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18-wheeler crashes cause 10 percent of highway fatalities

In any accident between a car and a large truck, the occupants of the car have very little chance of escaping injury. It is quite understandable when one considers that a truck may weigh between 20 and 30 times more than a sedan. There are many different factors which may play a role in 18-wheeler crashes and contribute to serious injuries or fatalities on Tennessee roads.      

One of the most obvious factors contributing to the severity of truck accidents is the fact that trucks are so much higher off the grounds than cars. This means that a car can very easily slide underneath a truck in an accident, often with fatal consequences. By installing underride guards, these types of accidents can be eliminated.  Unfortunately, many underride guards are not strong enough to withstand the impact during an accident, even if the accidents happen at relatively low speeds.

Another factor relates to the number of hours truck drivers spend behind the wheel.  Fatigue is well-known as a risk in any driving situation, but more so when the individual who is overtired is behind the wheel of a truck. Federal regulations allow drivers to drive for up to 11 hours in one stretch. However, evidence shows that these regulations are often violated.

The capability of a truck to stop quickly in an emergency is a lot less than that of a car. Trucks take a lot longer to stop, especially in conditions where the roads are wet and slippery.  The same is true when the truck's brakes are not well maintained.  Sharp breaking can also lead to a truck rolling in the absence of any electronic stability control equipment.

These factors can be minimized by following regulations and ensuring that trucks are well maintained and made safe.  However, this does not always happen. Victims seriously injured in 18-wheeler crashes in Tennessee have the option to file a personal injury claim, while the surviving relatives of a deceased victim may choose to file a wrongful death claim. Successfully litigated claims, which must be based upon evidence of negligence by another party, may lead to the award of financial damages to assist a family during an understandingly difficult time.

Source: iihs.org, "Large truck", Accessed on June 17, 2015

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