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If you spend any time advocating for highway safety, you will often research and analyze traffic accident statistics. Many people do not concern themselves with these things until, of course, a "never event" ("it will never happen to me") happens to them. If you check the statistics or you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a "big rig", you may know that there are over 500,000 truck collision every year in the US, with roughly 5,000 fatalities. Of course, not a single injury or a single death is "acceptable", but the important question to ask is: how can we reduce the frequency of these accidents and the number of fatalities?

Many truck accidents happen on the weekend and in rural areas of the US; they are caused by a host of different reasons. The top reasons, those cited in most accident reports, involve the driver of the semi or "big rig". Driver fatigue, even falling asleep at the wheel, drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (any kind of drugs), drivers failing to obey the rules and regulations of the road, drivers failing to properly load their truck or secure their properly, distracted driving, reckless driving, inadequate training, and equipment failure top the list of those causes attributable to the trucker or trucking industry.

There are other reasons for big rig crashes; many of these characteristics can be attributed to the drivers of cars that encounter big rigs, especially, reckless driving and driving under the influence. Obviously, in an encounter with a big rig, the smaller vehicle gets the worst of any accident. Therefore, the drivers of automobiles must be vigilant and alert, careful, sober and drug free. People do not like driver next to or behind big rigs. They are often careless in their attempts to get away from these vehicles. This "carelessness" can be fatal. And, he bigger the truck, the more damage it can do.

There are mini trucks (think micro-vans), light trucks (minivans, pickups, tow trucks), medium trucks (flatbeds, fire trucks, motor homes), heavy trucks (dump and garbage trucks, tractor trailers) and very heavy trucks (heavy haulers). An automobile driver must understand that even being hit by a smaller version of the larger behemoth will cause significant damage; a truck’s weight and speed will determine the severity of impact and likelihood or injury, serious injury or death.

So, the message to the big rig operators, who are among the greatest drivers in the world, please do your best to avoid the conduct listed in paragraph two, above. The life you save may be your own, but, even if it is not, if an automobile driver is killed as the result of your negligence, your life will never be the same. And you automobile drivers: You know who you are. You are the guys that tailgate big rigs so that they can’t see you in their rear view mirrors, the guys that weave in and out of traffic trying to pass a truck, the guys that speed, dangerously, because a truck is nearby and they wish to avoid it, the guys that drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Please, share the road, drive safely, and don’t mix driving with alcohol or drugs. Sharing the road, driving within its rules, drug and alcohol free will go a long way toward preventing you from becoming a statistic, yourself.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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