Large Truck Blind Spots and How to Steer Clear of Them
A blind spot is an area around a vehicle where its driver is unable to see objects – namely, other motor vehicles. Virtually all vehicles have blind spots, where the body or frame of the vehicle itself blocks the driver’s view. The rear and side-view mirrors on a car or truck are designed to help drivers gain an awareness of other drivers on the road but cannot offer a completely unobstructed view of their surroundings. As a result, blind spots are a source of danger for drivers.
Where Are Blind Spots Located?
Blind spots are particularly dangerous when it comes to large trucks, such as semi-trucks—also known as “tractor-trailers” or “big rigs.” In general, semi-trucks that haul trailers have four major areas that are considered blind spots, including:
- The area that extends approximately 30 feet behind the rear of a semi truck’s trailer
- The area that extends roughly 20 feet in front of the truck’s cab
- The area below the driver’s side window that extends to the rear of the trailer
- The area below the passenger’s side window that extends across two lanes of traffic along the entire length of the trailer
These large blind spots result from the sheer size of the vehicle, which includes the cab and the trailer it hauls behind it. A semi-truck with a trailer can measure from roughly 50 to 80 feet or more. Consequently, cars driving near or within a semi-truck’s blind spots will become entirely imperceptible to the truck driver.
Common Injuries Caused by Blind Spots
Due to the massive size of semi-trucks and their speed, especially on highways, collisions with these trucks are likely to produce severe injuries. According to a 2007 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 963 crashes involving either death or injury between 2001 and 2003. Moreover, around one-third of all collisions involving semi-trucks result from a truck’s blind spots.
As a result, some of the common injuries stemming from semi-truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Whiplash and neck sprains
- Spinal column and cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Burns and scars
Compensation for Truck Accident Injuries
Truck drivers are generally responsible for regularly checking their surroundings and being aware of their blind spots There are factors that can impair a truck driver’s ability to adequately maintain awareness of their surroundings, such as fatigue or inadequate training.
Additionally, trucks may have signage designed to warn other drivers of particular dangers involved in driving too close to a truck.
A truck driver, or a company who is principally responsible for semi-trucks and their drivers, may be liable for injuries that result from negligent driving. Negligent parties are liable to compensate an injured party for the following types of damages:
- Medical bills: An injured party may be entitled to recover costs associated with medical treatment and physical therapy.
- Lost wages and income: A severe injury can greatly interfere with or completely impair an individual’s ability to work. Lost wages and income resulting from missed work may be recovered from the liable party.
- Pain and suffering: The resulting and ongoing pain and difficulties stemming from injuries caused by negligent driving are generally recoverable.
- Property damage: A negligent party may be liable for the cost of repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed property, such as the injured party’s car.
- Wrongful death: If negligent truck driving results in death, the responsible party must compensate family members or other qualified individuals or entities, such as the decedent’s estate.
- Punitive damages: In some cases involving particularly severe or reckless conduct, an injured party may be entitled to more compensation to deter that type of behavior.
Have an Attorney on Your Side
Commercial truck drivers have special duties and responsibilities when driving semi-trucks. Injuries stemming from collisions involving semi-trucks and their blind spots may require the services of an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer who is very familiar with all relevant laws.
To optimize your compensation for injuries caused by negligent truck driving, contact Justin Morgan Law for skilled representation.