Passenger vehicle drivers on the road must be alert to the hazards of truck accidents. Rollovers are quite common when big rigs crash and create a significant risk for both truck drivers and those traveling in passenger vehicles. Attorneys who handle semi truck accidents see many cases where drivers or passengers in smaller vehicles are seriously injured or even killed in this type of accident. Trucking safety organizations warn that all drivers must help avoid truck rollover accidents.
Heavy Truck Rollovers
According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are over 300,000 traffic accidents every year involving heavy trucks, resulting in over 100,000 injuries and nearly 4,000 fatalities.1 The most recent data regarding trucking accidents available from these organizations shows that as many as 13,000 accidents involve truck rollovers,2 resulting in nearly 300 fatalities.3 What these statistics fail to include is that rollover accidents can injure or kill both truck drivers and occupants of impacted passenger vehicles.
How Truck Rollover Accidents Occur
The center of gravity of semi trucks is higher because semi trucks are taller than most other vehicles on the roads. Sudden weight shifts can put these vehicles at a greater risk of loss of balance. Taking curves and ramps too quickly, driving on a soft shoulder, abrupt swerves, and even heavy winds can cause weight to shift in a semi truck. Anything that causes a significant big rig weight shift can cause the truck to roll over. Not much can stop a big rig rollover once it starts to happen. Semi truck accident attorneys say that both big rig drivers and the occupants of other vehicles in close proximity to these trucks may be killed when by an 18-wheeler rollover.
Accident Prevention - The Texas Barrier Crash Test
There is much research being done to find the best ways to prevent these deadly truck rollover accidents. Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in conjunction with Texas A&M University, has developed a highway barrier that was tested as Texas A&M's Riverside Campus on August 23, 2015.4 The results appear to show the barrier provides more stable support to prevent truck rollovers, even at highway speeds. It is tall enough to prevent trucks from rolling over or breaking through weaker barriers. After two years of development and apparently successful trials, developers hope to get it adopted quickly both in the state of Texas and across the nation. Preventing dangerous situations that cause rollovers and keeping trucks on the roads can lead to more lives being saved.
Big rig wrecks are an unfortunate part of highway travel. There is hope that these accidents will soon decrease thanks to the use of good driving habits, better awareness of rollover prevention, and better safety features such as the new TxDOT truck barrier. Semi truck accident attorneys stress that all drivers should know how to keep themselves safe and avoid situations involving rollover truck accidents!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys At Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1 - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts 2012 Data, Large Trucks
2 - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Report to Congress on the Large Truck Causation Study, 2006
3 - Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute: News, 2013
4 - KEYE-TV Austin Texas, Texas Barrier Crash Test, August 23, 2015