It is an unfortunate familiar winter story in Pennsylvania: Multi-vehicle accidents, closed highways and tractor trailers. Tractor trailers are not an inherent danger in and of themselves. But, because of their size and weight, big rigs require considerably more time and distance to stop. If a semi-truck is unable to stop due to road or weather conditions -- or fails to stop due to driver fatigue, distraction or equipment failure -- its size makes the truck fair deadlier than other vehicles on the road.
Commercial trucks can cause serious injuries when they are involved in accidents. Their sheer size and weight may result in catastrophic damage to smaller vehicles, which in turn compromises the smaller vehicle's ability to protect its occupants. The damage can be even more extensive when a negligent driver is involved.
Road trips can be fun adventures for Pottsville residents who enjoy the open road and time behind the wheels of their vehicles. When they take off they may be fueled by the energy and excitement of a new journey. However, when they get tired their excitement may wane and they may decide to pull over for the night to catch some sleep and prepare for the next leg of their excursions.
In recent weeks, this blog has discussed truck accidents and the dangers they present to Pennsylvania residents. Truck accidents can result in far more catastrophic injuries and damages to victims than a car accident involving passenger vehicles. A fully loaded semi truck can weight 25 times what the average passenger vehicle weighs, posing dangers for drivers and others sharing the roadway with a semi truck.
Truck accidents can cause extensive harm to victims and their families. A truck driver was recently cited after a fatal truck accident in Pennsylvania. A 61-year old woman died when her vehicle was rear-ended by the tractor trailer as she was slowing for construction. The 36-year old truck driver was driving his semi truck at high speed when struck the woman's vehicle from behind. According to authorities, the truck driver was cited for speeding.
Truck accidents can have a broad impact on the victims and their families. In a Pennsylvania community south of the Pottsville area, a recent truck accident left a bicyclist dead. The 53-year old driver of the dump truck that struck the victims was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and other charges. The bicyclist was not breathing when authorities arrived at the scene of the accident. The victim appeared to have a broken neck and broken ribs, as well as other injuries. The victim was found on one side of a guardrail while the victim's personal items and parts of his bicycle were found on the opposite side of the guardrail.
Truck accidents can have an enormous impact on the lives of victims. Victims may be left suffering with unexpected injuries, medical expenses, an inability to work and emotional trauma oftentimes associated with a truck accident. Because trucks can weight 25 times the average passenger vehicle, the consequences of a truck accident can be catastrophic. During 2006, truck accidents resulted in nearly 5,000 fatalities and 106,000 injuries.
The laws of physics tell us that the larger the vehicle, the harder it is for it to accelerate, slow down or change direction. This may be taken for granted for motorists who hop in their car and share the roads with trucks, which are far bigger and heavier than traditional cars.
While car accidents are not uncommon, thankfully most are relatively minor fender benders and do not cause major damage or injuries to anyone involved. Truck accidents, however, are another story.
Spring has arrived in Pennsylvania, and many in the Keystone State are eagerly awaiting the warmer weather. Still, winter may not be done with us yet, as there is still the possibility of snow and ice in the forecast. Most automobile drivers know that the presence of snow and ice means that it is necessary to slow down and drive carefully. This advice is even more applicable to the drivers of large commercial vehicles. A fatal commercial vehicle accident in Pennsylvania last week serves as a reminder to everyone of how true this is.