June brought many wonderful things to the Tampa Bay Area, but it also brought tragedy in the form of another commercial truck accident fatality. On Friday, June 9th, a 31-year old Tampa man lost his life when his work truck flipped on I-75 around exit 220. He struck the guard rail and died on impact. Debris from this collision led to a secondary accident involving a Honda Civic driven by a 56-year old Bradenton woman. Thankfully, she was uninjured in the accident. These types of accidents happen frequently, as Florida’s motor vehicle statistics clearly show.
Commercial Truck Accident Occurrences are on the rise.
Thanks to the huge amount of growth happening in Florida, commercial trucks are a regular sight on our highways. Simply drive down Highway 27 or jump on I-4 and you’ll be neck and neck with countless semi trucks, work vehicles, and large-scale pickup trucks. More people means we need more products and services in our area, and these commercial vehicles are a side effect.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018 alone there were almost 5,000 fatalities caused by commercial truck accidents in the United States.
This statistic is unforgivable, and sadly, numbers have continued to rise. There are many variables in commercial truck accidents in Florida, but there are some commonalities among the collisions when you dissect the stories and look at the evidence. Knowing these can help educate drivers, and prevent more deaths.
What are the most common causes of a commercial truck accident?
- Driver Fatigue
- Alcohol and/or Drug Use
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Driving while tired is dangerous for anyone, but for commercial truck drivers, it can be catastrophic. Due to the size and weight of work trucks and commercial vehicles, braking, turning, and changing lanes all take careful foresight and perfectly timed execution. When tired, drivers can misjudge distance, fail to stop at the right time, or fall asleep altogether and hit nearby motorists or road structures. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that 13% of commercial vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities were due to fatigued drivers.
The speed limits on our Tampa Bay roads are there for a reason. Commercial vehicles are not an exception to the rule, and drivers who choose to disregard the speed limits put themselves, and countless other drivers, at risk. Even a few miles per hour over the limit increases the chance for a commercial truck accident.
Alcohol and Drug Use
Using alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel of any vehicle is a huge mistake, but for commercial truck drivers, it’s often deadly. Operating a piece of machinery, including work trucks, requires focus, sharp reflexes, clear vision, and quick decision making. The use of controlled substances of any kind hinder these skills. This leaves drivers impaired and unable to properly, or safely, drive their truck.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Poor maintenance of commercial vehicles frequently contributes to accidents. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts annual inspections of commercial vehicles. In 2020, the out-of-service rate for vehicles inspected was 20.9%. This is unacceptable and dangerous to both the commercial drivers and fellow motorists. Issues with brakes, steering, electrical components, or even cargo security prove deadly in many cases. Companies must keep their vehicles road-worthy, and are liable for deaths or injuries when they don’t.
Why is a commercial truck accident so deadly?
As mentioned above, the size and weight of commercial vehicles is a big factor in the magnitude of their collisions. These, along with high rates of speed, lack of repairs, or tired drivers, turn “fender benders” into nightmares in one moment. Regular vehicles can’t stand up to large-scale work trucks, and often the drivers and passengers of these cars end up paying the price.
Brooks Law Group is an advocate of teaching safety measures and educating drivers about smart practices around commercial trucks. We want Florida drivers to be safer when they get behind the wheel. One of the biggest questions drivers ask is:
How can I protect myself?
Stay aware when you’re behind the wheel. Always leave appropriate distance between your vehicle and any commercial trucks on the road. If you notice a work truck swerving, speeding, or driving recklessly, it’s never a mistake to call 9-1-1. Report the issue if you feel lives are in danger. For non-emergent complaints, you can contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and they’ll take the necessary investigation measures.
Have you or someone you love been injured or impacted in a commercial truck accident? The team at Brooks Law Group has years of experience in building cases to help victims just like you get the justice they deserve and the compensation they need to heal and move forward. We’re so passionate about helping people that we don’t charge a dime unless we win for you. Your very first consultation is free. You don’t pay until your case is finished and you’ve gotten the settlement you deserve.