Longer combination vehicles (LCVs) are trucks with two or more cargo areas (doubles or triples are common). These vehicles are becoming a larger percentage of the trucks on the road and they are traveling more and more miles, despite restrictions on usage because of the pavement wear impact. Florida permits two-types of LCVs, both of which are a form of double.
The National Center for Freight and Infrastructure recently has issued a study examining the use of LCVs, which provides detailed information, but shows that a lot more information is needed about the increased safety risk of LCVs on Florida roadways. What is not in dispute is that a person injured in an accident with an LCV is going to need an experienced, well-versed, Miami truck accident attorney in order to get the recovery he or she deserves.
As gas prices increase and emission-controls increase, there will be more LCVs on the roadways that permit their use. This sets up a situation where there are going to be increased crashes between these LCVs and cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, and light trucks, leading to serious injuries and deaths.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when there is an accident between a large truck and a car, 98% of any resulting fatalities are in the passenger vehicle and not in the truck. Due to the greater length of the LCVs and the combination of multiple cargo areas, these trucks have a greater risk of jack-knifing, caused by a lock-up of the drive axel brakes, roll-over, loss of control, and swaying out of a lane while traveling at a high rate of speed. Jack-knifing is a particular danger with LCVs because of the increased chance of a passenger vehicle being crushed between the different sections of the truck or running into a jack-knifed truck which is blocking travel lanes.
The LCVs do not handle in the same way as other large trucks. Many drivers do not get the specialized training that they need to operate the LCVs in a safe manner. In addition to the dangers posed by the increased height, weight, and length of these trucks, there also are related hazards that drivers may not think about until the dangers are right in front of them. The significantly increased length of the truck leads to longer passing distances and the added weight, to increased braking distances.
As trucking companies push for larger and longer trucks to take the road and haul products across the country, there will be more accidents. The longer combination vehicles and the increased likelihood of jack-knifing and flipping as well as the longer braking distances will only increase those unfortunate statistics.
There are steps that you can take to increase your safety when sharing the roads with LCVs and other large trucks:
• Make sure you are visible to the drivers – Trucks have blind spots. In order to stay out them, you need to be back far enough to see both of the truck’s side view mirrors.
• Stay at a safe following distance – If a truck starts to have a problem, you need to have enough time to brake. Keeping a significant space between your vehicle and the LCV in front of you will give you a safety barrier.
• Practice defensive driving skills. Have an “escape plan” in mind should an emergency arise.
• Pass safely – Make use of your turn signals and do not make any rapid lane changes to pass.
• Engage your safety features – when it is raining, make sure your lights are on and your windshield wipers are working.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a longer combination vehicle or other truck, the attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano, are available to discuss your case, without any charge or obligation to you. Our experienced attorneys have successfully handled car and truck accidents in Miami and counties throughout South Florida for decades. Please contact us through our website or call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to set up a Free Consultation.