A chain reaction car accident involving nine vehicles left a five-year-old girl dead and 13 other people injured in Los Angeles County early last Thursday morning. The pile-up involved two semi-trucks and a tanker truck loaded with milk, as well as six other vehicles, two of which caught fire.
According to a KPCR public radio report, the accident was caused when the tanker truck was unable to react in time to a sudden traffic slowdown on the 60 freeway at Santa Anita Avenue and crashed into several vehicles in front of it. This caused the driver to steer his truck into the center divider, where it came to a stop on top of the center divider wall. According to authorities, the wreckage from the accidents spanned across 200 yards of the eastbound lanes of the 60 freeway in South El Monte.
The Differences Between Semi-Truck Brakes and Regular Car Brakes Increases the Danger of Accidents
Semi-trucks are designed to carry freight long distances across our country, and they most commonly travel on interstate highways or large state highways. Since the rigs are designed to carry more weight for longer distances at faster speeds than standard automobiles, the brake systems in semi-trucks use different technology than that used in cars and small trucks or SUVs.
The primary difference between the brakes used is that semi-trucks use a pneumatic system, meaning the “brake fluid” in a semi-truck is actually a gas. Using pneumatic brakes in semis is more efficient and reliable than the hydraulic, fluid-based brakes that are used in other vehicles.
Unfortunately, pneumatic brakes have a short lag time between when the brake pedal is pushed and when the truck actually starts to slow down. This lag time increases the stopping distance of a semi-truck when compared to other vehicles.
How to Stay Safe When Traveling Around Semi-Trucks
The fact that semi-trucks take longer to stop than other vehicles suggests that semi-truck drivers should be responsible for leaving enough distance between themselves and the vehicles in front of them, especially when traveling in heavy traffic. Semi-trucks do, in fact, have a responsibility to follow others at a safe distance, although this accident demonstrates that they do not always do so.
Although it is not their responsibility, the best advice for other drivers is to be attentive to what is happening behind them and yield the road to a semi-truck that is driving too fast or too closely. If it is possible, a driver should look for identifying information on the dangerous vehicle and notify both authorities and the trucking company that a driver presents a risk.
Even with the Utmost Caution, Some Accidents are Unavoidable
Taking every precaution is not always enough for a normal driver to prevent a crash with a semi-truck. When semi-trucks are involved in accidents, there is a higher likelihood that the crash will cause injuries or deaths. Semi-trucks are larger and heavier, and it is more difficult to recover control of them once the driver has lost it, so any crash with a semi is inherently more dangerous. Every year, New Mexico semi-truck accidents cause many deaths, and grieving families of the victims are often left with nowhere to turn after their loved one is seriously injured or killed.
Have You or Someone You Love Been Involved in a Crash?
If you or someone that you love has been injured or killed in a New Mexico semi-truck accident, the Fine Law Firm wants to provide you with legal representation to help you get compensation for your injury or loss. Our dedicated New Mexico personal injury attorneys have tried many semi-truck cases, and we can use our specific knowledge of the trucking industry to make the legal or factual arguments that will help you to convince a judge or jury that you deserve to be reimbursed for the damages caused by someone else’s bad decisions. Get the legal representation that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at (585)-889-3463 to set up a free consultation, and we will discuss your case at no obligation to you.
More Blog Posts:
Bicyclist Hit and Seriously Injured By Garbage Truck in Albuquerque Last Month., New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, July 7, 2014.
Fallen Stop Sign Leads Woman to Drive into Intersection and Collide with Semi-Truck, Killing Her Instantly, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, July 28, 2014.