truck on the highway

If you’ve ever sat in a traffic backup on Interstate 75 near Lexington, you may have wondered what the holdup was all about. Most likely it was a collision, and it’s quite likely that a large truck – a tractor-trailer, a semi-truck, or a tanker – was involved.

Kentucky State Police traffic accident reporting for 2019 shows that nearly a third of collisions involving large trucks occurred on interstates, and I-75 was the site of more collisions than any other cited location in 2019.

Interstate accidents produce more serious injuries because the vehicles are traveling at higher speeds. Overall, there were 23 fatal truck collisions and 418 causing injuries on interstates in Kentucky in 2019. Recently, the driver of a Ford F-150 pickup was killed in December 2020 when a tractor-trailer truck crossed the median on Interstate 75 near Williamsburg and collided, head-on, with the passenger vehicle. According to police, the truck driver lost control, and the crash caused the truck’s fuel tank to rupture.

The personal injury lawyers at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer help people injured in truck accidents in the Lexington, KY, area pursue just compensation for their losses. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, we can bring the Kentucky Courage necessary to stand up to trucking companies and their insurers and fight for justice and full compensation.

Contact us by phone at (877) 809-5352 or reach out online to speak to a Lexington semi-truck accident attorney about how we may help. Take advantage of this free legal consultation offer today.

How Highway Construction Contributes to Truck Accidents

Interstate construction projects, such as the ongoing I-64/I-75 widening project in Fayette County, create traffic slow-downs and backups. Mistakes happen when confused and/or inattentive drivers encounter construction zones. Accidents are most likely during weekday morning and afternoon rush hours or late at night due to darkness and fatigued or drowsy driving.

Interstate highway construction zones can be particularly dangerous stretches of road to share with 18-wheelers and other large trucks. The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse says there were 762 fatal crashes in construction zones in 2019, of which 247 (32%) involved commercial trucks. It says Kentucky had 27 deaths in truck-involved work zone accidents from 2010-2019, including three in 2019.

There are many ways a large truck may become involved in an accident in a highway work zone. In most accidents, the primary contributing factor is that the truck driver did not slow down appropriately when approaching a designated work zone. Large commercial trucks require about twice as much distance to slow down as passenger cars. Therefore, truckers must remain alert to traffic slowdowns farther ahead on the highway and begin to brake sooner than other drivers.

Highway construction zones are intended to slow down traffic and guide it around a section of highway under construction. Work zones should be set up according to industry standards adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation with four distinct segments.

What Work Zones Should Have?

  • Advance warning of the work zone ahead, with signals directing drivers to slow down and prepare to merge or detour
    A transition from open highway conditions to one where barriers, channeling devices, and signs help reduce traffic speed
  • A protected section stretching the length of work activity, with concrete barriers or other buffers separating traffic from workers, equipment, storage
  • A termination section where traffic resumes its normal route and gradually regains speed.
    Over the course of a project, highway construction zones will be moved and set up again as work progresses. This can cause confusion for drivers who regularly travel the route, such as commuters or interstate truckers.

How Trucks Cause Road Construction Zone Accidents

A truck that has not slowed down for a highway construction zone or a trucker who is not fully paying attention can cause an accident.

Common Reasons for Trucks to Get into Construction Zone Accidents

  • Speeding. A truck driver may be unable to adequately slow or stop if cars stop suddenly in a construction zone if the trucker disregards warning signs to reduce speed. A large truck can weigh 80,000 pounds fully loaded and at 55 mph – less than a truck’s typical highway speed – needs about 50% more room to stop than a passenger car.
  • Distracted Driving. Drivers distracted by cellphones, texting, eating, dispatch traffic, or daydreaming can miss the signs meant to alert them to changing traffic conditions ahead. Being just a second or two late to recognize the need to brake for slowed or stopped traffic can cause a large truck to get into a collision.
  • Fatigue. Truckers on the interstate are often long-haul drivers who work long hours. Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are meant to limit the time a trucker may spend behind the wheel without a defined break, but truckers sometimes ignore restrictions to meet delivery deadlines, get ahead of bad weather, or get home sooner. Fatigued and drowsy drivers who have not taken adequate breaks are slower to recognize and react to changing traffic situations. That can result in late braking or other errors that cause accidents.
  • Drunk / Drugged Driving. Truckers are randomly tested for drugs, and commercial drivers have much stricter blood-alcohol concentration limits than the public. While less common than with the general public, drugged and drunk driving does occur. A trucker’s drugged driving accident may be traced back to misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications that can cause impairment in reaction time or reasoning.
  • Cargo / Center-of-Gravity Shifts. Large trucks have higher centers of gravity than passenger cars, which makes them more prone to overturning. If something throws the truck off balance, such as shifting cargo, the driver can lose control long enough to get into a sideswipe collision or, in some cases, rollover or jackknife. A sudden lane shift or abrupt pavement change, such as at crossover slopes in a construction zone, can make a truck sway or rock enough for a driver to lose control.
  • Tailgating. Rear-end collisions are common in driving conditions that cause drivers to brake unexpectedly, such as for sudden traffic stoppages or confusion about diverted traffic flow. Truckers who tailgate vehicles may cause a collision and should be held accountable.
  • Late Merging / Failure to Check Blind Spots. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots surrounding their vehicles that make it difficult to merge quickly. Truckers who don’t position their rigs to merge ahead of lane closures can get into collisions because they do not have time to adequately check for other vehicles.

A truck driver who is negligent or reckless can cause an accident anywhere on Interstate 75, I-64, or any highway in the Lexington area. Our highway truck accident lawyers can investigate to determine who was at fault and who may be held accountable for the injuries and other losses you have suffered. We file multiple claims in some truck accident cases.

If the truck driver and/or some other party was at fault, we will work to obtain maximum compensation and make you financially whole again.

Compensations for a Highway Truck Accident Claim

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical care costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning ability
  • Damage to your vehicle
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress

Contact a KY Highway Trucking Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a highway truck accident in the Lexington, KY, area, it’s important to speak to a Kentucky truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. A highway work zone can be changed at any time, and a wrecked tractor-trailer and records related to the trucker’s activities can be destroyed and lost forever. An attorney can issue a demand to preserve evidence and obtain court orders allowing us to collect all information needed to support your claim for compensation.

The most important thing you can do after being injured in a truck accident is to speak to a knowledgeable attorney about the potential for pursuing a claim. A Kentucky Courage truck accident injury lawyer can investigate the case, advocate for justice for you and protect your rights.

At Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, we are dedicated to recovering full and fair compensation for victims of highway tractor-trailer accidents. Please contact us today for your free consultation. We do not charge a fee to investigate your accident claim, and our truck accident law firm only gets paid after we recover money for you.
Set up your free legal consultation now by phoning (877) 809-5352 or contacting us online.