Trucking Accidents: Safety and Awareness
South Carolina is home to over 6,500 trucking companies, and while many of them are small, locally owned businesses, they are responsible for transporting over 80% of manufactured goods throughout the state. This figure would come as no surprise to Carolina drivers; on any given day, motorists in our state share the road with logging trucks, auto transport trucks, refrigerated cargo trucks, fuel tanker trucks and more. Not only do drivers share major highways with large trucks, they also share local streets and two way roads, as well as parking lots.
For motorists, the abundance of trucks on the roadways can result in dangerous driving conditions, and injuries obtained in trucking accidents tend to be severe and often life threatening. Here’s what you need to know about sharing the roads with truck drivers, and how you can help prevent being involved in an accident with them.
Trucking Industry Facts
In South Carolina, the trucking industry is huge. Truck drivers transport 84% of the goods in this state; that’s over 420,000 tons of manufactured goods each day. As a result, the demand for truck drivers has remained steady. In fact, according to the South Carolina Trucking Safety Association (SCTSA), almost one out of every 17 jobs in the state is with a trucking company. The SCTSA is quick to point out that truckers contribute to the health and vitality of the state, not only in getting goods where they need to be, but also in paying taxes. Despite the fact that trucks represent only 10% of the vehicle miles traveled in the state, they pay over 32% of all taxes and fees owed by motorists.
So what about safety? The SCTSA works hard to educate and train truck drivers in highway safety. The group offers classes, seminars, and other events to teach students about trucking safety, and partners with state and federal agencies to promote safety initiatives and raise public awareness. The SCTSA started the Share the Road program in order to educate drivers about one of the most common reasons for automobile and truck accidents: trucking ‘No-Zones’. These No-Zones are danger areas around trucks in which cars disappear from the view of the driver. Accidents frequently occur in these areas, and the SCTSA hopes that educating drivers will help to reduce injuries and fatalities caused in trucking accidents.
Safety Tips to Avoid Trucking Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 95,000 people were injured due to trucking accidents in 2013. Only a small percentage of those injured were in the truck itself; the majority were in other vehicles involved in the accident. Based on actual crash data, there are a number of ways to help prevent accidents when driving alongside trucks. These include:
- Avoiding No-Zones: The majority of accidents occur when both the truck and the vehicle are driving side by side, going the same direction. When driving alongside a truck, be careful to avoid staying in his blind spot.
- Leave plenty of room: If you’re following a truck, be sure to allow plenty of room in case the truck driver slows down or has to come to a stop. The same goes if a truck is behind you. If you’re driving and a truck is tailgating you, switch lanes in order to stay safe.
- Use caution when approaching curves: Trucks can often have trouble navigating curves. Again, for your own safety, give the truck driver plenty of room.
- Being careful when turning: Beware turning in front of a truck driver in the opposite lane. Trucks can’t stop as quickly as cars, and a significant number of accidents occur this way.
Call Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a trucking accident, contact our trucking accident attorneys today. At Anastopoulo Law Firm with offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we understand the factors that may have been involved in your accident. We’ll review your case to determine if we can help you receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for a consultation.