One of the main reasons truck accidents occur so frequently in Denver and across Colorado is that it’s hard for truck drivers to see what’s around them. A semi-truck’s trailer prevents the driver from seeing what’s directly behind them and makes it challenging to see vehicles that may be driving alongside the truck. The rig’s high hood can hide objects right in front of the truck.
Because trucks have these large blind spots, they must use caution to avoid colliding with another car and injuring the occupants.
The Olson Law Firm, LLC, can help you seek compensation for your injuries if you were hurt in a truck blind spot accident. Attorney Sean Olson is a Denver truck accident lawyer with more than a decade of experience helping crash victims recover the money they need. We’re highly rated by our peers and have recovered millions for our clients. We’re ready to dedicate ourselves to pursuing the best possible result in your case.
Contact our office today to learn more about your options in a free initial consultation.
What Are Blind Spots?
Most cars and trucks have blind spots. These are areas where it’s difficult to see other vehicles or objects around you because they’re out of your field of vision and can’t be easily seen with a mirror. That is why when we’re learning to drive, we’re told to turn our heads and make sure it’s safe before merging or changing lanes. The situation is even more complex for drivers of 18-wheelers and other large trucks.
Where Are the Blind Spots Around a Truck?
While most cars and trucks have some blind spots, semi-trucks have much larger blind spots than other vehicles, especially when the truck is towing a trailer. The four major blind spots large trucks have are:
- Directly behind the truck – When a semi-truck is towing a trailer, the trailer completely blocks the driver’s view of whatever is directly behind the truck. While side-view mirrors allow drivers to see vehicles farther behind them, anything directly behind the truck is blocked.
- Directly in front of the truck – Semis sit higher off the road than most other vehicles, and they have long hoods in the front of the vehicle. These two factors make it difficult to see anything directly in front of the truck, especially smaller vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists.
- The truck’s rear-left quadrant – A truck’s side-view mirrors let the driver see some of what’s happening near the rear-left area of the trailer, but only to an extent. Any vehicles or objects close to the back of the trailer will be difficult to see.
- The truck’s rear-right quadrant – Truck drivers have greater visibility on their left sides because that’s where they sit, making it slightly easier to see what’s happening around them. But because a truck driver sits farther away from their side-view mirrors on the right side, they don’t have as good an angle to see what’s happening. That is partly why many trucks have stickers on the back warning other drivers about dangerous right turns.
Causes of Blind Spot Crashes in Denver, CO
Truck drivers are supposed to be aware of their blind spots and take appropriate precautions. However, blind-spot truck accidents still happen with alarming frequency. Some causes of these accidents include:
- The truck driver doesn’t have the necessary training, experience, or qualifications.
- The truck isn’t equipped with mirrors that minimize blind spots.
- The truck driver didn’t take the time to align their mirrors properly.
- The truck driver wasn’t watching for other traffic.
- The truck driver didn’t check their blind spots before changing lanes or merging.
- The truck driver was distracted.
- The truck driver was severely fatigued.
- The truck driver was impaired by alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications.
- The truck wasn’t equipped with accident-avoidance systems.
Common Types of Truck Blind Spot Accidents
The four most common types of truck blind spot accidents are:
- Trucks rear-ending other cars – Trucks take much longer to slow down and stop than lighter vehicles, so if a vehicle directly in front of a truck stops suddenly and the truck has too little following distance, the truck will likely be unable to avoid hitting the other car from behind.
- Trucks being rear-ended by other cars – Because truck drivers cannot see directly behind them, it’s extremely dangerous to drive right behind the truck’s trailer. If the truck has to stop suddenly, a car behind it can easily collide with the back of the trailer. Trucks can also easily back into other vehicles for that reason.
- Sideswipe accidents – Also known as side-impact collisions, a sideswipe accident is when a truck collides with the side of another vehicle traveling in the same direction. In many cases, these accidents happen because the truck driver didn’t check their blind spot or couldn’t see another car in a blind spot.
- Underride accidents – An underride accident is when a truck collides with another vehicle, and the other vehicle becomes stuck under the trailer. It can happen if the truck has to stop suddenly or the truck driver isn’t careful when changing lanes or merging.
Blind Spot Accident Statistics
According to recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in one recent year, 949 fatal truck accidents and 33,000 injury crashes nationwide were attributed to the truck’s movement prior to the crash. While this does not directly indicate that all these crashes are blind-spot accidents, many blind spot crashes are caused by trucks moving or changing lanes without checking to see if it’s safe.
Who Is at Fault for a Truck Accident Caused by a Blind Spot?
Two key parties could potentially be at fault for a truck blind spot accident. The first is the truck driver, as it’s ultimately up to them to make sure it’s safe before merging, changing lanes, or making a turn. If the truck driver was distracted, impaired, fatigued, or careless, they could be held liable for a crash.
The other party who may be liable for a truck blind spot accident is the trucking company. Trucking companies are supposed to make sure their drivers are well-trained and fully qualified to handle a vehicle of that size. They’re also supposed to monitor their drivers for unsafe driving behavior, including any possible drug or alcohol abuse. If the trucking company failed in any of these responsibilities, they could be held liable for an accident.
If the truck driver was an employee of the trucking company – regardless of the title – the trucking company would likely be vicariously liable for the trucker’s negligence.
Contact Our Experienced Denver Truck Accident Lawyer Today
The Olson Law Firm, LLC, is committed to helping Denver truck accident victims pursue the money they need to move forward after a crash. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.