If you’ve ever seen a tractor trailer crash scene, you know that the consequences can be horrifying. These massive vehicles are unwieldy, and their drivers have limited visibility and can be fatigued after many hours on the road. But sometimes the fault also lies with bad highway design, which can make roads more dangerous for large trucks or even encourage bad driving behaviors, such as wrong-way driving or making illegal U-turns.
In December 2018, a man was killed after a tractor trailer made a U-turn on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Commenters on a pair of articles about the crash remarked that the next exit was far away and guessed that the truck driver probably missed his or her exit. According to those readers, U-turns after that exit are fairly common.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 8 percent of truck accidents are caused by a truck turning across or into the path of another vehicle. And while U-turns are dangerous for cars and small trucks, too, they are even riskier maneuvers for large trucks for a few reasons.
For one, drivers of 18-wheelers have limited visibility normally — a U-turn requires being able to see what’s happening on all sides of the truck, not just straight ahead. In addition, poorly lit trucks limit how well drivers of other vehicles can see them, especially at night or during inclement weather. That lack of lighting is also related to another factor that makes U-turns especially dangerous for tractor-trailers — large trucks block several lanes of traffic when making wide turns, so vehicles heading toward them not only can’t see them but also have nowhere to go to avoid a collision.
Fortunately, out of the hundreds of thousands of truck or bus crashes that occur every year in the United States, more than a half-million are nonfatal, with a relatively small percentage (approximately 4,000) resulting in fatalities. But that means that thousands of these accidents result in severe and even catastrophic injuries.
If you have been injured as a result of a truck accident in Massachusetts, you have three years from the date of injury to file a personal injury claim. A good attorney who is knowledgeable in truck accident cases can help you obtain the compensation you deserve from your insurance company.
The lawyers at Swartz & Lynch, LLP have a track record of recovering maximum damages for truck accident victims and helping surviving family members obtain justice in wrongful death cases. Call us at 857-250-0664 or contact us online to arrange your free initial consultation.