Were You Hurt in a Head-On Trucking Accident?
A head on truck accident is likely to cause serious or fatal injuries. This is due to the enormous impact which happens when the front of a semi or other big truck heading one way crashes head on with a car or other vehicle going the other way.
Head on truck accidents usually happen when one of the vehicles leaves its proper lane, moves across the center lane and toward oncoming traffic approaching in the opposite direction. Most happen on undivided highways. In some head on truck accidents the truck is the vehicle which moves across the center line and is at fault. In other cases the car is the one which moves across the center line into the path of the 18 wheeler or other big truck. While some head on truck accidents happen on curves, most occur on straight roads are not related to passing.
Because the front ends of the vehicles receive the main impact of the collision, the drivers and front passengers in a head-on accident are often severely injured or killed. This is especially true for occupants of passenger cars that collide head-on with a semi or other big truck. The sheer size and weight of the truck – for example, a tractor-trailer or an 18-wheeler – could easily crush or throw aside a regular passenger vehicle with its occupants. An experienced head on truck accident lawyer has probably seen how tragic these crashes can be.
A front collision between a semi or other large truck and a passenger vehicle can also cause an override accident. This is when a massive truck ‘rides over’ the much-smaller car, crushing the car’s occupants. In this kind of wreck, permanent injuries and tragic fatalities are common.
Causes Of Truck Head-On Crashes
Why and how do trucks collide head-on with cars? Typically, this results when one of the vehicles inadvertently crosses into the opposite lane, and very often, it can be traced back to a certain party’s negligence. In more than 20 years as a truck accident lawyer at Flick Law Firm, we’ve shown the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies in truck wreck cases. These are among the most common negligent actions of truckers that lead to head-on wrecks:
- Speed. Speeding or driving to fast for conditions is one of the most common causes of head on truck accidents where the truck is at fault. It is important for large vehicles to maintain their mandated speed, as their massive weight means they have more momentum and will take a longer time to stop. Drivers must also slow down when road conditions are less than ideal, such as during bad weather. Otherwise, a high speed could cause a large truck to drift outside its lane.
- Distracted driving. Distraction and other driver inattention are another major cause of head on truck crashes. Truck drivers face many distractions while on the road, such as their cellphones, a GPS, device, and other vehicle equipment. A split-second of inattention could result in the semi or other big truck to cross the center line into oncoming traffic.
- Driver fatigue. This is often a cause of driver inattention and distraction. It is also one of the top causes of truck accidents in general. With long hours on the road and a schedule to keep, many truck drivers end up tired or drowsy at the wheel, losing their ability to control their vehicle properly. To reduce the frequency of driver fatigue caused crashes Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations limit the number of hours a trucker is allowed to be on duty and drive. Unfortunately trucking companies and drivers are known violate these rules and work and drive longer than permitted. An experienced head on truck attorney will likely investigate potential violations of these rules of their work on your case.
- Road Conditions. Rain slick roads and slippery conditions like those caused by ice and snow are a known cause of head on truck accidents. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations truck drivers are required to use extreme caution which snow and ice affect traction or visibility. If the road conditions are dangerous enough the truck is required to pull off the road and wait until it is safe to drive again.
- Impaired driving. A truck driver who is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs is likely to have poor decision-making ability and reaction time, making them unfit to control a vehicle.
- Untrained driver. Operating a truck is much more complex than driving a car. For one, trucks are more difficult to maneuver, especially when navigating curves and corners. An insufficiently trained truck driver might fail this maneuver and cause a collision.
- Poor vehicle maintenance. Head on truck accident can be caused by brakes or other parts like tires and steering gear that are defective, improperly maintained and don’t work up to specifications. Unfortunately, some trucking companies cut corners on maintaining their trucks endangering the safety of the traveling public and their drivers.
Some steps trucking companies can take to reduce the likelihood of being involved in a head on truck accident are:
- Routing trucks on divided highways.
- Complying with limits on driving hours and taking steps to make sure it’s drivers are properly rested and not distracted
- Making sure it’s driver comply with speed limits and drive at speeds which are safe for conditions.
- Taking steps to avoiding driving in hazardous conditions.
- Properly maintaining it’s trucks so important parts like brakes, tires, and steering components are safe and operating properly.
- Making sure that drivers are properly trained.
Injuries And Fatalities From Truck Front Crashes
Hundreds of thousands of truck accidents occur in the US every year and, in thousands of those crashes, people are killed. According to federal statistics, in 2017 more than four thousand people died in truck collisions, and most of them were occupants of passenger vehicles.
Survivors of these truck accidents are often left with serious, and sometimes permanent, injuries. These include traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spine injuries, internal organ damage, fractures, paralysis, and amputation.
Just in the past few months, Kansas and Missouri have had their share of head-on truck accident fatalities and injuries. In December of 2018, a woman died after a truck drove through the median and onto her side of the road in Strafford, MO. The following March, a head-on collision between a utility truck and a car triggered a multi-vehicle wreck that killed a man in Hillsboro, MO. And just this April, a cattle truck and a car collided head-on in Potwin, KS, resulting in the death of the car driver.
Call Flick Law Firm For Your Truck Accident Case
A traffic collision involving a large truck is often complicated and distressing. But if you or someone in your family has been seriously hurt in such an accident, you may have every right to pursue the compensation you deserve. In Missouri or Kansas, call the Flick Law Firm. The Flick Law Firm is a trusted and experienced law firm based in the Kansas City area focused on handling truck accident injury cases throughout Kansas and Missouri. Talk to us today about your accident.
Lawrence Flick is the editorial supervisor of this page and last edited this page on September 27, 2020.