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Physics alone makes semitrucks so dangerous

There are many reasons why semitrucks are so dangerous on Pennsylvania's highways. For instance, researchers have studied truck driver fatigue to find out how often it causes accidents, seeing as truck drivers work full-time in this position and, just like the rest of us, may have to work while they're tired.

That said, you do not have to dig down very far to see why trucks are such a threat. The reality is that physics alone makes them far more dangerous than many other vehicle types. They're just larger and heavier than anything they'll face in a crash, and, while that can protect truck drivers, it can also mean that those other drivers and passengers face extreme risks.

The facts

To see how this works, let's take a look at the results of studies carried out by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Some of their key findings include:

  • Most of the time, a lighter vehicle gets pushed backward by a heavier vehicle in an accident. This is true when the weight difference isn't so drastic -- a pickup truck vs. a sedan, for instance -- but the same principle holds true in semitruck accidents.
  • Since that car moves backward during the impact, those in that lighter car have more physical force enacted on them, while there is less force playing against those in the heavier vehicle -- the semi. The amount of force exerted on the human body largely determines just how bad someone's injuries will be.
  • When you look at the amount of deaths in mini cars in all of their traffic accidents, you will find that 64 people pass away for every 1 million mini cars that are registered in the United States. By contrast, the rate for large SUVs is just 13 fatalities for every 1 million registered SUVs.
  • The bigger the vehicle, the larger the crush zones that can take on some of the force from the impact. These vehicles also tend to have longer hoods and, in the case of semitrucks, they are far higher off of the ground than the cars that they hit.

Granted, the IIHS studied passenger cars, so their largest vehicles were those massive SUVs, but it does not take much to extrapolate the data and see that a semitruck is simply a more extreme example. In many cases, a semi accident may lead to serious injuries or even death for those in the passenger car, while the semi driver may not get injured at all.

Your options

So, what do you do if you suffer injuries or lose a loved one? You may deserve financial compensation, and so you need to know all of the options that you have.

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