As drivers, we are required to share the road with many types of vehicles that are different from the passenger vehicles that the majority of us operate. Few, if any, grab our attention like eighteen wheelers and other large commercial vehicles that drive alongside us every day.
None present as many potential dangers to drivers either.
There are two types of commercial vehicles, Class A and Class B, which are classified by weight. Any vehicles weighing over 26,001 pounds requires either a Class B or a Class A license to drive it. If it has an attached trailer that weighs over 10,000 pounds, then the driver needs a Class A license. Class B vehicles include dump trucks, garbage trucks, passenger buses, and other such vehicles.
There are a number of reasons why driving alongside eighteen wheelers, in particular, can be so perilous:
- According to the Truckers Report, the total weight that one of these vehicles can haul is 80,000 lbs. There are certain overweight and oversize permits that allow the gross weight to be even higher.
- They are, on average, over 13 feet high, 70-80 feet long, and around 20 feet wide.
- It takes semis almost 40% longer than a passenger vehicle to come to a complete stop.
- When bobtailing, or driving without an attached trailer, handling can be significantly different and more difficult for a driver, especially on slick roads.
For a quick comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs around 5,000 pounds. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, passenger vehicles are also in danger of underriding trucks in collisions due to the higher ground clearance of semis.
Here at the J. Gonzalez Law Firm we are well acquainted with the volume of car wrecks that involve CMVs. In December of 2016 alone, the Accident Data Center reported there were 81 reports of fatality crashes involving commercial motor vehicle (semis) in the U.S.
The Texas Department of Transportation, in their 2015 report, documented over 700 crashes involving commercial vehicles in Hidalgo and Cameron counties combined. There were also 16 instances of personal injury resulting in incapacitation and the total number of potential injuries was over 400.
Beyond being lawyers in the Rio Grande Valley, we are also citizens of Texas, and it is our job to know that this is not just a local problem. The total number of car wrecks involving commercial vehicles in 2015 was over 34,000 statewide.
The number of car wrecks was larger in urban areas than rural areas. Bexar and Harris counties reported the largest number of car wrecks.
These counties have San Antonio and Houston, respectively, as their county seats. These are cities that residents of the Rio Grande Valley visit regularly for travel or to see family. It is important to be aware of commercial vehicles when traveling out of town, especially on roads you may not be familiar with and in areas with higher instances of car wrecks involving these larger vehicles.
Being informed and vigilant is the best offense we have against misfortune on the road. However, there is always the possibility that circumstances arise that are beyond our control. Don’t let a car wreck become a tragedy.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident contact the offices of J. Gonzalez Law Firm today at (956) 630-6700.
Our team of personal injury lawyers will make sure you are able to take of any medical bills and car expenses. We will get you back on your feet and on the road. Let us put our energy and experience to work, so we can succeed for you.