large truck with smashed front end

Weighing the Impact: Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents

Understanding the Dangers of Truck Crashes

An estimated 500,000 truck crashes occur annually, putting drivers at risk all over the country. Although this is only about 12% of overall crashes, the dangers of being involved in these collisions are much greater. Here's why.

Force of Impact

A fully loaded truck can weigh over 40 tons (or 36,287.39 kilograms), making the force of impact that much more dangerous. Looking at this through the lens of Newton's Second Law of Motion (Force = Mass x Acceleration), the energy required to stop these large trucks is significantly greater than that of a car. In comparing this to a vehicle like the Toyota Camry (weighing about 1,630.67 kilograms), we can understand just how great of a difference this is.

On a standard North Carolina highway, the average speed limit is about 70 miles per hour (or 31.2928 meters per second). Here is an example of the difference between a truck and Camry's force of impact:

Truck: 36,287.39 kg x 31.2928 mps = 1,135,524.04 Newtons of Force

Car: 1,630.67 kg x 31.2928 mps = 51,028.23 Newtons of Force

If needing to come to an immediate, complete stop, a truck will have about 2125.29% greater force on the impacted surface than a car, causing a significant increase in your likelihood of becoming severely injured in one of these crashes.

Severity of Injuries

Because of the force of a large truck, the likelihood that one could sustain a potentially fatal injury increases. The National Safety Council estimates that in 2019, 160,000 injuries and 5,005 fatalities occurred in 123,005 truck crashes, about 70% of which were occupants of the other vehicle.

Driver Regulations and Liability

Truck drivers are held to a much higher standard than the average motorist, and that’s reflected in many of the regulations in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including:

  • BAC limits of 0.04%
  • Increased liability insurance
  • Driving hour limits

These regulations often come with more liability since these drivers are frequently contracted or employed by a company that may be held responsible for accidents that occur. This shared liability highlights the importance of driver responsibility and training.

North Carolina Truck Accident Attorneys

With more than 35 years of combined experience and millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts, the team at Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP is dedicated to helping you achieve the best outcome for your case. If you or a loved one was injured or lost their life in a truck collision, call (866) 380-2281 to discuss your legal options.


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