NC Has One of the Highest Trucking Accident Rates in America
North Carolina's roads are some of the most hazardous in the country. In fact, the state is ranked sixth in the nation for prevalence of commercial truck-related accidents (those involving vehicles interchangeably referred to as tractor-trailers, semis or big rigs, among other names). Unbelievable as it may sound, statistics show that more than 50 percent of commercial vehicles traveling North Carolina roads had maintenance or safety violations.
The truly disheartening aspect of these statistics is that only an estimated one percent of the more than nine million tractor-trailers passing through North Carolina weigh stations are actually inspected. This is due in no small part to a low number of North Carolina Highway Patrol officers who have sufficient knowledge, experience and training to perform the complex analysis necessary to determine if a vehicle is in compliance with state and federal regulations governing the commercial trucking industry.
How Do Unsafe Trucks Affect Other Drivers?
Though millions of semi trucks safely traverse state and national roads each year, accidents can and do happen. Many thousands of these collisions involve passenger cars and smaller trucks, causing catastrophic or fatal injuries to the occupants of those vehicles. Injuries to the truck drivers themselves are rare, mainly due to the extreme size disparity between the vehicles: a fully loaded semi truck can easily weigh between 60,000 and 80,000 pounds, whereas the typical passenger car weighs between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds.
There are many reasons why a car versus truck accident can occur. Neglecting to keep the truck in proper running order is responsible for a large percentage of accidents. Common causes include:
- Not performing necessary scheduled maintenance like oil changes, tune-ups and more
- Failure to inspect and service brake system components, including, depending on the type of brakes; pads, lines, master cylinders, rotors, calibers, drums or shoes
- Neglecting to regularly check vital engine fluids such as oil, anti-freeze, power steering fluid, transmission fluid and brake fluid
- Improper load balancing; this can cause the vehicle to be top-heavy or can cause loss of control should the cargo shift unexpectedly
- Balding, bulging, under-filled or over-inflated tires that can "blowout" while the truck is in motion
If you are involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer, there is a high probability that you will be injured or that you will tragically lose a loved one. Should you fall victim to the careless or negligent actions of a trucker or trucking company, seek the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney with in-depth knowledge of these difficult cases.