Truck AccidentBlind Spots and Broken Lives: The Devastating Consequences of Truck Mirror Misalignment

June 23, 20240

Commercial trucks are essential for transporting goods across the country. However, these large vehicles also pose serious risks to drivers on the roads, even for something as seemingly small as misaligned mirrors. Misaligned mirrors create large blind spots, preventing truck drivers from seeing vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians around them. The consequences of these blind spots are often catastrophic and heartbreaking. In this article, we’ll examine the dangers of truck mirror misalignment, the devastating injuries and fatalities that frequently occur, and what can be done to make our roads safer.

The Dangers of Misaligned Truck Mirrors

According to federal regulations, all commercial trucks over 10,000 pounds must have at least two rearview mirrors positioned on both sides of the vehicle. These convex mirrors are designed to provide a wide field of vision so drivers can see their blind spots. However, if these side-view mirrors are not angled properly, they create massive blind spots rather than eliminating them.

Studies show that the average blind spot for a commercial truck ranges from 10 to 20 feet on the right side and up to 200 feet on the left side. This means a misaligned mirror could prevent a truck driver from seeing an entire vehicle driving alongside them. Tragically, these hidden vehicles often end up under the truck’s enormous tires when the driver makes a right turn.

Misaligned mirrors also create forward blind spots, causing trucks to dangerously cut off smaller vehicles when changing lanes. The consequences are nerve-racking near misses or horrific collisions. Overall, misaligned mirrors make it extremely difficult for truck drivers to share the road safely with smaller vehicles.

Devastating Collisions and Loss of Life

Thousands of preventable collisions occur each year because of improperly aligned truck mirrors. According to the FMCSA, fatal truck crashes increased by 43% from 2009 to 2019. Furthermore, 70% of fatal truck accidents involve another vehicle, frequently a smaller passenger car. In many of these horrific crashes, misaligned mirrors that created large blind spots were a major contributing factor.

For example, cycling advocacy groups report that misaligned truck mirrors are involved in up to 40% of all truck/cyclist collisions. Cyclists are easily obscured in truck blind spots due to their small size, quiet vehicles, and tendency to ride near the side of the road. Similarly, smaller vehicles like motorcycles and economy cars can seem to vanish from a truck driver’s line of sight when mirrors are off.

The consequences of these collisions are tragic, often leaving victims permanently disabled or claiming their lives. Families are left to mourn loved ones and attempt to move forward from the life-altering loss. The emotional devastation of losing a loved one in a preventable truck accident is almost unimaginable.

Survivors Face Long Roads to Recovery

For victims who survive truck collisions caused by blind spots, the road to recovery is often long and painful. Disabling injuries such as amputations, brain trauma, internal injuries, severed spines, and severe burns require multiple complex surgeries over many years. The physical and emotional scars can last a lifetime.

Post-traumatic stress is common after surviving a serious truck collision. Many victims develop anxiety about driving or being near large trucks, which can severely impact daily functioning. Ongoing medical care and modifications such as wheelchairs, home healthcare, and adapted vehicles also cause financial hardship for families. Overall, the consequences of truck-related crashes are felt for decades.

What Can Be Done?

There are several changes that can improve road safety and help prevent needless injuries and deaths from truck mirror misalignment. First, frequent mirror inspections and alignment checks should be mandatory. Ensuring mirrors meet proper angle guidelines before each trip can eliminate dangerous blind spots.

Second, side turn assist technology that monitors blind spots should be standard equipment. Side-facing cameras and proximity sensors alert drivers to obstacles they cannot see. This technology can detect vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users hidden in blind spots, preventing many accidents.

Finally, driver education programs should emphasize checking mirrors and blind spots repeatedly while on the road. Defensive driving techniques help offset any remaining blind spots. With proper training and regulations, thousands of catastrophic truck collisions could be avoided each year.

The Role of Legal Advocacy

For victims of truck accidents, legal advocacy is crucial for obtaining compensation and long-term care. An experienced attorney can build a strong case proving the truck driver’s negligence and hold them accountable. They can also advise on recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses stemming from the crash. For families who lost a loved one, a lawyer can help fight for wrongful death damages and justice. This can include the following:

  • Financial compensation for measurable losses including medical expenses, income loss, rehabilitation costs, and property damage.
  • Compensation for intangible losses such as physical pain and emotional suffering, reduced quality of life, disfigurement, and mental anguish.
  • Extra compensation meant to reprimand and deter extreme negligence by trucking companies.

While no amount of money will ever be able to undo the harm caused by truck collisions, legal action helps victims and families recover financially so they can focus on healing. An advocate guides victims through the claims process and stands up to big insurance companies trying to minimize payouts. With an attorney’s help, those upended by truck crashes have a powerful fighter in their corner.

Misaligned truck mirrors continue to cause horrific motor vehicle crashes across the United States. While trucking plays a vital role in our economy, safety must be the top priority. Implementing stronger mirror alignment regulations, advanced safety technology, and improved driver training programs will help make our roads safer for everyone.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact the experienced attorneys at the offices of Daniel T. Pagliarini today for a free case review.

You can visit us at 700 Bishop St, Ste 2100, Honolulu, HI, 96813.

Or call us today for a free consultation on (808) 745-1592.

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