Geographically, Connecticut is a small state, but one that’s densely populated with both urban areas and stretches of open road, including Interstate 95. Our location means that trucks of all sizes are traveling our roads, some nearing the end of long journeys that take them across multiple states.
Q: How many accidents involving “big rigs” happen in Connecticut each year?
A: Of course, numbers go up and down, but Department of Transportation statistics from 2012 found an uptick in the number of accidents involving trucks, both nationwide and in our state. More than 77,000 large trucks were involved in accidents causing injuries, a substantial increase over 2011, which saw far fewer large truck injury accidents (63,000).
Q: What exactly is a “big rig”?
A: In general, this term applies to commercial trucks that weigh 80,000 pounds or more. In comparison, the average car weighs around 3,000 lbs. Examples include tankers transporting oil/fuel, some exceptionally large delivery vehicles and tractor-trailers (also called 18-wheelers), and trucks with two parts that include a truck/cab with an engine attached to a larger tractor section used for transporting materials. A commercial drivers license usually is required to drive these “rigs.” The David vs. Goliath weight disparity is what makes crashes involving large trucks and other vehicles particularly hazardous.
Q: What are some examples of trucking accidents, especially ones that differ from accidents involving just cars or small trucks?
A: Though many accidents are similar in nature, such as head-on collisions, others differ because of the configuration of big rigs. Almost all vehicles can rear-end other vehicles, but when cars and other smaller vehicles rear end a semi, they frequently end up underneath the larger vehicle or stuck under the truck’s rear trailer. Another example includes “jackknifing.” This happens (often in heavy traffic or dangerous weather conditions) when a semi brakes too fast and causes the trailer attached to his cab to swing out wide. The force causes the cab to turn toward the trailer, creating a jackknife-shaped configuration. “T-Boning,” refers to side-impact collisions that take place when truckers try to change lanes.
Q: Is fatigue a factor in truck accidents?
A: The short answer is that “yes” fatigue and physical exhaustion often are critical factors in accidents involving big trucks, especially those making long trips. Often truckers do not realize it when they are beginning to experience the symptoms of fatigue until it is too late. Legally, truckers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours at a stretch, with shifts limited to 14 hours (this time can include fueling and maintenance). However, often trucking companies offer incentives for meeting tight delivery deadlines, prompting truckers to drive more miles with less sleep than they should. While very few truckers involved in accidents have significant blood alcohol readings (lower than those of car drivers involved in fatal accidents—an admirable statistic for the trucking industry), symptoms of driver fatigue can resemble those experienced by drunk drivers, including inattention and slower response times.
If you or a loved one needs an experienced truck accident lawyer to fight for your rights, call attorney Jim Miron for a free, no obligation consultation at (203) 339-5991 or use the convenient “contact us” feature on this website. During your free consultation, Jim can answer all your questions about truck accidents and other types of personal injury claims.