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Navigating commercial vehicle accidents

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Commercial vehicles are an important part of the US economy. From massive 18-wheelers to city buses and delivery vans, these workhorses keep people moving and goods flowing throughout the country. However, an unfortunate reality comes with a high volume of commercial traffic: the risk of serious accidents.

What are considered commercial vehicles?

In Georgia, commercial vehicles have a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more. Vehicles that transport 16 or more people, such as buses, or 9 to 15 people if it’s a paid service, such as hired coasters or vans, fall under commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles also transport hazardous materials.

What makes commercial vehicle accidents dangerous?

The sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles is a primary concern. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, compared to a car’s average of 4,000 pounds. A bus in itself weighs 25,000 pounds. This immense difference in weight creates an imbalance in a collision and often results in catastrophic injuries or fatalities for car occupants.

Common causes of accidents

Several factors contribute to commercial vehicle wrecks, including:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Improper vehicle maintenance
  • Speeding and aggressive driving
  • Cargo overload

Sharing the road with significantly bigger vehicles requires extra vigilance. You can keep yourself safe by taking additional precautions, such as maintaining a safe following distance from commercial vehicles, avoiding blind spots and being cautious around merging lanes.

What to do after a commercial vehicle accident

If you’re involved in a wreck with a commercial vehicle, prioritize your safety first. Check for injuries and call emergency services immediately. If possible, document the scene by taking pictures and videos of the damage and surrounding area.

Since such vehicle wrecks often involve complex regulations and insurance issues, consider seeking legal counsel from a professional with experience in these types of cases. Negligence usually plays a significant part in road wrecks and having a legal professional to protect your rights may be useful.

By understanding the risks and practicing safe driving habits, we can all work together to keep our roads safer for everyone. Sharing the road with courtesy and caution is critical to reducing the number of these devastating accidents.