New York State classifies highways as either Parkways or Expressways. The main difference between the two is that the law does not permit trucks and commercial traffic on Parkways. Within New York City, roads such as the Belt Parkway and the Grand Central Parkway are for passenger vehicles only. These roads are often narrow and have low overpasses. Many of these roads were designed by Robert Moses, who believed that roads should have many turns and curves. He designed roads to be more exciting and not allow drivers to lose focus.
Roads such as the Gowanus Expressway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and the Long Island Expressway, allow and were designed for trucks. Expressways have wider lanes and much higher overpasses. Expressways are generally straight with long sweeping turns to let trucks maneuver safely.
Tractor-Trailers are Limited as to Which Roads and Highways They May Use
If you look at a map of the five boroughs, trucks and tractor-trailers are very limited as to which roads that can use. Interstate 278 travels north over the Verrazano Bridge to the Gowanus and BQE through Brooklyn and Queens. I-278 then goes over the RFK Bridge to the Bruckner Expressway through the Bronx which leads out of the City. Traveling east and west the only real option for trucks in Interstate 495. I-495 goes from the Lincoln Tunnel, across 34th Street then on to the Long Island Expressway. The LIE is the only Expressway that extends through the length of Long Island. Trucks are allowed on other main roads on Long Island, like the Sunrise Highway, but the LIE is the only Expressway.
With trucks and tractor-trailers limited to these roads, driving in passenger vehicles can be at times frightening. The trucks can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, which is more than ten times heavier than the average passenger vehicle. Due to the size and weight of these trucks, they are less maneuverable. These trucks take a significant amount of time to stop. If presented with a sudden hazard on the road, they are unable to make quick moves or turns to avoid an accident.
Heavy or Dangerous Cargo Can Make Matters Worse
Another issue is the load that the truck is carrying. Flammable, explosive, or extremely heavy cargo can turn an already bad accident into an incredibly tragic and often fatal situation.
Over the course of more than 23 years of litigating tractor-trailer and truck cases, Marc Albert has seen a multitude of factors play a role in causing serious accidents. One of those factors is fatigue. Drivers are mandated by law to take breaks and can only work a certain number of hours. However, if a load is behind schedule, drivers do often drive longer than they should. Fatigue leads to much slower reaction times in a vehicle where reaction times are already quite slow.
Another issue we see with these 18-wheelers is improperly loaded cargo. If workers do not stow cargo properly, it can shift, causing weight issues. Shifting cargo will throw off the center of gravity of the truck leading a driver to lose control, causing an accident and injuries.
Truck Accidents Cause Serious Injuries and Fatalities
Injuries caused by tractor-trailers are rarely minor, given the extreme weight of the trucks. Another frequent issue that Mr. Albert has seen in his cases is tractor-trailers hitting cars from behind. This type of crash can cause catastrophic damage to a vehicle and the people in that vehicle. It could take over 350 feet for a truck to stop. That’s longer than a football field. If traffic suddenly slows or even stops, a tractor-trailer will not be able to stop or avoid anything in front of it, causing severe damage and injuries.
Some will say that they will avoid Expressways whenever possible to avoid sharing the road with trucks. They can be quite intimidating; however, altogether avoiding tractor-trailers while driving around the City and Long Island is nearly impossible. You have to be aware of your surroundings and give trucks a wide berth. Unfortunately, the statistics show that it is impossible to avoid crashes and accidents. If you are in an accident with a truck or tractor-trailer, you need to work with an attorney who is experienced with dealing with these types of accidents and who knows the laws related to these weighty and dangerous vehicles.
Marc S. Albert Has Significant Experience as a Truck Accident Attorney
Call the Law Offices of Marc S. Albert at 855-252-3788. Mr. Albert has extensive experience over his career of more than 23 years in litigating catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases from tractor-trailer and truck accidents. Call our office today for a free consultation.