Study: How Do Bottlenecks Factor Into North Carolina Truck Accidents?

There is no denying how dangerous tractor-trailers can be – and how deadly accidents involving these massive vehicles are. The numbers of truck accidents continue to rise here in North Carolina and across the country. Almost 5,000 people are killed each year in truck accidents. Almost 110,000 commercial trucks are involved in accidents that cause injuries to more than 310,000 victims.

Truck Bottlenecks

It is estimated that there are approximately 13 million commercial trucks on America’s roads. As many drivers can attest, it is almost impossible to drive on any highway or main roads and not find yourself sharing your space with huge tractor-trailers.

While all these trucks are necessary for commerce – getting goods from point A to point B – the traffic jams they contribute to can be frustrating – and unsafe. A recent study conducted by American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) identified the top 100 truck bottlenecks in the country. One area in North Carolina made it on the list.

Coming in at #80 is the I-85 at I-485 (West) in Charlotte, NC, with the average speed at 52 mph, dropping to approximately 35 mph during the 5 pm evening commute.

Do Bottlenecks Contribute to Deadly Truck Accidents?

Although it would seem that traffic slowdowns would minimize the risk of fatal truck accidents, there are other factors at play that appear to do just the opposite. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic congestion is one of the most common factors cited in aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding and lane jumping. Getting caught in a traffic slowdown can cause tempers to flare and trigger dangerous driving behaviors.

This congestion can lead drivers – including truck drivers who are on stringent delivery schedules – to ignore traffic laws and safety rules – and end up ignoring speed limits once they move past the bottlenecks in order to make up for lost time.

Because of their size and weight, speeding trucks can be more dangerous than other speeding vehicles.

  • A speeding truck takes a longer time to slow down or stop. For example, a speeding truck may cause a rear-end accident if it cannot slow down or stop for traffic.
  • A speeding truck is more difficult to maneuver. For example, a speeding truck may have difficulty negotiating a sharp curve or sudden turn.
  • A speeding truck is more likely to crash in poor weather conditions. Truckers who don’t slow down on ice, in snow, or in wet conditions could have even more difficulty controlling their vehicle.
  • A speeding truck is less likely to avoid sudden road hazards or accidents. A significant number of truck accidents occur when speeding trucks can’t avoid stopping traffic, road debris, or an accident that takes place ahead of them.

It is important to understand that a speeding truck does not need to drive 80 or 90 mph to cause accidents or become a danger to others. As the recent truck accident study above found, even going a few miles above the posted speed limit for trucks may lead to crashes, collisions, injuries, and fatalities.

Contact a Carolinas Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a North Carolina truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. The legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families and we understand how complicated these cases can be. Our attorneys are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we may be able to help.