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Understanding the Risks of Large Truck Accidents in Washington

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on November 27, 2012

Large trucks make up only a fraction of the vehicles on Washington’s roads at any given moment, but 97 percent of fatal large truck crashes take the life of a passenger vehicle occupant, motorcyclist, or pedestrian – not the truck driver. About 10 percent of all deaths on the road each year involve a large truck accident, even though only four percent of registered vehicles on U.S. roads at any given time are large trucks.

Several qualities of large trucks make them more likely to cause serious injuries or death in a crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). At a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds, a fully-loaded tractor trailer may weigh 20 to 30 times as much as a passenger car. They are also taller and have greater ground clearance, which makes them more prone to rollovers and exposes smaller cars to the risk of an “underride” accident, in which the smaller vehicle slips underneath the larger one.

The greater size and weight of large trucks also means they need more room to stop. A loaded tractor trailer needs as much as 40 times as much space to stop as a passenger car. Trucks that are empty, trying to stop on wet pavement, and/or have poorly maintained brakes need a greater stopping distance.

Truck crashes can cause serious injuries and even death. After a truck accident, please don’t hesitate to call the experienced Washington tractor trailer crash attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. to learn more about your legal rights and options. Our number is (888) 228-3860, and your initial consultation is free and confidential.

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