No matter where you travel in the state of Florida, you’re bound to see a semi truck hauling its trailer either somewhere in state or out of state. But while these road giants only make up approximately 12.5 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, says Truckinginfo.net, the fact that there are more than 15 million in service on our roadways means we have a good chance of running into one — quite literally in fact.
Though some may argue that we need semi trucks to move goods across the country, this should not cover up the fact that semi trucks pose an incredible danger to motorists in smaller vehicles, especially motorcyclists who are the most unprotected drivers on our roadways. To illustrate this point, just take a look at these five truck facts and see for yourself why they are so dangerous.
#1: Semi trucks can weigh 80,000 lbs fully loaded. This alone poses the biggest threat to drivers in smaller vehicles. Semi trucks, which are prone to tipping over because of their weight, can easily crush a smaller vehicle, leaving those in the other vehicle to suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries.
#2: There are no federal length restrictions on semi trucks. Semi truck trailers can be 48 feet or longer in the U.S., explains the U.S. Department of Transportation. If the average length of a car is about 14 feet, this means a tipping semi could easily fall and crush several vehicles, leading to a devastating multi-vehicle crash.
#3: Federal rest rules are currently under debate. In an effort to cut down on the number of fatigued driving cases among commercial truck drivers, the federal government tried to impose new hours of service regulations that would limit the number of hours a truck driver could operate before needing to take a rest break. Unfortunately, those changes were overturned by some in the trucking industry, possibly putting hundreds or thousands of lives in danger due to fatigued driving collisions.
#4: Semi trucks need more than 300 feet to stop. Because of their size and weight, it’s no surprise semi trucks need a greater distance to stop. Unfortunately, when a driver is fatigued, or not paying attention to their surroundings or the road conditions, a truck driver may fail to allow enough distance in which to stop, thereby causing a serious or fatal crash.
#5: Blind spots for semi trucks are bigger than those for other vehicles. Unlike the typical car, truck drivers have much larger blind spots because of the size of their trucks. They also can’t look over their shoulder to see if another vehicle is in their blind spot because their trailer is in their line of sight. If a truck driver is not paying attention to their surroundings or is not aware of their blind spots, then collisions are possible. And because of some of the reasons we’ve already mentioned above, serious or fatal injuries are possible as well.