It may be hard to believe that there are an estimated two million tractor-trailers traveling across all 50 states of this nation. These massive vehicles weigh more than 80,000 pounds when they are packed with their cargo. The huge size and weight are one of the reasons why there is often such devastating damage in truck accidents. These crashes often result in severe injury or death for those involved in these accidents.
The number of truck accident fatalities is staggering. According to one study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 140,000 truck accidents during a three-year period. About 120,000 of those crashes resulted in deaths.
The federal government requires tractor-trailers to adhere to safety rules and safety equipment on the vehicles. One of these requirements are truck bumpers, which are also referred to as rear impact guards. However, truck bumpers may actually cause more injuries or deaths if they are not installed or maintained properly.
Because tractor-trailers sit higher off the ground than other vehicles, it is critical that the truck’s bumper fits in such a way that if a passenger vehicle slams into the rear of the truck, the bumper will stop the vehicle from sliding under the truck, which almost always results in the vehicle occupants’ deaths. If the bumper is too high or incorrectly installed, it will not stop the car from going under the truck.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the bumpers must not be higher than 22 inches off the ground and must be positioned so that the bumper extends horizontally within four inches of each side of the tractor-trailer. The bumper should be a minimum of 3.94 inches tall and placed within one foot from the rear of the truck.
Unfortunately, it is fairly common that these guards become damaged. This creates a perilous situation should the truck be involved in a rear-end crash with another vehicle. This is why it is critical for trucking companies and truck drivers conduct frequent inspections of the vehicle and make any necessary repairs right away. Failure to repair a bumper that does not comply with federal standards can result in the death of someone who is tragically involved in that rear-end crash.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, your family could be facing extensive medical bills, loss of income from being unable to work, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, and more. State law allows victims of accidents to pursue damages against those parties responsible for the accident that caused the injuries.
To find out what type of financial compensation you may be entitled to, contact a law firm to schedule a free consultation with a skilled trucking accident lawyer in Memphis, TN to find out how they can help.
Thanks to Patterson Bray for their insight into personal injury claims and truck safety.