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What Are Some Key Differences Between Commercial Truck Crashes & Car Accidents?

In New Jersey, understanding the differences between commercial truck crashes and car accidents is crucial. Both scenarios are unfortunately common on the roads, but they differ in significant ways. 

This article will simply explain these differences. You’ll learn about how truck and car accidents vary in size, laws, and what happens after the accident. For example, truck crashes can cause more damage because trucks are heavier.

They also have different insurance rules. Understanding these things is key, especially if you’re involved in such an accident or if you’re just driving in New Jersey.

What Are Some Key Differences Between Commercial Truck Crashes & Car Accidents?

Commercial Truck Crashes & Car Accident Statistics in New Jersey

In New Jersey, commercial truck crashes and car accidents are not just statistics; they reflect a pressing reality on the roads. Here’s a breakdown in simple terms:

  1. Frequency: Annually, New Jersey sees a significant number of both truck and car accidents. For instance, in 2022, there were over 5,000 accidents involving commercial trucks, and car accidents were even more frequent.
  2. Severity: When it comes to the impact of these accidents, trucks, due to their massive size and weight, often cause more severe injuries and damages compared to cars. A report from the New Jersey Department of Transportation indicated that truck accidents in 2022 resulted in a higher rate of serious injuries than car accidents.
  3. Locations: Specific areas in New Jersey are more prone to these accidents. For example, truck accidents are commonly reported on major highways like the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 95. In contrast, car accidents frequently occur in densely populated areas, such as the busy streets of Newark or Jersey City.

See also: Truck Accident Statistics

Important Distinctions Between Commercial Truck Crashes & Car Accidents

Size & Weight

When considering the differences between commercial truck crashes and car accidents in New Jersey, a key factor to consider is the size and weight of the vehicles involved.

Commercial trucks are significantly larger and heavier than cars. For instance, a fully loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, compared to an average car’s weight of about 3,000 pounds.

This substantial difference in size and weight means that when trucks are involved in accidents, the resulting damage can be much more extensive.

For example, on busy roads like the New Jersey Turnpike, a truck collision can lead to severe road damage and more complex rescue operations.

Injuries and Death

When comparing injuries and deaths in commercial truck crashes versus car accidents, key differences arise, primarily due to the size and weight of the vehicles.

  1. Truck Accidents: In New Jersey, large commercial trucks, like those on the New Jersey Turnpike, often lead to more severe injuries and fatalities. Their massive size and weight mean that when trucks are involved in accidents, the impact is significantly greater. According to the New Jersey State Police, in 2021, there were over 500 accidents involving heavy trucks, with a notable number resulting in critical injuries.
  2. Car Accidents: While injuries in car accidents, such as those occurring on local roads like Route 1, may be less severe compared to truck crashes, they are still significant and frequent. In 2021, New Jersey saw over 60,000 car accidents with injuries. Though smaller in scale, the injuries from these accidents, ranging from whiplash to fractures, can profoundly impact lives.

Rule and Regulation about Driver Training

Understanding the differences in driver training for commercial truck drivers and car drivers in New Jersey is crucial for road safety.

  1. Truck Drivers: Commercial truck drivers undergo rigorous training and must adhere to stringent licensing requirements. This is due to the complexity and size of their vehicles. For example, they must obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), which involves passing both a skills and knowledge test. The CDL manual, specific to New Jersey, outlines various driving situations and safety protocols that truck drivers must master.
  2. Car Drivers: In contrast, car drivers follow standard licensing procedures which include a written test and a basic road test. The New Jersey Driver Manual provides essential guidelines for car drivers, emphasizing road rules and safe driving practices. However, it doesn’t delve into the advanced driving skills required for handling large commercial vehicles.

Insurance Policy

When discussing the differences between commercial truck crashes and car accidents in New Jersey, a critical aspect to consider is the insurance policy.

  1. Truck Insurance: Commercial trucks typically have higher coverage limits due to their potential to cause more significant damage. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial vehicles must have a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance.
  2. Car Insurance: For regular car accidents, the insurance policies are more standardized. In New Jersey, the standard auto insurance policy covers personal injury protection, but the coverage limits are generally lower than those for commercial trucks. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance outlines minimum liability coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.

Investigation Issues

Understanding the differences in investigation processes between commercial truck crashes and car accidents in New Jersey is vital for anyone navigating these incidents. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  1. Truck Crashes (Complexity): Investigations into truck accidents are more intricate due to the involvement of federal regulations. They fall under the governance of laws such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, which cover aspects like driver hours and truck maintenance.
  2. Car Accidents (Simplicity): In contrast, car accident investigations are usually less complex, primarily dealing with state laws and local road rules. For instance, a collision on a busy road like Route 18 in New Brunswick would typically be resolved under New Jersey’s state traffic laws.

