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What is a Bobtail Truck and Why is it Dangerous?

| Nov 3, 2019 | Truck Accidents

Semi-trailer trucks are not hard to spot on our roads and highways, with over 200,000 registered in Indiana alone, and more just passing through. Bobtail Trucks are vital to our economy, but they also pose a risk to the safety of other drivers.

Due to their massive size, semi-trailer trucks often cause catastrophic injuries when they are involved in collisions. As such, truck drivers require extra training and regulations to keep our roads as safe as possible. Nonetheless, truck accidents are still unfortunately common. The risk of an accident is even greater when the truck is bobtailing.

What is Bobtailing?

A semi-truck is in “bobtail” mode when it does not have a trailer attached. Truck drivers often drive a bobtail truck when they are on their way to pick up their cargo at the beginning of a shift, or after dropping their cargo off at the end.

Bobtailing should not be confused with “deadheading,” which is the term for hauling an empty trailer.

Why Are Bobtail Trucks Dangerous?

Although it lacks the bulky trailer behind it, a bobtail truck is actually more dangerous to other drivers on the road. This is counterintuitive for those who associate increased weight to increased risk.

The reason bobtail trucks are more hazardous is that they are more difficult to maneuver and brake. Truck drivers must take extra care when driving a bobtail truck to avoid accidents.

Trucks are designed to carry heavy trailers, which they do most of the time. Therefore, much of their braking power is in the rear axle, under the trailer. When a truck is in bobtail configuration, there is very little weight over the rear axle, and braking power is reduced.

Instead, the majority of the weight of a bobtail truck is over the front wheels, whose primary purpose is steering rather than braking. This makes bobtail trucks more susceptible to skidding out in tight curves or sudden turns.

For the same reason, bobtail trucks also often have a longer braking distance, even though they weigh less.

Driving a bobtail truck is especially dangerous on winding roads and in wet weather.

Bobtail Truck Accidents

Although truck drivers are held to high standards of safety, bobtailing is not against any laws. After all, every truck must travel without cargo at some point or another.

Additionally, while truck drivers are specially trained for the job, they often have less experience with bobtail trucks, which actually require more skill and expertise to drive safely.

The result is a higher risk of collision and harm to other drivers on the road.

What Are My Rights After a Bobtail Truck Accident?

Although bobtail trucks may be more difficult to maneuver, it is still the driver’s responsibility to operate their truck safely without risking harm to others. It is also the trucking company’s responsibility to make sure their drivers are well-trained and not rushed or overworked.

If you are injured in a collision with a truck because of the driver’s negligence, whether it is bobtailing or not, you can likely sue both the driver and their employer. Even if you were partly at fault, you may have a case if the truck driver shared in the blame.

Truck accidents can cause lasting injuries and even permanent disability. You have the right to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and reduction in earning capacity. You may also receive payment for your pain and suffering.

Truck Accident Attorneys in Indiana

The truck accident attorneys at Doehrman Buba Ring are experienced in every type of accident, including those involving bobtail trucks. Our team can guide you through the legal process and obtain the best compensation possible if you have been injured in a collision. To schedule, a free consultation does not hesitate to call our office at (317) 844-9999 or contact us online.