Large commercial trucks are involved in numerous traffic accidents in the United States each year. Sadly, these collisions are often deadly for the occupants of the smaller cars. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that, in 2020, 4,842 fatal accidents involved large trucks. Many of these accidents were caused by the large truck’s blind spots.
The Dangers Presented by a Truck’s Blind Spots
A blind spot refers to an area of the road that a motor vehicle driver cannot see in his or her mirrors. Due to the length of a commercial truck’s trailer, truck drivers have larger than normal blind spots. There are four of them, known as the “No Zone”:
- In front of the truck by at least 20 feet.
- Behind the truck by at least 30 feet.
- On the left side of the truck by at least one lane.
- On the right side of the truck by at least two lanes.
Blind spots render a truck driver virtually unable to see smaller cars that are in them. This increases the risk of blind spot accidents, including lane-change accidents, sideswipes and underride accidents. These accidents can be deadly for the passengers of the smaller car, especially if the car gets wedged or stuck beneath the trailer.
Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident Involving Blind Spots?
If a blind spot accident occurs in Nevada, the person or party most at fault for causing the crash is who must pay under the state’s tort-based insurance law. Determining fault can be difficult in a blind spot accident. Motor vehicle drivers should not hesitate longer than is necessary in a truck’s blind spot. However, truck drivers have a responsibility to check their mirrors and navigate safely despite blind spots as much as they can.
Truck drivers should be aware of their large blind spots and the dangers that they present to other motor vehicle drivers. They should operate their trucks at safe speeds and execute lane changes slowly. Truck drivers should signal their intent to change lanes far in advance to provide drivers that may be in their blind spots ample opportunity to move over. Then, the driver should check all of his or her mirrors, including extra mirrors that may be installed on the truck. Only when the way is clear should a truck driver change lanes.
Trucking companies can be held vicariously liable for most accidents caused by their truck drivers. This includes truck drivers who are classified as independent contractors. If a truck driver is negligent in checking his or her blind spots or making a safe lane change, the trucking company can most likely be held liable for a subsequent accident. The trucking company could also be held accountable for its own negligence, such as failing to provide proper truck driver training or installing extra mirrors to reduce blind spots.
How to Stay Safe Around a Large Truck
You may be able to prevent a blind spot accident by staying out of a large truck’s No Zone. Avoid hovering in a blind spot; safely and quickly pass the truck at the earliest opportunity. Be especially careful when merging onto a freeway next to a large truck. The truck driver has a large blind spot to the right and may not see you. A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the driver’s face in the truck’s side mirror, the driver cannot see you.
Trucking companies often make it difficult for accident victims to obtain the financial compensation that they deserve during truck accident claims. The best way to protect yourself physically and financially is by consulting with a Las Vegas truck accident attorney. If you get involved in a blind spot accident with a commercial truck, contact Koch & Brim, LLP for help. We offer free case consultations.