What are the Most Common Causes of Florida Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents are one of the most horrifying incidents on the road and often cause more damage than regular car-on-car accidents. This chilling fact is due in part to the sheer size and weight of eighteen-wheelers. An empty semi-truck weighs on average 35,000 pounds, and a fully-loaded truck can weigh as much as 80,000-pound payload. That’s a lot heavier than the average 2,000 pound car. However, the causes of truck accidents are usually the same as any vehicle crash.
Understanding the Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Florida is one of the United States’ premiere shipping hubs, so trucks are continually traveling these roadways to ports and destinations. Additionally, many tourists visit Florida’s scenic areas and vacation destinations. These drivers are often unaware of the roads, and that can lead to many incidents.
Trucks transport roughly 70% of freight in the U.S., and accidents involving trucks are far too frequent. According to The U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of truck accidents has grown by 11% since 2017. Roughly 1 out of every ten car accidents involves a heavy truck. There are many reasons for this trend but the simple fact is, when truck drivers make poor choices or truck service and weigh station staff operate without reasonable care, passenger car drivers are at risk.
Here are a few examples of some of the most common causes of Florida truck accidents:
Truck Driver Negligence
Federal and local regulations govern how commercial truck drivers operate. When a truck driver’s behavior does not align with these regulations, they put every motorist at risk. This behavior takes the form of many types of risky actions. For example, if the trucker hasn’t abided by the specific break and rest schedules set by their company and the federal government, they are endangering other motorists’ safety.
Trucking companies and their drivers have a responsibility to make sure their vehicles are operating in their best condition. They need to have them regularly inspected and maintained to fix any issues. Serious accidents can happen when parts of these large vehicles break down. For example, an error with the steering could cause the driver to lose control of their truck. Errors with powertrain, brakes, suspension, steering, connectors/hitches, and tires/wheels are some common problems we encounter. And most of these errors are preventable with proper maintenance.
As any motorist will tell you, slight changes in weather can turn an easy drive into a challenge. And extreme weather can compromise your ability to drive safely. Because of their massive size and weight, hard issues for a car are magnified tenfold for a large truck. When the roads are slick, the chance for jackknife accidents and hydroplaning increases. On dry surfaces, loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40% longer to stop than cars. This number increases on wet or slippery roads. A situation becomes even more precarious when a truck has poorly maintained brakes.
Most long haul truckers travel long distances for many hours without much rest between stops. Trucking companies usually mandate this tough schedule, and it results in overworked drivers. As a result, truckers get little quality sleep or time to recoup from their drives. Fatigue compounds on the driver and affects their concentration and coordination. In extreme cases, drivers may even end up falling asleep at the wheel. 44% of truck accident cases list fatigue as a “critical reason” for the crashes.
Over-Speeding and Overtaking
In 2017 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that breaking the speed limit was the number one cause of fatal truck crashes. Because truckers are often working under the pressure of tight deadlines, they may overspeed. Many drivers routinely drive 15-20 mph over the speed limit regardless of road conditions. This behavior means they are constantly darting around other law-abiding motorists. A reckless combination of overspeeding and overtaking creates dangerous circumstances. For example, when overspeeding, a driver has a delayed reaction time. So if they are overtaking motorists and an unexpected cause them to brake suddenly or change their speed, it can turn unsafe — or even fatal — quick.
Sometimes long haul truckers distract themselves with their cellphone while driving. Many truckers get bored while driving so many hours on the road, so they use social media or texting to interrupt the monotony. It ‘s illegal to text and drive in Florida and much of the United States. Distracted driving also includes seemingly normal activities like fiddling with the radio station, or chatting on the CB radio. Any activity that takes the driver’s attention off the road — even for a fraction of a second — can cause serious repercussions.
Alcohol and Drug Use
Many truck drivers use alcohol and impairing drugs while on the job. Usually, they do not carry these substances with them in their cab, but a surprising amount of drivers use these substances while driving. These substances alter their ability to drive because they affect a driver’s judgment and coordination. This negligent behavior leads to inevitable peril on the highway.
Poorly Secured Cargo
Cargo loading teams and truckers have to make sure they secure their loads according to industry-standard practices. Typically a driver and the team secure all cargo with a specific width, length, size, and height limits. Any oversight of negligence while loading a commercial truck endangers other motorists. When freight is improperly loaded, it can threaten other motorist’s safety quickly.
How our Florida Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
There are many causes of truck accidents in Florida. Whether it’s from machine failure or deliberate negligence, these causes can bring havoc into your life. A truck accident incurs severe, administrative, and even bodily costs.
You can trust Farah and Farah to help your case. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck in Florida, we can help investigate your claim to help you seek the compensation and justice you deserve. A personal injury claim or lawsuit could help you buy a new vehicle, get back to work, and pay for medical treatment.
Our truck accident attorneys have the compassion and experience needed to deliver successful results. Farah & Farah are here to fight for you.