Big Trucks on Pennsylvania Highways Often Result in Fatal Accidents

Jul 21, 2020

Large trucks are involved in five percent of Pennsylvania vehicle crashes. In 2017, 2,860 people were injured in a heavy truck accident. That figure represents at least 6,000 wrecks on Pennsylvania highways and byways.

Large trucks are also often referred to as a big rigs, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers or heavy trucks. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot) classifies trucks by vehicle type: light trucks and heavy trucks. For example, tow trucks and pickup trucks are classified in the light truck category. The heavy truck category includes large delivery trucks, tractor-trailers and other vehicles such as cement and garbage trucks.

While PennDot classified trucks by light and heavy, the trucking industry refers to large trucks as those over 10,000 pounds fully loaded and heavy trucks as those over 26,000 pounds fully loaded. On average, a tractor-trailer (big rig, semi) unit weighs about 35,000 when not hauling cargo. Most of the big rigs carry up to about 45,000 pounds of cargo, making a fully loaded semi about 80,000 pounds.

Because of their weight trucks are unable to stop as quickly as passenger vehicles. Moreover, truck accidents are deadly. Often it is not the trucker who is injured in a wreck, but rather the occupants of the other vehicle(s) involved. In fact, over 97 percent of the victims who die in a big rig crash are occupants of a smaller vehicle.

Most commonly fatal truck accidents are caused by:

  • A tired driver who has been on the road too long without a proper break
  • Speeding
  • Not properly secured load
  • Equipment failure
  • Other drivers on the road

Truck Accidents That Result in Fatalities

Nearly any type of collision with a big rig has the potential to result in a fatality. There are a few types of truck accident in Pennsylvania that present a greater risk of lethal injuries:

  • Jackknife accidents
  • Underride crashes
  • Rear-end collisions

If someone you loved was killed in a truck accident caused by another party, you deserve compensation. At Melaragno, Pladici & Parini, we help accident survivors and their families recover compensation. We find the evidence and preserve it from being destroyed to prove your case, including the onboard black box, driver logs, cell phone records and truck maintenance records. We do not stop until we obtain justice for you and your family. Talk to us today. Sharing your story can help you heal.

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