Semi-trucks traverse the roadways of Greenville and Pitt County on a daily basis. They deliver everything people need to go about their daily lives, which means truck drivers and their trucks get pressed to do a lot of work. And because trucks are such a common sight on the roadways, drivers don’t pay attention to just how dangerous an 18-wheeler really is. As a result, when something goes wrong with a car and a semi, it really goes wrong. Odds for serious injuries and fatalities increase greatly due to the difference in sizes between the two vehicles.
Such an accident occurred on Highway 11 on February 17th. A stopped tractor-trailer pulled out in front of another oncoming truck and they collided. The moving truck swerved but clipped the other truck and then spun, slamming into an SUV on the opposite side of the road. The SUV, which was stopped when the collision occurred, spun into the semi. The semi flipped, crushing the SUV.
The passenger of the SUV, 68-year-old man, Stacy Smith, from Deep Run died in the crash. His wife, Melissa Smith, 48, was flown to Vidant Medical center with injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer that pulled out, causing the accident, Steven Brunt, 20, from Jacksonville has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle. This tragedy is just one example of the danger drivers can face on the roadways. Following are some of the more common types of truck and car accidents seen in North Carolina.
Accidents Involving a Jackknifing Truck
A jackknifed truck occurs when the trailer and tractor are at a 90-degree angle to one another. It comes about when the driver loses control of the entire rig, brakes fail, or drive runs into bad weather. Even the best semi operators can’t avoid a jackknife when the odds are against them. And when a semi is jackknifing, every car in the immediate vicinity is at risk of getting into an accident with the truck. Sometimes the driver can pull out of it, and sometimes they can’t. When they can’t, the potential for the truck to tip over and fall onto nearby cars is increased as the truck loses its center of gravity.
Truck Underride Accident
Perhaps the most famous underride accident is the one involving Jayne Mansfield. Her car went under the rear of a tractor-trailer, killing everyone in the front seat. Not long afterwards, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created a regulation requiring all tractor trailers install a rear under guard to prevent similar incidents. It’s known as the Mansfield bar.
However, the rear of the tractor-trailer is not the only place where an underride accident can occur; it’s possible for a car to pass underneath sideways, tearing off the roof and windshield of the car, exposing the occupants to injury and even fatalities. There is no federal regulation requiring a side guard to prevent this type of accident, although some manufacturers are installing them voluntarily.
Brake Failure Accidents
Brakes are the responsibility of the truck driver. Before the truck is taken on the road, the driver has to inspect the brake lines to make sure they’re not leaking. This is necessary due to the fact that tractor-trailers use air brakes instead of hydraulic brakes for slowing down. The truck uses a series of tanks and a compressor to build pressure when the driver applies the brakes. Normal braking systems on a semi are completely different from a Jake brake, which uses the engine to slow down the rig.
A semi turns into a hurtling mass of metal when the brakes fail to engage. Any cars that are in the path of the semi during a brake failure event are going to suffer impact without exception. Sometimes these events result in fatalities due to the amount of force that a runaway tractor-trailer generates.
These are just some of the ways in which a motorist can get injured when sharing the road with 18-wheelers in Greenville. The causes are varied, but sometimes the responsibility lays at the feet of the trucking company and driver. We can help get down to the cause and place liability squarely where it belongs for those who suffered serious injuries after an accident with a semi-truck.
Greenville, NC Auto Accident Attorneys
Brian Ricci, a
Truck Accident Lawyer serving Greenville, NC and the surrounding
areas. If you have suffered
a personal injury, please call me anytime at
(252) 777-2222 or
(888) 484-6881 for free advice
I am a longtime member of the
Million Dollar Advocates Forum.