An El Paso Attorney Discusses The Risks Posed By Longer Semi Trucks

double articulated truck

You may have occasionally seen them on some major roadways in greater El Paso: large commercial trucks carrying two trailers, particularly twin tandem trailers, each with a standard length of 28 feet. If some lawmakers have it their way, longer semi-trucks will become the norm.

Proponents of bigger trucks claim that they will provide more efficiency when it comes to moving commercial goods while placing fewer trucks on the road. In fact, many of them are pushing to increase the length of twin tandem trailers to 33 feet, which would increase the total length of the truck by 10 feet. Opponents, on the other hand, are concerned about the safety risks longer trucks will pose to passenger vehicle drivers, particularly because the amount of space they take up.

El Paso roadways already experience unusually high congestion, with large trucks accounting for much of the traffic volume. This is especially problematic on Loop 375 near the Zaragoza International Bridge. To mitigate this problem, the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority is currently devising an infrastructure change that will draw truck traffic out of Loop 375.

Risks posed by longer trucks

Large commercial trucks alone take up a great deal of space on El Paso roads. When fully-loaded, they can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. and can cause serious devastation to multiple road users during a crash. Now add 10 more feet and another 11,000 lbs. Under the proposed rules, double-trailer trucks could weight up to 91,000 lbs. and pose an even greater risk to other road users.

For these reasons, this has many safety advocates concerned:

  • Longer stopping distance: A semi-truck that weighs 80,000 pounds can take the length of two football fields to stop when traveling at 65 mph, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). That distance is increased with additional weight.
  • Driver may not be aware of what is happening in the back end: A longer semi-trucks will have more and larger blind spots. Additionally, the driver may be unaware of defects or cargo spills that can occur in the back end.
  • More difficult to pass: Longer trucks are more difficult to pass, especially when traffic is congested. This can be dangerous to smaller passenger vehicles when lanes merge.
  • Rollovers can be catastrophic: The heavier the truck, the larger the risk of stability loss.
  • Collisions can be more severe: If a collision occurs, the impact can be much greater with 11,000 additional pounds of weight.

Building a solid claim after a truck accident

Operating a semi-truck with two trailers requires a great deal of skill and experience. Even then, mishaps can result in serious crashes. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, don’t attempt to handle your claim alone. You may have sustained serious injuries that require costly medical procedures and lengthy recovery time. Let a highly skilled El Paso attorney at Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC do the work for you. We have more than 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured motorists.

To schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation, contact us today.

Michael J. Gopin

Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. It was two weeks after receiving his license, when he represented a person whose life had been forever changed after being blinded in a work-related incident...


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