Roads Inspection

When exploring the differences between commercial truck crashes and car accidents in New Jersey, it’s important to consider their impact on roads. Here are some key points:

  1. Truck Impact: Commercial trucks, due to their significant weight, have a more pronounced effect on road conditions. These heavy vehicles can cause accelerated road wear, leading to issues like potholes and surface damage.
  2. Car Impact: In comparison, cars, being lighter, have a less detrimental effect on road surfaces. Highways and local roads, like those in Trenton’s suburban areas, maintain better conditions over time with predominantly car traffic.

Police Report

When considering the differences between commercial truck crashes and car accidents in New Jersey, a key aspect lies in the reporting procedures by the police.

Truck Accidents: Due to their sheer size and potential for significant impact, truck accidents necessitate detailed police reports. These reports often include intricate details about the truck’s condition, the driver’s qualifications and logbooks, and the circumstances of the crash. For instance, a truck collision on the New Jersey Turnpike, one of the busiest highways, would require an in-depth examination of factors like cargo load, truck maintenance history, and compliance with federal regulations.

Car Accidents: In contrast, car accidents usually follow standard police reporting procedures. These reports are less complex and typically involve noting the drivers’ information, eyewitness accounts, and any immediate observable factors leading to the accident. A typical car accident report from a local road in Newark or Jersey City, for instance, might focus on driver behavior like speeding or distracted driving, without the extensive checks required for trucks.

Driver Negligence

When comparing commercial truck crashes and car accidents in New Jersey, it’s essential to understand the role of driver negligence. Truck drivers often face fatigue due to long hours on the road, a factor that significantly contributes to accidents. Long hauls and strict delivery schedules can lead to exhaustion, impacting their reaction time and decision-making.

On the other hand, car accidents are frequently caused by distracted driving. This includes behaviors like using a cell phone, eating, or adjusting the radio. In New Jersey, crowded highways like the New Jersey Turnpike or busy streets in Newark see numerous instances of such accidents.

Statistics show that in 2020, driver fatigue was a factor in approximately 13% of commercial truck crashes. Similarly, distracted driving accounted for 10% of fatal crashes in the state.

Proving Truck Accidents Result in More Severe Injuries and Damage

When addressing the severity of truck accidents in New Jersey, key factors involve data collection, case studies, and an understanding of legal standards.

Data Collection

Statistics show a stark difference in injuries and damages between truck and car accidents. For instance, the New Jersey Department of Transportation reported that truck accidents in 2022 accounted for a higher percentage of fatal crashes compared to cars, despite fewer overall incidents.

Case Studies

In a severe truck accident in October 2023, on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, a car with a flat tire led to a tragic chain of events. A following vehicle stopped, but a tanker truck was unable to, resulting in a collision that ignited all three vehicles and led to the deaths of three individuals, showcasing the devastating impact of truck accidents.

Legal Standards

New Jersey law, under statutes like NJ Rev Stat § 39:4-96, treats truck accidents with greater scrutiny. These incidents often lead to more complex legal proceedings due to factors like commercial licensing and federal regulations on trucking.

See also: What are the Causes of Truck Accidents?

Hiring Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers After a Truck Crash or Car Accident in New Jersey

In New Jersey, hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer after a truck crash or car accident is crucial for several reasons:

Specialization

Look for lawyers who specialize in truck accidents. These professionals have a deeper understanding of specific challenges and nuances in such cases. For instance, on busy roads like the New Jersey Turnpike, truck accidents can be complex, requiring specialized legal knowledge.

Negotiation Skills

Truck accident cases often involve large trucking companies with robust legal teams. A skilled lawyer can effectively negotiate with these companies. Consider a recent case on the Garden State Parkway, where a lawyer’s negotiation skills led to a significant settlement for the victim. So, It’s vital to choose a lawyer familiar with both federal and New Jersey state trucking laws. Contact Rosengard Law Group for expert legal assistance in handling your truck or car accident case in New Jersey. Their expertise in these laws can effectively navigate the legal process, ensuring the best possible outcome for their clients.

Knowledge of Regulations

It’s vital to choose a lawyer familiar with both federal and New Jersey state trucking laws. For example, adherence to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is often a key factor in these cases. A lawyer well-versed in these laws can effectively navigate the legal process.

FAQs

Which Types of Evidence are Most Important in Commercial Truck Crashes and Car Accidents?

In commercial truck crashes and car accidents, the most important types of evidence typically include accident scene photos, witness statements, police reports, and vehicle damage assessments.

Which Types of Laws Apply to Truck Accidents in NJ?

In New Jersey, truck accidents are governed by a combination of federal motor carrier safety regulations and state traffic laws.

Conclusion

Understanding the key differences between commercial truck crashes and car accidents in New Jersey is essential.

From the size and weight of the vehicles to the specific laws and regulations governing them, these differences impact the severity of accidents, the legal proceedings that follow, and the strategies for handling them.

Being informed can help in making better decisions, whether you’re a driver, a victim, or a legal professional. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the nuances between truck and car accidents.

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