A number of recent large truck accidents have had devastating consequences to Florida families and communities.

semitruck3Among those incidents reported:

  • A 61-year-old beloved grandmother and high school security guard was killed on a recent Thursday morning when she was struck by a tractor-trailer as she attempted to turn left.
  • A 19-year-old driver was left in critical condition after he was struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 after his Toyota Corolla struck a concrete barrier and spun into the path of the truck.
  • A 47-year-old passenger of a pickup truck was killed in Leon County on Interstate 10 when a tractor-trailer driver crossed the median and struck the vehicle in which she was riding. The 42-year-old driver of the pickup is in serious condition. The 61-year-old driver of the semi-truck was not injured.

Unfortunately, such incidents are not uncommon on Florida highways. Trucking companies have a responsibility not only to properly vet drivers, but to ensure they adhere to hours-of-service rules to prevent fatigue and are regularly tested for drugs and alcohol.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a 4 percent increase in the number of large truck fatal crashes from 2011 to 2012 – from 3,781 to 3,921.

Of those who died in these crashes in 2012, nearly three-fourths were the occupants of other vehicles. Another 10 percent were non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.). Only a few were the occupants of the large trucks.

That same year, there were nearly 105,000 people injured as a result of 77,000 crashes involving large trucks, which represents a staggering 18 percent increase compared to the 88,000 injured in 2011. Here again, the vast majority of those injured were the occupants of the other vehicle.

You may have noted there were 28,000 more injuries than crashes. This has to do with the fact that many of these wrecks involve multiple injuries. In fact, 81 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks were multiple-vehicle crashes, as compared with 58 percent of fatal crashes involving smaller passenger vehicles.

In nearly one-third of fatal truck crashes, both vehicles sustained impact to the front of the vehicle, indicating a head-on or near-head-on collision.

Most of these wrecks occurred during the week, particularly during rush hour traffic, when roads were more congested.

Industry publication Merchants Fleet Management reported the top challenges to reducing the incidence and cost of truck accidents include:

  • Driver behavior;
  • Comprehensive fleet safety and accident policy establishment
  • Repair management

A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on causation in large truck crashes noted firstly that motor vehicle crashes are complex events and elements that may impact a crash could take place over hours, days or even months prior. They can include driver experience and training, vehicle manufacture and design, highway conditions, traffic signaling, weather conditions and traffic patterns – and that’s all before delving into factors like speeding, fatigue and intoxication.

Still, what they found was that in 87 percent of cases, driver actions were the core cause of crashes. Those factors ranged from falling asleep to medical emergencies to inattention to poor judgment to overcompensation/poor control. Specifically problematic for truckers were fatigue, interruption of traffic flow, unfamiliarity with the roadway and traveling too fast for conditions.

Our experienced Fort Myers truck accident lawyers recognize that because parsing out the causes of these collisions can be a monumental task, survivors and surviving family need a legal advocate examining the evidence on their behalf. This will maximize the possibility of securing compensation for the extensive injuries and losses that often result from these crashes.

If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.

Additional Resources:

Fatal tractor trailer crash leaves South Florida woman dead, Jan. 23, 2015, WSVN.com, 7 News Miami-Fort Lauderdale

More Blog Entries:

Heco v. Foster Motors – Product Liability in Auto Accident Cases, Jan. 22, 2015, Fort Myers Truck Accident Lawyer Blog