Which Types of Commercial Trucks Are the Most Dangerous?
Most of the time, when people think of commercial vehicles, they think of tractor-trailers. However, a commercial vehicle is technically defined as any type of vehicle that is driven on the highway and used to transport goods or people in exchange for payment. There are actually a number of different types of commercial vehicles, each of which presents its own unique hazards when operated on the roads alongside regular passenger vehicles. What follows are some of the most common commercial vehicle types and the hazards they pose on Texas highways.
Also called semi-trucks or 18 wheelers, these are among the most common commercial vehicles on the road. Tractor-trailers are articulated vehicles, which means they have two parts that are connected using a coupling. As common as they are, these types of trucks pose a number of hazards. For one thing, these types of trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, even if it’s not overloaded, which means a crash with a passenger vehicle that only weighs 3,500 pounds will probably be disastrous. Also, they can take as much as 450 feet to come to a complete stop, which means sudden stops are a big problem for a tractor-trailer.
Tractor-trailers also feature poor visibility and their extensive blind spots, also known as “no-zones," on every side of the truck. There is also a potential problem with the articulation. If the coupling on a tractor-trailer fails, the trailer can jackknife, or even detach completely from the truck. Runaway trailers are extremely dangerous, especially if they’re carrying the 80,000-pound limit.
Tanker trucks are similar to tractor-trailers, in that they are articulated vehicles, but instead of the trailer, there is a giant cylindrical tank, usually filled with liquid or gas. Quite often, tanker trucks carry hazardous, toxic or even flammable chemicals as cargo. They must be loaded with care, since an under-loaded tank can be difficult to control as the liquid sloshes from side to side. Because it's articulated, there is always a possibility that the tank can jackknife or even separate from the rest of the truck and collide with anything in its path. In the event that a tanker full of dangerous chemicals spills some of its load, there is a very real danger that other drivers could be exposed to toxins. Some of these hazardous chemicals are also flammable, which means they could catch fire or explode, causing serious or fatal injuries to anyone nearby.
Also referred to as production trucks, dump trucks are usually used in construction to transport sand, gravel, dirt and other loose materials, although they can also be used to transport waste to landfills. Dump trucks have an open box that is operated hydraulically to dump its contents behind the vehicle. These vehicles pose several potential hazards. For example, if the open box isn't properly covered, then its contents can spill out onto the highway as the truck drives along, which can break windshields and sometimes even blind other drivers on the road. They also have huge blind spots and they are often involved in crashes when they attempt to back up.
There are several different types of delivery trucks, but most have the same characteristics, which is why they are generally referred to as a “box truck,” based on the fact that the cargo area is actually attached the cab and there is no articulation. As commercial trucks go, they tend to be significantly smaller, but they still carry the potential to cause serious accidents and injuries, primarily because, whereas most larger trucks operate primarily on highways, delivery trucks operate within cities and residential areas, which means in addition to the risk of accidents with passenger vehicles, there is also an increased risk of collisions with pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists.
Blizzard & Nabers: Trucking Accident Lawyers
As you can see, there are actually many types of commercial trucks and each presents its own set of challenges if you are in an accident with one. Likewise, all accident cases involving commercial trucks are different and include different types of circumstances, which means the attorney who handles your case has to have the experience and knowledge to understand the differences and to be able to handle anything that comes along. The skillful Texas truck accident attorneys at Blizzard & Nabers can handle nearly any type of case that comes along, regardless of the type of truck and the circumstances, because we have already done so many times. If you have been seriously injured in an accident involving any type of truck, contact us so that we can evaluate your case and get you the recovery that you are entitled to.