Trucking Accidents in Florida: Statistics and Causes
Trucking accidents happen all too often in Florida and cause significant harm to property, drivers, and passengers of other vehicles. However, trucks are necessary to ensure products are delivered throughout the state, so avoiding them is not an option. The best way to prevent accidents is to stay informed about safety guidelines and always practice safe driving. Learn more about trucking accidents in Florida, their causes, and what to do if you’re involved in a trucking accident below.
Trucking Accidents in Florida: An Overview
Trucking accidents are common and extremely deadly across the nation. According to the FMCSA, there were over 5,000 trucking accidents in the US in 2021, which resulted in 5,646 fatalities. The report also stated that 84% of these fatalities were occupants of other vehicles. Florida has the third-highest rate of fatal trucking accidents in the nation. It’s estimated that 60% of these accidents occur in rural areas, and 24% occur between 6 pm and 6 am.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Here are some common reasons why trucking accidents occur:
Trucks overfilled with heavy cargo are prone to jackknifing and rear-end collisions, which cause serious accidents and traffic problems. Truck drivers who fail to adhere to weight and height limits on roads and bridges are dangerous to drivers of other vehicles and can damage roadways. Loads that aren’t properly secured also pose a threat to drivers and create challenging clean-up processes when there’s spilled debris.
Distracted and Reckless Driving
There are many ways truck drivers can become distracted on roadways. However, distracted truck drivers are especially dangerous. The most common types of distracted driving are:
Fatigue. Trucking companies must follow regulations regarding how long a truck driver can operate their vehicle before resting. However, the pressure to make an on-time or early delivery entices truck drivers to push through their tiredness and continue to drive. However, driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving intoxicated.
Speeding. Speeding is one of the leading causes of car crashes and is especially dangerous for truck drivers. Trucks require a much longer break time than smaller vehicles, and speeding decreases the chance that a truck driver will be able to stop in time if traffic suddenly slows down.
Distracted driving. Truck drivers can become easily distracted while driving due to cell phone usage, eating food, and tuning the radio. Weather events, such as thunderstorms, can also distract truck drivers.
Inexperienced Drivers. Truck drivers must pass several exams before getting their commercial driver’s license (including a written and on-road exam). However, no test can prepare drivers for many of the daily driving situations they’ll encounter on the road. Lack of experience navigating different Florida terrains may increase the chance of accidents. Other driving mistakes like following too closely and failing to account for wide turns are also causes of trucking accidents by inexperienced drivers.
Failure to Maintain Trucks. Trucks suffer more wear and tear than smaller vehicles. It’s vital that trucks are regularly inspected and well-maintained throughout the year. However, the urgency to get on the road may cause some truck drivers to cut corners to keep their trucks in good condition or continue to drive even if there are known maintenance issues.
What to Do if You’re Involved in a Truck Accident
Getting medical attention for your injuries and seeking safety is the first priority after a trucking accident. Even if you feel fine directly after the accident, seeing a doctor is a good idea. You may not feel the full extent of your injuries until a few days later. At the accident scene, exchange insurance information with all parties involved and get a copy of the Drivers’ Exchange report provided by law enforcement. Note the make and model of the truck and the company that hired the driver. Take pictures of the crash scene and the damage. Once you leave the accident scene and have sought medical attention, you’ll want to notify your insurance to file a claim. Notate all expenses related to the accident, and keep records of all your doctor’s appointments and treatment plans.
Oldham & Smith: Experienced Accident Attorneys Fighting for You
If your expenses exceed what your insurance policy will cover, you may decide to file a lawsuit against the other driver’s insurance company for compensation for the rest of your expenses. Our experienced car accident attorneys at Oldham & Smith will help you get the compensation you’re entitled to for your injuries. Contact our office at (352) 744-7717 or schedule a free consultation with us online to discuss your case.