According to various studies that evaluated the causes of traffic accidents, left hand turns are ranked among the most dangerous maneuvers that any vehicle can perform. The Washington Post reports that federal data suggests that left hand turns result in over 50% of crossing-path accidents. In New York City, it was determined that left turns were three times more likely to result in deadly pedestrian accidents. Traffic engineers are well aware of the increased left turn risk and try to mitigate these risks by lowering the number of allowed left turns, particularly in congested areas.
Trucks pose a particular risk when making left turns. The National Traffic Safety Institute notes that trucks require a larger turning radius when making any turn. When large trucks turn left in a traffic intersection, the space they require may involve the use of many lanes of traffic. Other vehicles may need to stop, yield, or even move to accommodate the turning truck. Given that left turns are known to be risky and that traffic engineers loathe them, one wonders whether trucks should be legally allowed to make left turns in Mobile, Alabama? Could the implementation of left turn restrictions for trucks prevent accidents? Could stricter laws reduce the need for truck accident personal injury litigation?
The idea of a left turn restriction is not as outlandish as it may initially seem. UPS, one of the country’s largest shipping companies actually reduced—and in some cases, eliminated—the number of left turns its trucks were allowed to perform. The result? Savings in gas and efficiency. UPS found that by reducing the number of left turns on its trucks’ routes, it could save money in gas and ship goods in a more efficient manner. More importantly, by avoiding left turns, UPS made its fleet safer, reducing one accident risk factor for its trucks.
If UPS could do it—why can’t other large truck companies do the same? Not all truck companies have the ability to analyze all routes for efficiency. In order to get all trucks to avoid left turns, the law may have to step in.
While it isn’t likely that left turns can be avoided in all instances in Mobile, Alabama, by making left turns for trucks illegal on congested streets, roadways may be made safer. Laws that restrict left hand turns also reduce traffic blockages that occur when cars cross traffic during light changes.
Given that it isn’t likely that the law will step in anytime soon to prevent trucks from making left turns, drivers need to use caution when driving around large trucks at intersections. According to the National Traffic Safety Institute, if you cannot see the driver of the truck in the truck’s mirrors, the driver may not be able to see your car. This is especially important to keep in mind at intersections where a turning truck may not see your car.
Truck drivers have a responsibility to follow local and federal regulations in Mobile. If you’ve been hurt on the road, a truck accident lawyer may be able to assist you in receiving the recovery you need to move forward with your life. Contact The Law Office of Gary W. Fillingim, LLC at 251-445-7257.