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What makes 18-wheelers so dangerous?

18-wheeler truck rear-ends car

We understand big wrecks and big cases

They're an everyday sight on roads throughout the San Antonio area: 18-wheelers and other heavy commercial trucks. Everyone knows to drive carefully around them, and every driver's worst fear is a wreck involving one.

What makes 18-wheelers so dangerous? The short answer is "they're really big." That sheer size affects safety in a number of important ways.

fully loaded, an 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds

By comparison, the average passenger car weighs about 4,000 pounds. So, getting hit by a fully loaded tractor-trailer is roughly the equivalent of getting hit by 20 cars at once. The sheer amount of force involved in truck accidents can cause devastating damage to a smaller vehicle, and more importantly, to everyone inside.

The weight of an 18-wheeler also makes it much more difficult to handle. Semi-trucks take much longer to stop than smaller vehicles. They take wide turns and are prone to jackknifing and rolling over, especially if the cargo is improperly balanced. At high speeds, they become even more difficult to handle and more prone to going out of control.

Trucks are a vital part of our economy, but they also have the potential to be exceptionally dangerous. That's why commercial truck drivers are held to high legal standards.

The Law is Conscious of the Dangers of 18-Wheelers

Truckers are required to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), which requires significant training and testing to confirm that the operator can handle an 18-wheeler safely. They're required to stay below a blood alcohol content of 0.04, which is half the legal limit for other drivers over 21. Hours of service (HOS) laws mandate certain rest breaks and limit the number of hours a trucker is allowed to drive in a week. These rules ensure truck drivers are rested and able to focus on driving.

Trucking companies, too, are held to high legal standards because of the potential dangers of their vehicles. They are responsible for conducting thorough background checks on drivers and training and supervising them to ensure they are safe operators. They also need to make sure their trucks are properly maintained and meet all the current safety standards.

Those laws exist for a reason. An 18-wheeler in the hands of an inexperienced, intoxicated, or fatigued driver is a deadly hazard to its operator and everyone else on the road. Unfortunately, the trucking companies too often put profits ahead of safety. They pressure drivers to drive too fast and work through their mandatory rest breaks. They fail to conduct background checks or properly discipline drivers for unsafe driving. When they behave this way, people can be seriously hurt.

That's why it's vital that we hold the trucking companies accountable for their negligence. The Herrera Law Firm has a proven track record of standing up to the trucking companies and their insurance companies on behalf of victims. If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, we'd be honored to meet with you for a free consultation. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

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    The Herrera
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    1800 W. Commerce St.
    San Antonio, TX 78207
    Toll Free: 1-800-455-1054
    Phone: 1-210-224-1054
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