Dump Trucks and Cement Trucks Can Be Deadly in a Crash
Many drivers have experienced a moment’s anxiety while passing by a large dump truck or cement mixer truck on the road, or while stuck behind one; it’s unsettling how your vision is obscured by these vehicles’ considerable size.
Most people would probably dismiss this instinct as a form of paranoia and over-caution. In fact, though, your instincts aren’t misleading you in this case: dump trucks and cement trucks are dangerous vehicles that can prove very deadly in a crash, and you should exercise utmost caution when you drive around them.
Understand the Dangers of Cement Truck and Dump Trucks on the Road
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), dump and cement truck accidents caused the second most injuries and fatalities among all large commercial vehicle crashes in 2015.
Due to their weight and ungainly distribution of mass, cement mixer trucks (as most people call them — although the more proper name for them is a concrete mixer truck) in particular can roll over at shockingly low speeds — sometimes as low as 5 miles per hour. Once these vehicles roll over, they often spill their cargo onto the street and cause additional damage and injuries.
Dump trucks are also prone to roll-overs, and the time restrictions and deadlines placed on the drivers of both types of trucks encourage speeding and other dangerous behavior, furthering the likelihood of an accident. Cement truck drivers, in particular, are prone to speeding because the cement can dry within the truck. Since the driver wants to avoid this at all costs, they may cut corners and jeopardize their own safety as well as that of others on the road to make sure the cement gets to its destination quickly.
Keep an Eye Out When Sharing the Road with Cement Trucks and Dump Trucks
While you can’t completely eliminate your risk for a crash involving a cement or dump truck, you can at least reduce that risk by exercising extra caution around these vehicles (a measure you should take around large trucks in general, but especially around these massive, rollover-prone vehicles). Both types of truck are most likely to roll over while making sharp turns, so be sure to give them plenty of space on the road, especially near intersections.
Unfortunately, dump and cement truck crashes often result not from some intrinsic factor in the vehicle’s design or from mistakes made by passenger vehicle drivers, but from negligence on the part of the vehicle’s operator or their employer. The testing and requirements for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate these vehicles don’t demand or provide any experience on the part of the driver, so far too many cement and truck drivers have little to no experience operating the vehicle safely under a variety of real-world conditions.
Many devastating dump truck and cement mixer accidents result from operator behaviors like:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Driving inattentively or while distracted
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Operating a vehicle while fatigued or drowsy
- Failing to understand the vehicle’s limitations, including minding its blind spots
If you see indications of any of these dangerous behaviors, keep away from the truck as much as possible and notify the authorities if the driver appears to pose a safety risk to others on the road.
Also, be aware of the road conditions and your position relative to the truck, and take those factors into consideration as you approach or pass. Adverse weather often plays a role in dump truck and cement truck roll-over accidents, so put as much space between your vehicle and a cement or dump truck as you possibly can if you’re driving in snow, rain, or some other form of inclement weather.
What Happens When a Dump Truck or Cement Truck Crashes?
In the event of a head-on car-truck collision, passenger vehicle occupants are much more likely to suffer severe or even fatal injuries compared to the truck driver. This is not only because of the size of the vehicle but also due to the position of the occupants within.
A truck driver is seated considerably higher up than the passengers in a car, allowing him or her to escape much of the initial damage merely due to the fact that the car will not fully hit the cab. Since cars are so much smaller and closer to the ground compared to a large truck like a cement mixer truck or dump truck, the passengers are at a much higher risk for serious injury or death no matter what area of the vehicle the truck strikes.
Contact the Truck Wreck Justice Team for Help If You’ve Been Injured by a Dump Truck or Cement Mixer
Unfortunately, even the safest and most attentive drivers can become involved in a devastating crash due to someone else’s negligent behavior. If you or someone you love has been injured in a cement mixer/concrete mixer accident or other large vehicle crash, please call our office at (866) 580-4878 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation with our attorneys today. We offer free, no-risk initial consultations and contingent fee billing, which means that you will not have to pay any fees or expenses unless we’re able to achieve a financial recovery on your behalf.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (2017, April 7). Large Trucks and Bus Crash Facts 2015. Washington, DC: United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2015#A7