cargo spilling onto the road in a crash and potentially causing harm to other motorists.
  15. Food truck: A mobile kitchen used for selling prepared food or beverages to the public. Food trucks can be top-heavy, making them more prone to tipping over in an accident and potentially causing injuries to pedestrians or other vehicles.
  16. Fuel truck: Designed for transporting and delivering various types of fuel, such as gasoline or diesel. In a collision, fuel trucks can pose a risk of fire and explosion, resulting in serious injuries to those involved.
  17. Garbage truck: Used for collecting and transporting municipal waste or garbage from homes and businesses. The frequent stops and starts of garbage trucks make them susceptible to rear-end collisions that can cause injuries to other drivers.
  18. Haulage truck: A term commonly used in the UK for a truck involved in transporting goods. Haulage trucks, due to their long distances and extended hours on the road, may have fatigued drivers, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.
  19. Ice cream truck: A mobile vendor vehicle that sells ice cream and other frozen treats to customers. Ice cream trucks often stop abruptly along streets to serve customers, posing a risk of rear-end collisions with following vehicles.
  20. Logging truck: Designed for transporting logs and timber from forests to sawmills or processing facilities. Logs carried by logging trucks can become projectiles in a crash, causing severe damage and injuries to others on the road.
  21. Lorry: A term commonly used in the UK for a large motor vehicle used for transporting goods, similar to a truck. Lorries, like large trucks, have a greater mass, increasing the potential for severe injuries in collisions with smaller vehicles.
  22. Mail truck: Used by postal services for delivering mail and packages to homes and businesses. Mail trucks, due to their frequent stops and starts, can be involved in accidents that pose risks to other motorists.
  23. Military truck: Vehicles designed for military purposes, including troop transport, cargo transport, and more. Military trucks can be heavily armored and may pose significant dangers to other vehicles in collisions.
  24. Monster truck: Highly modified trucks designed for entertainment events, known for their oversized wheels and stunts. Monster trucks, because of their size and weight, can cause substantial damage and injuries in accidents.
  25. Off-road truck: Designed for navigating rugged terrain, often used in agriculture, mining, and construction. Off-road trucks may lack the safety features of on-road vehicles, making them riskier in off-road accidents.
  26. Panel van: A closed cargo van used for transporting goods, often used by delivery companies. In an accident, cargo in panel vans can become projectiles, potentially injuring occupants or other road users.
  27. Pickup truck: A small to medium-sized truck with an open cargo bed, commonly used for personal and commercial purposes. Due to their size and weight, pickup trucks can cause substantial damage to smaller vehicles in crashes.
  28. Refrigerated truck: Equipped with temperature-controlled cargo space, used for transporting perishable goods. Refrigerated trucks can carry heavy loads and may require longer stopping distances, increasing collision risks.
  29. Roll-off truck: Used for transporting and handling roll-off containers, commonly used in waste management. Roll-off containers on these trucks can pose a risk if they detach or spill their contents in a crash.
  30. School bus: A large passenger truck designed for transporting students to and from school. School buses, while relatively safe for occupants, can be involved in accidents that pose risks to other road users.
  31. Semi-truck: A combination of a tractor unit and a trailer, commonly used for long-haul freight transportation. Semi-trucks are more likely to cause serious injuries in a crash with a smaller car due to the significant difference in mass.
  32. Stake truck: Features removable stakes or sides for securing cargo, often used for transporting construction materials. In a collision, cargo on stake trucks can shift or spill, posing a risk to other vehicles.
  33. Step van: A type of delivery truck with a step up to the cargo area, commonly used by delivery services and food vendors. Step vans may lack the safety features of larger vehicles, making them riskier in crashes.
  34. Tanker truck: Designed for transporting liquids or gases, such as fuel, chemicals, or milk, often in cylindrical tanks. Tanker trucks, in accidents, can pose risks of spills, leaks, and fires, endangering others on the road.
  35. Tow truck: Used for towing disabled or illegally parked vehicles. Tow trucks operating on the side of the road or the shoulder of a highway may be involved in accidents while picking up vehicles.
  36. Trailer truck: A truck designed to tow a trailer, often used for transporting goods and cargo. Trailer trucks can be involved in accidents, and the trailer can sway or detach, posing risks to other motorists.
  37. Tractor-trailer: Another term for a semi-truck, consisting of a tractor unit and a trailer for long-distance hauling. Tractor-trailers are more likely to cause serious injuries in a crash with a smaller car due to the significant difference in mass.
  38. Tow truck: A vehicle used to tow or recover other vehicles that are disabled or illegally parked. Tow trucks operating on the side of the road or the shoulder of a highway may be involved in accidents while picking up vehicles.
  39. Tilt-bed truck: Features a tilting cargo bed for easier loading and unloading of heavy or specialized equipment. In a collision, the tilting mechanism can malfunction, potentially causing hazards on the road.
  40. Utility truck: A versatile vehicle used for various purposes, including maintenance and repair work. Utility trucks often carry equipment and materials, which can become hazardous in accidents.

Seeking Justice After a Truck Accident

Truck accidents are inherently more dangerous due to the factors discussed above. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Tampa, it’s crucial to seek professional legal assistance. Our team of dedicated truck accident attorneys at Vanguard Attorneys is here to guide you through the legal process, hold responsible parties accountable, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact Vanguard Attorneys today for a free consultation with our experienced truck accident attorneys in Tampa. Don’t hesitate to seek justice and secure the compensation you need to move forward after a truck accident.