Truck Under ride crashes

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Our office just favorably settled another motor vehicle accident where our client drove into the side of an 18 wheeler trailer at night. Unfortunately this one in a series of cases that our office has handled with similar facts. Our clients have run into the side of an 18 wheeler trailer at night, in a dark rural area and the investigating police agencies have blames our clients for driver inattention. These accidents happen because the 18 wheeler tractor is facing the oncoming traffic and appear to the oncoming driver to be where they are supposed to be. The lights from the cab of the truck blind the driver and the trailer is impossible to see until it's well past too late to avoid the collision.

A truck driver simply should not have a trailer across oncoming lanes of traffic in a rural area at night. The trailer is impossible to timely see by oncoming drivers and a horrible collision results. The typical accident involves a flatbed trailer and the load on the trailer, if any, does not help with visibility of the trailer. The oncoming traffic is approaching at highway speed and can not see the trailer until it's too late.

There have been many studies involving trailer side underride crashes at night. Flatbed trailers with no loads or with loads that provide little or no contrast are particularly hazardous. The Texas Driver's Handbook indicates in takes 303 feet to stop at 60 miles per hour, more than the length of a football field. It is doubtful any of these crashes are caused because the driver thought he/she would win the battle with the trailer blocking the roadway .

Careful scrutiny needs to be focused on the truck driver. Is it possible to safely back a trailer across oncoming lanes of a highway at night without interference with the other traffic? The answer is always going to be "no".

The trucker usually has other options other than making a fateful decision to block oncoming lanes of traffic at night with his/her trailer. Awareness of this hazard should be made known to the trucking industry and to investigating police agencies. It may save someone's life.

Our recent case resolved favorably for our client even though he was found to be at fault by the investigation police agency. All cases and facts are unique and may have different outcomes.