As Missouri truck accident lawyers, we know that passenger vehicles are no match for fully-loaded semi-trucks. After all, semis can weigh more than 10,000 pounds, meaning they can weigh nearly 30 times more than the passenger vehicles traveling near them and they also require about 40% more time to come to a complete stop. When a trucker rear-ends an average passenger vehicle, the outcome is often catastrophic for passenger vehicle occupants.
Recently, six family members were killed on I-65 in Kentucky when a semi-truck rear-ended a Ford Expedition. According to FOX6 News, the Expedition burst into flames upon impact and then rear-ended the car in front of it, a Toyota Camry. Authorities say the deceased were all occupants of the Expedition: James and Barbara Gollnow, both age 62; their friend, 92 year-old Marion Champnise; their 18 year-old daughter, Sarina; and their two foster children, 10 year-old Gabriel Zumig and eight year-old Soledad Smith. Two other children - also foster children of the Gollnows - were able to escape the vehicle and survive the crash, but both suffered injury. The family was reportedly traveling home to Wisconsin after taking a vacation in Orlando, Florida.
The driver of the Camry was also injured in the accident, but the semi-truck driver was not hurt. Local police have not yet determined what factors contributed to the crash, but FOX6 reports that "distracted driving is among the causes being investigated." Police told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the truck driver said "he saw the vehicle that was in front of him and he hit the brakes and he didn't hit them in time...There was a reason for that and we're trying to figure out what the reason was."
Rear-end collisions involving semi-trucks: Facts and statistics
• According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,373 people were killed in 2011 accidents involving large commercial trucks. Of that number, 66% were the occupants of other passenger vehicles; 16% were pedestrians; motorcyclists or bicyclists; and 16% were semi-truck occupants.
• The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that 18% of all semi-truck crashes are rear-end collisions. Further, there are 50% more "truck-striking" rear-end collisions than "truck-struck" rear-end accidents.
• When faulty brakes are combined with a semi's required stopping distance, the result can be deadly. A FMCSA study of Michigan semi-truck accidents indicated that over 53% of semi-trucks that rear-ended other vehicles had a least one brake safety violation.
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