Big rigs making u-turns can cause serious, even fatal semi truck accidents. Many of these semi accidents occur on smaller highways where tractor trailers block the entire road as they turn. The possibility of a dangerous crash while making a u-turn has created questions as to whether there should be a ban on trucks making these turns.
It is a topic that has many truck accident lawyers undecided as to whether a ban would actually solve any problems or if there are other ways to look at this issue.
Why Ban Semi Truck U-Turns?
Big rigs making u-turns on smaller, often rural roadways creates a safety hazard for other vehicles traveling on the same roads. Semi truck accidents occur when other drivers unexpectedly encounter a tractor trailer blocking the road and cannot avoid hitting it. The situation is even more hazardous and semi accidents even more likely when truckers attempt their u-turns at night on roads that are either unlit or poorly lit.
There is no doubt that a big rig making a u-turn creates a dangerous situation. Some commercial carrier companies already have rules stating that their drivers cannot make u-turns. Yet many safety advocates feel that an actual law banning these turns is necessary. Still, as effective as outlawing semi truck u-turns may sound, there are others including truck accident lawyers who question if a ban would solve the issue.
Would A U-Turn Ban Prevent U-Turns?
Those who are opposed to banning semi truck u-turns to eliminate semi truck accidents caused by them have valid objections. Laws against obstructing the highways already exist, so a separate u-turn law would be repetitive and wasteful. Instead they feel the current law should be more strictly enforced to send a message that these turns can and will be penalized under obstruction statutes.
A second valid point suggests that even though drivers know these turns are dangerous and could cause semi accidents, many risk making them anyway. Given the choice of having to drive a long distance simply to turn around or making an illegal u-turn, many drivers will make the turn.
A new law threatening the same basic penalty as the existing law is not likely to discourage these drivers. Time and mileage costs money to drivers working under Hours of Service rules. An extra hour that can be avoided by making a u-turn will still be a draw to many if not most operators.
What Can Be Done About U-Turn Safety?
In the meantime, considering the fact that it is unlikely such a ban will reduce illegal u-turns, many truck accident lawyers who deal with these accident cases propose finding ways to make necessary u-turns safer. Increased trailer illumination is one proposal that would at least make trucks blocking the road easier to see.
Some industry experts argue that it would be costly to equip trucks this way. Yet doing so may save some lives if drivers are going to make the turns anyway.
Like many other long-debated issues concerning truck safety and how to reduce semi truck accidents, the argument over semi truck u-turns continues. Both sides of the debate on banning these turns make very valid points. In the end, the question asked by lawmakers, industry experts, and truck accident lawyers still remains: "What is the best solution for reducing semi accidents that occur when semi trucks make u-turns?"
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 410-5810