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A semi-truck and a pickup truck collided killing the driver of the pickup truck near Owingsville. According to an Owingsville police officer at the scene, the driver of the semi-truck crossed over the centerline and hit the pickup truck head on taking both over an embankment.

The accident happened in the westbound lanes of I-64 near mile marker 120 Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The driver of the pickup died at the scene, and the truck driver was uninjured. It’s not clear why the semi-truck crossed the centerline, but alcohol was not suspected to be a factor.

Semi-Trucks and Head-On Collisions

A head-on collision is the deadliest type of crash according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and when a semi-truck is involved, the chances of a tragedy go even higher. Semi-trucks are big and heavy weighing as much as 80,000 lbs fully loaded. The average passenger car weighs around 3,500 to 4,000 lbs, and thus is outweighed by at least 20 times.

In a head-on collision, the mass and momentum of both vehicles contribute to the impact, and when most of the damage will occur to the smaller of the two vehicles.

Causes of Semi-Truck Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions happen when one of the vehicles crosses the centerline of a highway into the direct path of another vehicle. There are many reasons why someone crosses the centerline, but there are some reasons common to semi-trucks and other big rigs. According to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, some of these are:

  • Drowsy Driving: Under federal law, truck drivers must log certain hours of rest between driving shifts, but many drivers don’t follow these and become drowsy.
  • Impaired Driving: Federal law prohibits truck drivers to have a bac of .04 or more, which is half of the level for passenger drivers. However, impairment is still a factor in many truck crashes.
  • Faulty Equipment: Bad brakes, broken axles and other equipment malfunctions can cause a truck to swerve or veer over the centerline.
  • Avoiding Cars/Objects: In a small percentage of head-on collisions, the truck driver swerved to miss another car or object in the road.

How to Avoid a Head-On with a Semi-Truck

Head-on collisions typically happen quickly not giving the other car to even swerve to avoid the crash. However, despite this, there are some steps drivers can take to lower their risk of getting into a head-on with a semi-truck or at least surviving one.

  • Stay alert: If you keep vigilant you can spot disaster before it happens and may be able to miss the collision altogether or at least avoid a direct head-on impact.
  • Don’t pass in no-passing zones: Some semi-truck head-ons happen when the motorist is passing another car. Pass by using commons sense and obeying the laws of the road.
  • Wear Seatbelt: Your chance of survival in a car crash goes up considerably—even in a head-on with a semi-truck—when you wear your seatbelt.

Do I need an Attorney?

If you are injured by a semi-truck or other large commercial truck, you might wonder if you need an attorney. The truth is, many times you don’t. However, if you don’t have someone looking out for your interests, then you are left with relying on the insurance company to treat you fairly. It is the insurance agent’s job to pay you as little as allowed.