Written by attorney Justin Drew McMinn

The Danger of 18 Wheelers

There are more than 500,000 18-wheeler accidents every year in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), it is estimated that 5,000 people die annually from these accidents, while 131,000 suffer from debilitating injuries. More than 14 percent of deaths, and five percent of accident-related injuries, result from tractor trailer crashes each year. These accidents are increasing each year due to the pressure for speed and efficiency put on the drivers by trucking companies. To overcome these pressures, drivers have been known to take drugs or consume alcohol to get where they need to go as fast as possible. Drivers are required to stop and rest after a certain number of hours, however, many don’t and some end up falling asleep at the wheel. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) conducted research based on 18-wheeler accidents and reported that the most frequent causes of big rig accidents are:

· Aggressive driving

· Cell phone use

· Driver fatigue (20 percent of drivers admitted falling asleep at the wheel)

· Driving over the speed limit (accounts for 20 percent of accidents)

· Equipment failure (brake failure, tire failure, etc.)

· Neglect to inspect the truck

· Failure to safely secure cargo

· Hazardous driving practices

· Intoxication

· Jackknifing (when the truck exceeds a 45 degree angle from the cab)

· Extra long driving shifts

· Neglect to accommodate blind spots

· Road debris

· Tailgating

· Tight schedule

The legal weight of an 18-wheeler is 80,000 pounds, which makes for a messy accident when one collides with the average 5,000-pound automobile. The time required for one of these big rigs to come to a complete stop, when traveling at 55 mph, is 40 percent greater than that of a car. This being known, it is easy to see how an accident involving an 18-wheeler could be catastrophic. Injuries from these accidents such as brain damage, head and back trauma, amputations, burns, and broken bones frequently occur, leaving the victim with large medical expenses, the loss of a vehicle, and even a loss of income from not being able to work.

Sadly, many trucking companies train their drivers on what to say after an accident to ensure they aren’t held liable. Directly after an accident it is best to contact a lawyer to help build a case against the person at fault. The lawyer can secure police reports, the truck driver’s records, and witness reports to help you win your case and obtain sufficient healthcare, rehabilitation, or compensation for lost income.

If you have been injured in a trucking accident, or have a family member who has been injured or killed, don’t hesitate to contact a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible. The consequences of a truck accident includes severe burns, amputations, brain and head injuries, and spinal cord injuries – all of which are expensive to treat and require a lengthy recover period. An Austin car accident attorney at the McMinn Law Firm offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case and can come visit you at your home or in the hospital. At the McMinn Law Firm, they have experience with all kinds of truck accidents, including semi crashes and 18-wheeler accidents; and tire blowout accidents with all types of vehicles including delivery vans, gravel trucks, and panel trucks. With a knowledgeable Austin 18-wheeler injury attorney, you can rest assured that your case will be handled in a professional and effective manner.

Justin McMinn Austin car accident attorney ( The experienced attorneys at the McMinn Law Firm LLP, located in Austin, Texas, provide intelligent, resourceful and aggressive legal counsel on criminal defense and personal injury cases.

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