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January 12, 2022 | Gary Burger

Force Is What Separates Truck Accidents From Car Accidents

Last week I did a deposition, a long deposition in a truck crash case. We’ve done a lot of depositions in those and other cases. And I thought I’d talk a little bit about truck crash cases and why they can be so devastating to people in cars. The forces involved in truck crash cases are astounding. A tractor-trailer weighs typically between 40,000 and 70,000 pounds laden, and cars are between 3,000 and 7,000 pounds, and force equals mass times acceleration, so the force involved with a tractor-trailer going down the highway, a 60,000-pound tractor-trailer hitting another car or having a car glanced a side of it, it’s like swatting a fly.

So, if a car comes and hits the side of a tractor-trailer, it’s going to be almost no force, negligible force on the part of the tractor-trailer. Differently, if a tractor-trailer crashes sideways into a car, then it is only going to slow that tractor-trailer down, maybe one or two miles an hour, a very, very little force change for a tractor-trailer. That’s why we have so many safety rules for tractor-trailers. That’s why there are commercial driver’s license, federal and state regulations, regulations about speed, about how long they can drive before they have to rest, the equipment on there, how often they have to inspect the equipment. There are a whole host of regulations that truckers have to abide by.

I’ve represented truckers. I’ve just settled a case the other day for one, and I’ve been asked to represent them numerous times, but when truck drivers or trucking companies violate the rules of the road and act unsafe and injure or kill folks, we represent folks in those cases as well and we have, many times.

The challenge is driving, and it’s summer now. People are getting on the road for their summer vacations. You know, the three highest months of incidents of truck crashes and car crashes are August, July and June. We talk about safety. I have videos on safety. We have newsletters on safety, and so especially in driving in the summer months or with your family, drive defensively, be careful of those truck drivers. They carry a lot of mass, they work long hours, and they work hard, and sometimes they’re not attendant to what they should be doing.

If you have any questions about truck, the forces involved, the physics, truck law liability, anything about trucking accidents, give me a call, Burger Law, Gary Burger is my name. I’m at (314) 500-HURT, or you can contact us online. Thank you.