What Makes a Truck Accident Different From a Normal Car Accident in DC?

Although they both can be found on the same roadways in Washington, DC, there is a drastic difference between how truck and car accidents are usually caused. Below, a DC truck accident lawyer discusses the various ways that truck accidents differ from car accidents and how federal trucking laws form the basis for truck accident claims.

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Major Differences Between Truck and Car Accidents

A truck is a very heavy vehicle when compared to a passenger vehicle, and that weight certainly has a lot to do with the driver’s control of the truck.  Thus, it’s important that truck drivers are trained in how to handle the truck given its weight and other dissimilarities, including significant differences in:

  • Acceleration
  • Braking distance and dynamics
  • Turning Radius

It takes longer to stop a truck due to the weight of the vehicle itself, in addition to the cargo, which adds weight and creates maneuverability issues (especially if that cargo is incorrectly secured or distributed).

Also, trucks are multiple-axle vehicles often made up of two components: a tractor and a trailer. This means that there are maneuverability and operation issues not present in other vehicles, especially when the driver is operating the truck in weather conditions that may make roads slippery or otherwise dangerous.

In addition, certain trucks (usually “tanker trucks”) commonly carry flammable or otherwise hazardous materials—many of which are liquids. Cargo of this sort can add a whole different set of safety concerns when one considers the possibility for the cargo to shift or surge in response to vehicle or road conditions. And if any flammable or hazardous materials are exposed during a truck accident, there is the potential for a plethora of other injuries due to fire, explosion, or toxic exposure.

All of these factors combined make truck accidents much different and often much more deadly than car accidents.

Standards For Commerical Drivers

In addition to all the above factors, there are generally higher standards for commercial drivers. The commercial truck drivers are especially trained and qualified to operate motor carriers and they have to have a special license. They require a greater degree of skill and care in the operation of a commercial vehicle as a result and therefore get special training. This however also means that if truck drivers are involved in an accident they may face additional penalties that effect their employment and their commercial license.

How Do Federal Trucking Laws Form The Basis For a Truck Accident Case?

Federal trucking laws form the basis for safety policies and procedures that must be taught to drivers and implemented by their employers. These policies and procedures are federal regulations that must be adhered to above and beyond normal traffic laws.