Blind Spot Truck Accidents
Thousands of Californians share the road daily with tractor-trailers and large commercial trucks, a situation that presents a potential hazard. These substantial vehicles come with blind spots that heighten the likelihood of accidents involving car drivers and motorcyclists. If a truck driver abruptly hits the brakes or changes lanes without recognizing a smaller vehicle in their blind spot, it has the potential to lead to a significant accident.
A blind spot refers to the area around an automobile that is not visible to the driver even while using side or rearview mirrors.
Commercial trucks have multiple large blind spots (also known as 'no zones') because of their vast size. Blind spots are in front of the truck, just behind and below the driver-side window, and right behind the trailer, among other positions. Due to the truck's massive size, it is possible for a driver to completely miss another vehicle behind the truck.
Truck drivers undergo specialized training emphasizing the importance of regularly checking their side and rearview mirrors while driving, specifically designed to mitigate this risk. This practice allows them to monitor smaller vehicles and ensure they remain visible, avoiding entry into their blind spots. Nonetheless, if a truck driver becomes careless, fatigued, or distracted, the potential for misjudging a blind spot increases significantly, resulting in catastrophic consequences for the occupants of smaller vehicles.Four Major Blind Spots of a Commercial Truck
Front of the Truck
A blind spot exists at the front of the truck, spanning 15 to 25 feet from the front bumper. This blind spot is attributed to the truck's elevated hood, and cars and motorcycles should steer clear of this zone to mitigate the risk of collisions.
Rear of the Truck
The blind spot behind a truck spans a distance of 150 to 225 feet from its rear bumper. Cars and other vehicles must steer clear of this area since the truck's size obstructs their line of sight, rendering it impossible to discern the traffic ahead. In such circumstances, if the truck driver abruptly applies the brakes, a car positioned in the rear blind spot may have scant time to respond.
Left Side of the Truck
The blind spot on the left side of the truck commences from the driver's door and extends towards the middle section of the trailer. Drivers of other vehicles must refrain from lingering alongside the left side of the truck, as the truck driver may not have visibility of their presence within this blind spot. It is advisable to pass the truck at a consistent and deliberate pace.
Right Side of the Truck
The blind spot on the truck's right side starts from the front and goes back to the rear. The right-side blind spot is bigger than the one on the left side. Other vehicle drivers should never pass the truck on its right. At the intersections, it is essential to be more alert. If the truck makes a wide right turn while a car tries to squeeze by, it would increase the risk of a collision because of the large blind spot on the truck's right side.
The animated video below provides a detailed look at a truck's dangerous blind spots.Truck Drivers are Responsible for Safety
When a truck hits a car while changing lanes, the defendant may try to claim that the car driver was partly at fault for being present in the truck's blind spot. Similar arguments are often put forward in rear-end collisions between a truck and another vehicle. However, just because you were driving in the truck's blind spot when your vehicle was hit or sideswiped does not necessarily mean that you have to bear a part of the blame.
The truck driver is trained to identify vehicles before they enter their blind spot, drive slowly while making a wide turn, maintain the speed limit, switch lanes safely, and exercise more caution if they see someone entering their blind spot.
A truck must not swerve in front of another vehicle for any reason or apply brakes suddenly without reason, as these actions could cause a rear-end collision. A 'Mansfield Bar' should also be installed on the truck's back to minimize the risk of under-riding in a rear-end collision.Establishing Liability in Blind Spot Collisions with Trucks
In cases where a smaller vehicle collides with a truck within the truck's blind spot, the car's occupants may suffer severe injuries. If negligence on the part of the truck driver is found to be the cause of the accident, the truck driver could be held responsible for the injuries sustained by the victims. The essential components necessary for demonstrating negligence encompass the following:
- The truck driver's obligation to exercise reasonable care
- Violation of this duty by the truck driver
- Establishing the direct and immediate cause of the accident
- The resultant personal injury suffered by the victim
An experienced Sacramento truck accident lawyer will also evaluate whether the at-fault driver's employer (the trucking company) may share liability for the accident. The lawyer will work hard to establish evidence through eyewitness accounts, trucker's logs, and employment records of the trucking company.
Under California law, the vicarious liability theory may sometimes apply to hold the trucking company responsible for the victim's personal injury. If the truck driver acted negligently while driving in the employer's interest and within the scope and the course of employment, the trucking company could be held vicariously liable for the accident.
The trucking company could also be held directly liable for the victim's injuries if the company was aware of the truck driver's past track record of ignoring blind spots or otherwise driving dangerously or hired the driver while knowing about the driver's deficient operating skills. The legal theories of negligent supervision or hiring could apply in these cases.Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer
You have a right to be compensated for your personal injuries occurring in a blind spot truck accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver. Call me today for free, friendly advice at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400.
Editor's Note: updated 11.22.23 Photo by VanveenJF on Unsplash br cha [cs 1031]