People are instinctively aware of how dangerous semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles can be in traffic. Their imposing size means that they tower over most passenger vehicles. There are very few things that can inspire a sense of fear more quickly than looking into a rearview mirror to see a commercial truck approaching rapidly from behind.
The average 18-wheeler is a very unwieldy and imposing vehicle that could very easily cause a crash resulting in life-altering consequences for the people involved in the wreck. Some commercial vehicles are even more dangerous than the average semi-truck because they are larger. For example, long combination vehicles are a common sight on certain roads but also a real source of crash risk.
What are long combination vehicles?
Long combination vehicles are a popular but very dangerous form of commercial transportation. The United States Department of Transportation defines a long combination vehicle as any semi-truck with a trailer more than 28 feet long or multiple trailers attached. A driver who spots a vehicle with two trailers attached to a single cab is likely close to a long combination vehicle in traffic. There are also vehicles with surprisingly large trailers that are multiple times the size of a standard semi-truck trailer that may qualify as long combination vehicles.
Although they are more efficient in terms of the work hours, machinery and fuel needed to transport goods and materials, long combination vehicles worsen the design elements of semi-trucks that make them so risky. Long combination vehicles have even larger blind spots than standard commercial trucks. They are harder to stop and maneuver in traffic, which is one reason why federal rules actually restrict the routes that commercial truckers can travel when operating a long combination vehicle.
Who is liable for commercial vehicle crashes?
Most collisions involving semi-trucks, long combination vehicles and other commercial vehicles, like garbage trucks, ultimately create liability for the business. Employers typically have to accept liability for the negligence of employees and the failure of their equipment, which can mean facing large financial claims after a commercial crash.
Most commercial transportation companies typically carry large insurance policies that can do a better job of covering someone’s collision expenses than the insurance required on passenger vehicles. Learning about how different types of commercial vehicles contribute to overall collision risks and who incurs liability for those crashes when they occur may benefit those injured by the mistakes made by a commercial driver or improper maintenance of a large commercial truck.