Truck Accidents and Truck Stopping Distance
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ongoing efforts are being made to improve “the safety performance of heavy trucks.” A part of these safety efforts involves setting stricter requirements for stopping distances for large commercial vehicles.
The stopping distance is the length of time that it takes for a vehicle to come to a complete stop. For a truck weighing 8,000 to 9,999 pounds, for example, the current stopping distance requirement when the vehicle is going 60 miles per hour is 216 feet. This means that when a truck of this size is traveling 60 miles an hour and puts on the breaks, the truck must come to a complete stop within 216 feet or less.
Different stopping distance requirements exist for buses; single unit trucks; trucks with a weight greater than 10,000 pounds; and truck tractors. However, in every case, trucks are going to take longer to stop than passenger cars. Trucks take longer to stop because they are larger and have more momentum, which makes it harder for the friction of the brakes to slow and stop the moving vehicle.
Unfortunately, this longer stopping distance can increase the chances of truck accidents occurring since trucks are often unable to stop before hitting other cars on the roads.
Atlanta, Georgia Truck Accidents and Tailgating
Since trucks have a longer stopping distance, truck drivers need to account for this and leave plenty of space in between their commercial vehicles and the cars in front. When a truck driver fails to do this and follows too closely, this is considered tailgating.
A tailgating truck could easily rear-end the car in front if that vehicle stops suddenly, causing a collision. A tailgating truck could also hit the front vehicle if that vehicle slows down, or could become involved in a crash if another car cuts in front of the truck.
Finally, trucks that are following too closely typically cannot stop if the car in front of them gets into an accident, which means that a single-vehicle accident or two-car collision could quickly turn into a multi-car pileup. This can be extremely dangerous for every motorist involved in the crash.
An Atlanta, Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
When a truck driver is tailgating, this can be considered negligent or careless behavior since the driver is putting himself and others at risk of a car accident. Tailgating truck drivers may also be in violation of road safety laws that require all drivers to maintain a safe following distance.
When an accident happens because of negligence or because a driver is not obeying the rules of the road, the person responsible for the crash can be sued and made to pay accident victims compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other losses. Accident victims can pursue claims inside a courtroom or can settle outside of court and can take action not only against the truck driver but also typically against the trucking company employer as well.
Understanding your legal rights and making a claim after a tailgating truck accident can be complicated but an experienced Atlanta, Georgia truck accident lawyer can help. To learn more, call (404) 991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today with the Atlanta, Georgia truck accident attorneys at Van Sant Law, LLC