Many drivers are leery of tractor-trailers when they are driving near them.  Either instinctually or intellectually, we understand that they operate under a different set of rules and pose potentially greater threats to us than your run-of-the-mill car or SUV.  This comes in part from the fact that some of the trucks are huge and can have gross vehicle weights of more than 50 tons, and in part from the unfortunately common sight of what kind of devastation can happen when there is a motor vehicle accident involving a big rig.


A Few Notes About Tractor-Trailers


Drivers are surrounded by big trucks on an almost constant basis when on the road. The roads in Alaska are no exception. Semis, tractor-trailers, big rigs, or whatever you choose to call them are everywhere. More importantly, the people who drive them are professionals, and we generally have an expectation that they are safer and pay more attention than your average driver. The statistics seem to agree with that, with only five deaths attributed to wrecks involving big trucks in Alaska in 2017, the last year for which National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data is available. Truck drivers are held to a higher licensing standard by the state and, from a federal standpoint, they are required to have health screenings completed to maintain their licenses.  They are also subject to regulations concerning the amount of time they can spend behind the wheel and the type of loads they can carry. So, most truckers are skilled and safe drivers.


What Happens if Truckers are Not Safe?


Just like with any driving population, not all truckers drive safely all the time. They speed and follow too closely, just like other drivers. They fail to maintain their equipment as regulations require. Unfortunately, this leads to accidents and these types of accidents are different than a regular car crash because of one thing — size. Your average big rig is about 73 feet long (typically 53 feet for the trailer and around another 20 feet for the cab and tow assembly) and a regular load can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Oversized or overweight loads can be well over 100 feet long and weigh upward of 150,000 pounds. These huge dimensions and weights can cause a truck to require enormous distances to turn and to stop. It is estimated that an 80,000 pound truck requires around a tenth of a mile to stop from 55 miles per hour. If there is an accident involving a big truck, the potential for greater damage and injury is increased because of greater weight and momentum.


Operating a big rig is a dangerous business. It is, without a doubt, a far more complicated business than driving a regular car or truck. It is regulated by both the state of Alaska and the federal government for just this reason. Even the most well-intentioned truck driver can still make mistakes and those mistakes carry a chance of causing catastrophic damage. If you live in the Anchorage, Alaska area and have been injured by a truck or in any other traffic accident, you have rights that need to be protected.  The seasoned personal injury attorneys at Power & Power Law have the experience and knowledge necessary to get you the results you deserve. Give us a call at 907-222-9990 or toll free at 833-669-9990 or click here to set up your initial consultation and see what we can do for you today.