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Truck Accident: With More Small Cars, the Carnage Will be Worse

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Marysville, WAThe unhappy dynamic of a small car coming into contact with a large truck in a truck accident is best illustrated by the horrific pictures posted online of the aftermath of a collision between a small compact car and a large semi. The truck effectively ran over the car and crushed it so badly that the only recognizable parts remaining were a taillight, a tire and a steering wheel.

The rest looked like it had gone through a compactor at the local wrecking yard.

Only this time, there was someone in that car.

Small Car AccidentIt would be a nice thought, given the weight differential between cars and big rigs, together with the increase in truck traffic on the nation's roads, if all highways were separated by concrete barriers that would act as a buffer in the event one vehicle encroached another's lane. Sadly, this isn't the case.

Equally worrisome is the fact that soaring gas prices are resulting in an increase of smaller cars on the road. Until now Americans gravitated towards large pickup trucks and SUVS because they felt more safe driving them, especially in the presence of behemoths hauling tons of cargo just on the other side of the yellow line. But economics are driving Americans to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.

It only succeeds in making an already worrisome situation, worse.

When that log truck broke apart and spilled its contents onto the roadway east of Marysville earlier this month, the SUV that was following it might have suffered a worse fate if the six people who were subsequently injured had been riding in a smaller vehicle.
As it was, the big rig's brakes malfunctioned, locking the wheels. When the rear axle broke away from the truck, the load of logs broke away from its moorings and tumbled onto the highway. The driver of the SUV, desperately trying to avoid the huge logs smashing onto the pavement directly in front, swerved and rolled his vehicle into a ditch.

The truck driver was, of course, unhurt and thankfully the occupants of the SUV were not seriously injured.

But what if those people were driving in a small, subcompact car—the kind of vehicle that motorists are gravitating to these days? What if one, or a series of those logs rolled onto the vehicle, crushing the occupants?

As it happened, there was a second logging truck accident the day before in Snohomish County. While the cause is unknown, a big rig carrying a huge load of logs lost its load when the logs somehow broke free. Thankfully no one was injured in that one.

But questions remain. Are these extremely heavy, and therefore dangerous payloads properly secured? Are the big rigs properly maintained to operate in an optimum fashion under the stress and strain of a full load? Are drivers properly rested, or are they cooking the logbooks and taking chances with not only their own lives, but also the lives of others on the road by pushing themselves without proper rest? Tired drivers are impaired drivers after all, and mistakes happen when you are weary. When you make a mistake with a vehicle weighing several thousand tons, the results can be devastating.

Many a truck driver, and his or her employer have been made to stand up in court and face the consequences of improperly maintaining their vehicles, flaunting the driver rule book with regard to rest breaks, or offering drivers incentives for performance that could prove economically beneficial, but patently unsafe.

And when a small car meets a big rig, the pancake that results is not from the truck…


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