The year 2021 witnessed the second-highest number of truck accidents in Pennsylvania since 2005. Two thousand and twenty-one also brought the second-highest number of fatalities in the past 5 years, causing 144 deaths.
Not all truck accidents involve big-rigs. Our roads and highways are regularly traversed by construction vehicles. Although they’re smaller than 18-wheelers, these vehicles can be as just as deadly.
Two construction vehicles commonly seen on the road are dump trucks and concrete mixers.
Dump trucks are very large vehicles that are often used to deliver and haul away enormous amounts of materials for a job site. Fully loaded, these powerful vehicles can weigh close to 30 tons. Dump trucks are plagued by blind spots, presenting an ever-present danger to nearby motorists. Payloads can also present perils. Flying debris from uncovered cargo can hit other cars injuring occupants or causing an accident. Unbalanced cargo can result a dump truck rolling over and spilling its load.
Uneven roads make this more likely.
These bulky trucks and their sloshing payload can tip the scales at an incredible 70,000 pounds. Like dump trucks, the visibility from concrete mixers is limited. These trucks are even more prone to tipping. (Mixer trucks can reportedly roll over at speeds as low as 5 mph when making 90-degree turns.) The instability problem is exacerbated when the driver of the concrete mixer truck feels pressured to rush to the job site. (The contents of the mixer can harden within 60 to 90 minutes of being loaded.) As the result of a collision, concrete trucks frequently lose their contents out onto the street, leading to a multi-vehicle accident.
Construction Equipment in Work Zones
Work zones are hives of activity populated by tons of off-road motorized construction equipment. These pieces of equipment do not meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) definition of a “motor vehicle” and “commercial motor vehicle” as used in 49 CFR § 383.5 and 49 CFR § 390.5. The definition of off-road motorized construction equipment is narrowly construed and limited to “equipment which, by its design and function is obviously not intended for use, nor is it used on a public road in furtherance of a transportation purpose”.
Occasionally driving such equipment on a public road to reach or leave a construction site does not amount to furtherance of a transportation purpose. Since construction equipment is not designed to operate in traffic, it should be accompanied by escort vehicles or in some other way separated from the public traffic.
Examples of off-road motorized construction equipment include motor scrapers, backhoes, graders, compactors, tractors, trenchers, and bulldozers.
Motorists travelling through work zones need to be alert for construction vehicles entering and exiting the job site, including behemoth, oversized tractor-trailers that transport massive construction equipment.
Jonathan Comitz and his team at Comitz Law possess the legal knowledge and experience to successfully navigate through the complexity of large truck – passenger vehicle accidents.
Truck accident injuries
Given the enormous weight disparity between vehicles, collisions between passenger cars and heavy trucks often result in catastrophic injuries which include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
Causes of crashes
Construction vehicle crashes can have numerous causes, a few of which include:
- Uneven weight distribution
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance
- Driver negligence
Unlike a simple two car collision, accidents involving construction vehicles may have several potential defendants including:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The cargo-loading company
- The maintenance company
- The parts manufacturing company
If you’ve been injured in a construction vehicle accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, call Comitz Law at 570-829-1111 or email email@example.com.