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Truck Accident Statistics and Trends

Trucking Accidents

There are approximately half a million truck and trailer accidents nationwide each year, and they account for nearly 15 percent of all traffic deaths. If you’re been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Vehicle accident claims are complicated and typically involve multiple layers of local, state and federal laws, and often multiple parties. Working with a skilled Tallahassee truck accident attorney can be your best option to obtain maximum compensation.

How Common Are Truck Accidents in Florida?

Accidents involving 18-wheelers, also known as semi-trucks or tractor-trailers, are among the most serious and potentially deadly incidents on the road. Due to their large size and weight, these vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries and devastating damage in the event of a collision. 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), ten states – including Florida – account for almost 50% of all fatal truck cases in the United States. Other top-ranking states include Texas and California. 

Annually, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles releases its accident report. The 2020 report showed approximately 350,000 motor vehicle crashes in Florida, with approximately 3,100 of these resulting in 3,332 total fatalities. While truck injuries are less common than with regular motor vehicles, they can be catastrophic due to the weight and size of truck vehicles. Of the 2020 Florida crashes, commercial trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds caused 29 fatalities and 111 incapacitating injuries. Smaller trucks weighing less than 10,000 pounds caused 4 fatalities and 43 incapacitating injuries. 

With a rate of truck accident fatalities at 1.54 per 100 million miles driven, Florida’s highways are among the most dangerous for truck-related collisions. Over 58% of these fatal accidents occur on highways where truck drivers typically exceed 55 mph, bringing into stark relief the lethal combination of high speeds and enormous vehicles. These crashes involve rear-end collisions, lane changes, and intersection crashes.

Nationally, the statistics are also jarring:

  • In the 21-year period from 1997 to 2017, there was a continuing double-digit increase in truck accidents. That percentage continues to climb.
  • One-third of fatal truck accidents occur on interstates.
  • Speeding, distraction, and impairment such as substance abuse or fatigue, were recently listed as the most common contributing factors in commercial motor vehicle wrecks.

Common Causes of Florida Truck Accidents

Many different factors cause or contribute to trucking accidents on the nation’s roads. While some of them are out of the driver’s control, many of these accidents could be prevented. Common causes of truck accidents include:

  • Distracted driving:  It seems everyone, even truck drivers, use their phones to talk with family and friends, check the best routes, and get directions. All of these things are considered distracted driving and can cause serious injury and even death. Even eating on the road can distract a driver if he or she is dipping into a bag of potato chips. These behaviors are a violation of trucking safety regulations, but they do occur regularly.  
  • Driving under the influence: Despite regulations against it, truck drivers do take unlawful drugs to stay alert. And some also drive while under the influence. It has been reported that approximately 3 percent of accidents were caused by drunk truck drivers. Accidents that involve impaired driving can be catastrophic when they involve an 80,000-pound commercial truck. 
  • Driver fatigue: Being an on-time driver is an important metric for many trucking companies. Thus, truck drivers feel the pressure from their employers to arrive with their loads in a timely fashion. But when fatigued, we all have slower reflexes and difficulty paying attention to the road. FMCSA has promulgated explicit regulations regarding hours-of-service regulations that include mandatory rest periods. Drivers who break these rules may be held liable for their negligence if a crash occurs on Florida roadways.
  • Speeding: According to data compiled by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, speeding is common by truck drivers, and more than 20 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes were previously charged for speeding violations. A fully loaded tractor-trailer needs over 500 feet to stop when driving in ideal conditions at 65 miles per hour, which is about two city blocks.
  • Poor maintenance: All sorts of maintenance issues – large and small – can result in truck accidents. These include tire blow-outs, brake failures, broken tail lights, defective couplings, and missing mirrors.  Large trucks are complex machinery that need regular maintenance and safety inspections, but these don’t always happen in a timely fashion. 
  • Inadequate training/hiring: Trucking companies must hire drivers who are properly licensed and trained for the type of vehicle they will be operating. However, this doesn’t always happen, particularly among independent operators, which can result in a serious trucking accident.
  • Road Conditions:  A number of road conditions beyond the control of the trucker can cause accidents, including poorly paved roads, road construction, blind spots, and slick roads due to sleet or snow. All of these conditions can make it difficult for truckers to drive safely.

Contact a Tallahassee Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to past and current medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But don’t delay! Florida has time limits on when you must file a legal claim. Normally, this is a two-year period from the time of the accident. You and your lawyers will need this time to gather all relevant information such as driver logs, the driver’s medical certification, data from the truck’s onboard computer, and similar types of evidence. Our many years of legal experience and deep care and concern for our clients makes us the law firm of choice. Contact today at 800-780-8607.

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