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Driving recklessly around trucks can lead to tragedy

Sharing the road with commercial trucks that weigh as much as 40 tons can be unnerving even for the calmest Louisiana motorists, and these anxieties tend to become more severe when weather conditions are poor, traffic is heavy and frustrations are running high. Accidents involving semi-tractor trailers and passenger vehicles are often catastrophic, and car, pickup truck and SUV occupants accounted for 68 percent of the fatalities in such crashes around the country in 2014 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Heavier vehicles take longer to stop, and many big rig accidents are caused by motorists who fail to understand this. Impatient drivers worried about becoming mired in traffic behind slow-moving trucks sometimes make reckless passing maneuvers or cut between lanes. This is especially dangerous because tractor-trailers can be unpredictable in emergency situations and can even jackknife dangerously. A moment of impatience can have tragic results, and many road users around the country are killed or injured each year in truck crashes caused by frustrated or angry passenger car drivers.

Drivers should also understand that trucks have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles, and if motorists cannot see a truck driver, the truck driver is unlikely to be able to see them. Cars can enter dangerous no-zones and disappear from view as they approach tractor-trailers, and not being aware of this can lead to deadly accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, about a third of all collisions involving tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles occur when the latter enter no-zones.

Personal injury attorneys often file lawsuits against commercial vehicle drivers or trucking companies on behalf of tractor-trailer accident victims. In order to be successful, it will have to be demonstrated that the driver or employer was somehow negligent.

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