Maryland Car-Truck Collisions Caused by Insufficient Following Distance

Week in and week out, all across this great country of ours, hundreds of innocent people find themselves in the unenviable position of having to pay for medical bills resulting directly from injuries received in a negligence-related roadway accident. Here in Maryland, hundreds of motorists, vehicle occupants, bicycle riders and persons on foot are seriously injured each year as a consequence of the negligent actions of both passenger car and commercial truck drivers.

As Baltimore car, truck and motorcycle injury attorneys, the legal staff at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, understands how the suddenness of a serious traffic wreck can place a loved one in the hospital. Some victims find that not all of their doctor and hospital bills are covered by insurance, or that injuries sustained in a crash could mean months or years of recuperation or ongoing rehab. There is no reason why an innocent victim of a negligent driver should have to shoulder the financial burden as well as the physical and mental scars of a tragic and, most likely, preventable road accident.

At our law offices, we are dedicated to helping those innocent victims, as well as their families, recover what they are due under Maryland personal injury and insurance laws. While numerous kinds of motor vehicles are constantly involved in any number of injury-related or fatal wrecks, without a doubt a crash with a much heavier and more massive commercial motor vehicle (CMV) can often leave a victim fighting for his or her life in a hospital operating room.

The list of CMVs that can pose a significant risk to drivers and other occupants of passenger vehicles is lengthy; however, some of the more common types of commercial trucks include the well-known semi tractor-trailers, or 18-wheelers, auto transporters, box truck delivery vehicles, tanker trucks, and city or charter buses. Unfortunately, some drivers of commercial vehicles are not as diligent as others when it comes to safe driving practices, which can ultimately result in a serious roadway accident and tragic consequences for those people swept up in the crash.

One of the more simple and life-saving driving habits that anyone -- truckers and passenger car driver's alike -- can observe is the age-old practice of leaving sufficient following distance between one's car or truck and the vehicle ahead. Sadly, as evidenced in the dozens upon dozens of traffic accidents here in Maryland, many drivers either do not understand the reason for allowing a safe following distance, or they simple do not care about the potential consequences.

While the average motorist should know better than to tailgate or otherwise follow another vehicle too closely, commercial truck drivers have little excuse when doing the same. Unlike a typical passenger car motorist, semi tractor-trailer operators receive much more driving instruction when training to operate a big rig 18-wheeler in the real world. Even so, a large percentage of trucking-related traffic accidents take place here in Maryland because the trucker failed to maintain a safe following distance with the car, SUV or minivan traveling just ahead.

Allowing for sufficient following distance is critical to highway safety. Every driver should know this, as well as the fact that following distance can change based on traffic speed, roadway conditions, and the weather. Commercial truck drivers in particular should know the importance of maintaining a safe margin between his or her truck and the vehicle ahead. This is because 18-wheelers can and do take much longer to stop than most any passenger sedan, family minivan or SUV.

Drivers of big rig semis and other large and heavy CMVs should always follow other traffic at a safe distance to avoid dangerous and possible deadly rear-ending collisions. It should not be surprising, considering the fact that most fully-loaded 18-wheelers are between 10 to 20 times heavier than the average passenger car, that at beltway speeds a large semi tractor-trailer can require about one-third greater stopping distance than a smaller passenger car; in addition, weather conditions or a poor-quality road surface can often increase a truck's stopping distance.

Truck safety regulations (Section 392.14) established under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require commercial motor vehicles to be driven with extreme caution under situations involving adverse weather -- such as rain, ice, mist or fog -- because of the adverse effect it can have on vehicle traction or driver visibility. These regulations also require a trucker to reduce his vehicle's speed when encountering these kinds of adverse conditions.

Although most prudent truck drivers will work to maintain a sufficiently safe following distance, traveling too fast for conditions or in excess of the posted speed limit can still spell disaster, especially when adverse conditions indicate otherwise. A negligent commercial trucker who follows other vehicles too closely can invite a serious accident leading to critical injuries or even death.

As Baltimore auto and truck accident lawyers, the skilled attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen know that trucking-related injury accident cases are far different than a typical traffic collision involving only passenger cars. Our legal team has the skills and training to assist victims of commercial trucking accidents. We understand the importance of collecting critical evidence that can make all the difference in a successful trucking-related personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

We know that these kinds of commercial vehicle accidents can cause not only physical injuries, but psychological ones as well. Our staff takes into consideration all aspects of a victim's injuries when preparing any claim. When litigating such claims, we fight for recovery of all damages, even those that have yet to impact the victim and his family. Long-term hospitalization, extended rehabilitation, psychiatric counseling and even life-long nursing care should all be considered when filing a trucking-related personal injury lawsuit.

If you or someone that you love has been injured a commercial truck wreck, we highly recommend that you consult with a qualified trucking accident attorney as soon as possible. Choosing a lawyer with years of experience handling Maryland auto and trucking injury lawsuits will be your best approach. If you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit, please contact Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen by calling (800) 654-1949, or via email, so that we may set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.