Not yielding the right-of-way at intersections, turns and in other situations are recurring truck accident causes. An experienced lawyer has probably seen a number of these cases
Basic characteristics of tractor-trailers and other big trucks increase the risk of being involved in these collisions. Because 18 wheelers, tankers and other large truck accelerate more slowly than cars, especially from a stop, or when a fully loaded safely crossing intersections can be harder for them. They also need longer stopping distances which can make dealing with traffic light changes more difficult. Big trucks, particularly semis, may need a lot more space to turn than a smaller vehicle. They can also “off-track”, where the rear wheels do not follow the same path is front wheels. The bottom line is all of this can make it harder to safely handle a truck at intersections and in turns.
Professional truck drivers are expected to be able to handle these trucks safely including while negotiating intersections and making turns. Drivers of 18 wheelers generally are required to have a special license- a commercial driver’s license (CDL). As part of qualifying for a CDL, drivers are required to know how to handle the truck safely including in turns and prevent problems from off-tracking. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations drivers of trucks not requiring a CDL, like smaller delivery trucks are required to be able to drive the truck safely in traffic and turns.
Types of Crashes
Not yielding the right-of-way can cause several different types of trucking accident. Left turn crashes are one example. These can happen when a truck (or any vehicle) is turning left at an intersection and does not yield the right-of-way to vehicles approaching from the opposite direction and obstructs their path causing a collision. Like any other vehicle, trucks can also violate other drivers’ rights-of-way by running red lights and stop signs, causing collisions.
A left turn squeeze is another type of truck crash which can happen if the truck is turning left from the traffic lane closest to the curb and obstructs the flow of traffic in lanes beside it resulting in a crash.
Another type of failure to yield crash can happen when a truck makes an improper right turn. In making a right turn truck drivers are taught to stay as close to the right curb as possible and not move into the left lane. They are to begin the right turn once they are within the intersection and make a “button hook” turn. This helps prevent other vehicles from coming up on the right side of the truck and being involved in a crash when the truck turns in front of them. If they don’t turn in this way vehicles may enter the lane to their right potentially causing a crash when the truck turns right in front of them. This is called a right turn squeeze.
Missouri Highway Patrol data for 2012 indicates that 11% of commercial motor vehicle crashes involved failure to yield the right-of-way but represented 21% of fatal Missouri crashes involving commercial motor vehicles. These crashes are often more serious, resulting in a higher fatality risk because they can involve broadside/T-bone collisions or other angle impacts.
As the Missouri Highway Patrol data cited above indicates, truck crashes involving right-of-way violations are responsible for a disproportionate number of fatal truck wrecks. If you consider a car crashing into an 80,000 pound semi and going from a street speed of 25 mph, 35 mph or more to zero instantly or that tractor-trailer hitting you broadside it’s easy to see the potential for broken bones, spinal cord damage, brain injuries, back injuries, nerve damage, paralysis and fatalities that these crashes present.
If you or someone you love is seriously injured, disabled, or killed in a truck accident caused by the failure to yield, call (816) 221-0501 to speak with an experienced attorney from Flick Law Firm. As a victim of the truck accident, you may be entitled to recover damages for sustained injuries, disability, property damage, medical bills, missed work, reduced earning capacity, or the death of a loved one. Flick Law Firm has 30 years of legal experience and focuses it’s practice almost exclusively on vehicle accident cases.