Kendall Dunson, a lawyer in our firm, has handled a number of lawsuits involving U-Haul trailers. Recently, Kendall saw a full size SUV attached to a 6 x 12 U-Haul trailer in a parking lot. When he did it was clear to him that a safety problem had been created. Kendall says it was easy to see that the U-Haul trailer was at least as large as the towing vehicle, and probably even larger. The amount of contents inside the trailer was unknown and without that information, it was impossible for Kendall to know the weight distribution between the loaded U-Haul trailer and the full size SUV. Even without knowing the weight, his experience with full-sized SUVs towing U-Haul trailers told him the driver of the SUV would put him or herself and others in danger if the trailer began to sway or fishtail while travelling at highway speeds.
Now imagine the same 6 x 12 U-Haul trailer attached and being towed by an even smaller or Crossover SUV. The size and weight disparity is even worse. Our firm recently filed two wrongful death cases against U-Haul and other Defendants. In each suit, a mid-size or Crossover SUV was towing a 6 X 12 U-Haul trailer. In one case, the driver was travelling on Interstate 20 in Alabama heading east. In the other, the driver was travelling north on Interstate 85. In each case, the U-Haul towing Crossover SUV left its lanes of travel, crossed the median and struck vehicles travelling in the opposite direction on the highway. The I-20 accident resulted in one death when the driver of the SUV struck an 18-wheeler. The I-85 accident left three dead as the U-Haul towing vehicle struck a Ford Explorer head on, resulting in the additional deaths of two passengers in the Ford Explorer.
Drivers and passengers of U-Haul towing vehicles are exposed to the risk of serious injury or death when the U-Haul trailer forces the towing units off the road. The occupants of other vehicles in close proximity are also put at risk when the towing vehicle goes out of control. Most folks who rent U-Haul trailers don’t have a clue what they are getting when it comes to safety.
In addition to the two wrongful death suits being filed, our lawyers have investigated reports of U-Haul trailers causing other Crossover SUVs to leave the road and crash. Fortunately for these other drivers and passengers, guard rails prevented them from leaving their lanes of travel and striking vehicles travelling in the same or the opposite direction. Given our experience with U-Haul incidents, these events are not surprising. What is surprising is that U-Haul would recommend and allow its customers to attach the largest trailer in its fleet to such small vehicles. We were able to confirm in one incident that the weight of the 6 x 12 trailer exceeded the maximum towing capacity of the towing vehicle even without any items loaded into the trailer. U-Haul’s practice of recommending and allowing their trailers to be towed by such small vehicles evidences a reckless disregard for their customers and for innocent citizens driving on our roads. We will keep you updated on these cases. If you need more information, contact Kendall Dunson, a lawyer in our firm, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Kendall.Dunson@beasleyallen.com.
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