Big rigs, or tractor-trailers, are massive towing machines. They are a “necessary evil” on the road, transporting all sorts of materials through South Carolina and across the country every day. However, they can also be extremely dangerous to others on the road for a number of different reasons:
- Problem number one. Big rigs are, well, big. The tractor part of a tractor-trailer can be over 11 feet high. The tractor contains a massive engine, necessary to pull heavy loads up inclines. In trucks that contain a cabin with sleeping accommodations, the rig may be more than 25 feet long without a trailer attached. With a fully loaded trailer, big rigs can be over 70 feet long and weigh upwards of 80,000lbs. Their sheer size and weight make it almost impossible for most commercial trucks to be stopped or maneuvered quickly – and if one hits you, you can be virtually guaranteed a serious (and potentially life-threatening) accident.
- Problem number two. There is a distinct lack of federal regulation concerning vehicle maintenance, and loading and unloading procedures. Trucking regulations vary from state to state, as does enforcement. Thus, the lack of standard regulation could allow for poorly maintained trucks from another state cause potentially tremendous damage in an accident here in South Carolina.
- Problem number three. Many trucking companies exploit this lack of regulation to maximize their profit. They require seemingly impossible tasks of their drivers, and often promise delivery times that do not allow for proper rest. This leaves drivers exhausted, with poor reaction times and poor decision making skills that can easily result in an accident.
- Problem number four. Some trucks move hazardous waste, while others tow toxic chemicals. Even non-toxic cargo can be dangerous; heavy machinery and building materials moving at highway speeds in an accident can be lethal.
These problems dance around the main issue. Namely, a collision with a big rig at almost any speed can be devastating. A fully loaded big rig traveling 2mph has the same momentum as an SUV traveling 40mph. When these two collide, that energy has to go somewhere, and the reduction of speed means that the occupants experience a massive amount of force in an accident.
Safety and awareness are key, but they’re not always enough to prevent a collision. When accidents happen, it’s important to have knowledge and experience on your side. If you or someone you know has been involved in a commercial truck collision, please contact McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC for a free consultation with a skilled South Carolina truck accident attorney.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood