As a trucking accident lawyer, I am always amazed when I see tractor trailers tailgating other motorists – often at high speed on the New Jersey or Pennsylvania Turnpike or other major roadways in our area. According to data from the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course for Professional Truck Drivers, a fully loaded truck traveling at 65 mph will need approximately 525 feet in order to come to a stop. Compare that with the 316 feet needed by a mid-sized car traveling under identical circumstances, and you begin to get a picture of just how dangerous it is for the drivers of these big rigs to tailgate.
Big trucks pack a huge punch in an accident, and when their drivers fail to leave sufficient following distances, the results are never good, and often fatal. Take for example the accident on the NJ Turnpike on October 17, 2013, where a big rig rear ended a tour bus resulting in many reported injuries. The photos of the site, viewable here, show significant damage to the front of the truck.
If you’re reading this blog, I hope you will realize that you DO have the power to help stop the menace of the tailgating trucker! If you see a trucker driving in an unsafe manner, report it! Take down the truck number and call the company. If there is a 1-800 “how am I driving” number on the rig, call it! The behaviors of the unsafe drivers and the trucking industry will only change if the public demands that they change. And if you’re injured as a result of an unsafe truck, do yourself a favor – seek the help of an experienced trucking lawyer.