DC Blind Spot and Truck Accidents

According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were about 104,000 people injured in large truck accidents in 2012 alone. Large vehicles often weigh several times as much as smaller passenger cars and can cause significant damage and injury when they are involved in collisions.  In addition to their tremendous mass, large trucks are much larger and bulkier than other vehicles. This characteristic can create significant blind spots for drivers and make it difficult to see people or vehicles that are close to their vehicles. Because of the significant injury that these accidents can cause, it is extremely important for victims to discuss their potential case with a DC truck accident attorney as soon as possible after they have been injured.

Know your “No-Zones”

The large blind spots that trucks have play a significant role in a large number of truck accidents each year. In an effort to educate the public about safely sharing the road with trucks, and to reduce the number of accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced the “No-Zone” campaign in 1994. The campaign involves providing motorists with information regarding truck and bus “No-Zones,” or areas around these vehicles in which is difficult for drivers to see other vehicles or people. The No-Zones identified by the agency are as follows:

  • The Side No-Zone – Trucks and buses have large blind spots on either side. While analogous to a car’s blind spots, they are significantly larger. As a general rule, if you are unable to see the driver’s face in the truck’s side-view mirror, the driver is unable to see you. This means that the driver could attempt to change lanes or swerve without any knowledge of your presence, possibly causing a serious accident.
  • The Rear No-Zone – While most passenger vehicles do not have blind spots directly behind them, buses and trucks do have them. These blind spots are often significant and also restrict truck drivers from seeing what is going on directly behind a truck or bus. Driving too closely to the back of a truck can easily result in a rear-end accident for which the driver in the vehicle in the rear would likely be at fault. In addition to the risk of rear-end accidents, you should never be behind a large truck or bus when its reverse lights are engaged. Truck drivers cannot see vehicles or objects directly behind them and may not be aware that you are there.
  • The Front No-Zone – Truck drivers sit much higher than drivers of passenger vehicles, and they have difficulty seeing the area directly in front of their vehicles. In addition, trucks and buses have much longer stopping distances than other vehicles, particularly when they are loaded with cargo or passengers. As a result, it is important for motorists to give these vehicles plenty of space and avoid cutting in front of them or slowing down suddenly when in front of a truck or bus. The FMCSA advises that motorists wait until they are able to see the entire front of a truck or bus before pulling in front of one when passing.
  • Wide Right Turns – Occasionally, large trucks and buses need to swing out to the left in order to successfully negotiate a tight right turn. Because of their large blind spots, they may be unable to see cars or other vehicles directly to their right. It is important, therefore, for motorists and others to avoid being directly to the right of a truck or bus while it is making a right turn. In addition, as trucks may sometimes inadvertently go up on the curb during a right turn, pedestrians should also be certain to give these vehicles plenty of space when waiting or walking near a corner.

Determining the cause of a truck accident can be a complicated legal inquiry, and it is advisable for victims to retain legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident. Truck drivers and trucking companies (and their insurers) understand that accidents will happen.  They are ready to defend claims and will often try to offer unrepresented parties an unreasonably low settlement offer in order to limit liability.

Contact a DC Trucking Accident Lawyer For a Free Consultation

Truck accident victims may be able to recover substantial financial compensation for their injuries, and our attorneys are dedicated to helping those injured in truck accidents recover from their injuries. To schedule a DC personal injury lawyers, please call our office today at (202) 600-9400.