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Fatal trucking accidents often involve passenger vehicles

Many lives in are lost on South Carolina roads every year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says commercial trucks are involved in one in every 10 fatalities on the country's highways. Most people who lost their lives in trucking accidents were drivers or other occupants in passenger vehicles.

Authorities noted that the ground clearance of commercial trucks is high enough to allow most cars that lose control in a crash to slide underneath their trailers. Such circumstances often result in crushing injuries suffered by the occupants of cars. Also, one big rig can weight 20 to 30 times more than an average sized car, and the chances of surviving such a collision are low for those in cars.

One of the reasons often cited for trucking accidents is driver fatigue. Federal regulations allow truck operators to drive for 11 hours, but then they must rest for a prescribed time. Many drivers are pushed to exceed those hours, either  to earn more money or on the instruction of an employer who has delivery deadlines for his or her own enrichment. Fortunately, as of the beginning of this year, electric logging devices are mandatory in commercial trucks, and that may reduce such crashes.

Heavy vehicles typically need more space to come to halt than passenger vehicles. When operators are tired or distracted, or the brake systems of their vehicles lack maintenance, trucking accidents can follow. Many personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits following such crashes go through the South Carolina civil courts every year. Injured victims or the surviving families of deceased victims can seek recovery of damages from a negligent truck driver. In addition, the owner of the truck, the employer, the person responsible for maintenance of the vehicle and others may also be named as defendants in such a lawsuit.

Source: iihs.org, "Large trucks", Accessed on Jan. 6, 2017

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