Truck accidents are common all over the US, but Florida has an exceptionally high rate compared to the rest of the country. Florida is one of ten states in the US that account for half of all fatal truck crashes. Damages can range from severe or catastrophic injuries to even death. Truck accidents are not like typical car accidents but instead have more severe outcomes due to the sheer size and weight of a truck. Consider the physics of an 80,000-pound truck colliding with a 4000-pound car. The vehicle occupants in the smaller vehicle usually end up with more significant damage and more extensive injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may want to hire a Florida truck accident attorney to help you get the fair compensation you deserve. This article will discuss some truck accident statistics in Florida and the most common causes.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
Year after year, Florida ranks as one of the top contributors to truck accident fatalities in the United States. Not only does Florida top other large states like Texas and California for semi-truck accident rates, but it even surpasses the national average.
Despite decreased driving in recent years due to the pandemic, Florida saw a record number of traffic fatalities in 2019, with an 8% increase from the previous year. For truck accidents, the statistics are even more shocking. The number of large trucks involving fatalities increased by 4% in 2019. Since 2010, Florida has seen a 36% steady increase in accidents involving large trucks, and injuries have increased a whopping 96%. In 2021, truck accident rates in Florida soared yet again and we saw a dramatic increase in the number of crashes. Some factors that may have contributed to this alarmingly high numbers include the large volume of people migrating to southern states, post-pandemic re-opening and rapidly growing warehouse industries.
Here are some additional statistics on Florida’s truck accident rates from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle 2020 report:
- Nearly 40,000 accidents in 2020 involved trucks
- Of those 40,000, there were 37 fatalities, 195 incapacitating injuries, 854 non-incapacitating injuries, and 1,978 other injuries that resulted from truck accidents.
The most affected in trucking accidents are smaller vehicle or passenger vehicle occupants. Due to the massive size and weight of a truck, which can be up to 20-30 times more than a regular car, the impact is far greater in a collision. Trucks also have underneath clearance, which means that smaller vehicles can get trapped underneath in the event of a crash.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Trucks are a crucial part of our economy that help transport goods and other essentials to and from various locations. Truckers are always on the road trying to meet deadlines for deliveries. The downside to this is that all their hours on the road increase the likelihood of accidents involving trucks. Here are some of the most common causes for Florida truck accidents:
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. You can often trace a vehicle crash involving semi-trucks to some form of distracted driving. All it takes is a few seconds for a distracted driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash. Common culprits for distracted driving include eating, cell phone use or texting, and changing radio stations. A driver can cause a collision if they take their eyes off the road for even one second. For this reason, truck drivers need to stay vigilant and keep their attention on the road at all times.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving a truck, semi-truck, or tractor-trailer under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in the state of Florida. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates a strict BAC threshold for commercially licensed drivers. While regular vehicle operators’ legal blood alcohol concentration threshold is .08%, commercial drivers are held to even more stringent standards. For commercial truck operators, the legal limit for BAC is less than .04%. In addition, they are not permitted to consume alcohol within 4 hours before operating a commercial company vehicle or while on duty. No matter who is driving or the circumstances, driving under the influence can have extreme consequences.
As we previously mentioned, truckers are constantly on the road. Unfortunately, so much time on the road can lead to drivers not getting enough sleep or adequate rest. Driving while tired is more likely to cause an accident due to slower reaction time, delayed reactions, and difficulty concentrating. A fatigued driver could even fall asleep behind the wheel. As such, Florida has regulations in place to prevent drivers from driving while drowsy. The FMCSA has mandatory rest periods that truck drivers must abide by. If a driver is caught breaking an FMCSA rule, they can be liable for negligence. If a driver caused an accident and is later found to have violated FMCSA rules, they may be obligated to pay compensation to truck accident victims. Your Florida truck accident attorney can discuss your legal rights with you.
Speeding is another common cause of Florida truck accidents. Many truck drivers will receive speeding violations at least once during their driving career. Consider the fact that a fully-loaded truck will need around 525 feet to stop when traveling at 65mph, while a regular car needs only about 315 feet to stop. Thus, truckers must give themselves ample space and time to slow down and make safe stops.
Other Causes of Florida Truck Accidents
Some other things that can cause truck accidents are poorly maintained vehicles or inadequate training and hiring by the truck company. In addition, a truck could have faulty auto parts. While the aforementioned are contributing factors to truck accidents, they only account for a small percentage. By far, the most common cause of truck accidents is distracted driving. In some instances, it might be possible that the driver of the smaller vehicle was liable. In that case, the truck driver should still consult an experienced Florida personal injury attorney.
Drivers can avoid truck accidents by using safe driving practices and following road rules. Here are a few tips for truckers and all other drivers to keep in mind while driving:
- Keep adequate distance between vehicles
- Stay alert while driving and avoid distractions
- Stay clear of blind spots
- Pull over carefully
- Do not drive while impaired or under the influence
- Get adequate rest before driving; if possible, avoid driving while tired
With the alarming truck accident rates that only seem to be rising, it’s imperative to follow these driving safety tips to avoid accidents. If you’ve already been injured in a Florida truck accident, do not wait any longer. Contact a Florida personal injury attorney today to discuss your case.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., we take the time to listen to your story to help get the outcome you want.
When you contact us, we will prioritize getting to know you and thoroughly understanding your case. We will be in your corner and fight to get you justice from the first call. We understand how difficult and emotionally turbulent it can be to navigate complex legal situations. We will do our best to provide you with all the information and resources you need to make your life easier. From start to finish, we will promptly answer all your questions and provide the best legal advice so that you can make informed decisions about your future.
We pride ourselves on being empathetic, compassionate, and caring. This is just one of the reasons we are one of Florida’s top-rated personal injury attorneys – providing customized legal advice tailored to suit your individual needs.
We build trust through open, timely communication and straightforward legal advice. We are an award-winning, established personal injury law firm, fighting for our clients for over 60 years, and have recovered more than $145 million in awards. Contact us today, and we will fight to get the results you deserve.