Florida ranks as one of the top three deadliest states for truck accidents, according to a report from 2019. In cases involving truck accidents nationally, 71% of fatalities were occupants of other vehicles. Trucking accidents are a major concern for Florida drivers, with the potential to cause significant harm to drivers and the passengers of other vehicles. Understanding the causes of trucking accidents can help you avoid becoming a victim and stay safe on the road. There are several reasons truck accidents occur, which we discuss below.
FDOT specifies limitations for cargo loads for commercial trucks. Cargo must not exceed 80,000 pounds on a single axle and mustn’t exceed the manufacturer’s gross weight limit. There are also regulations regarding truck size on roads and bridges. Trucks with overloaded cargo pose a threat to other drivers and may damage roadways. Overloaded trucks take longer to stop, which can be disastrous when traffic suddenly stops on highways like I-4. Overloaded trucks are also more prone to jackknifing, which occurs when the cab folds in the opposite direction of the trailer. In addition to cargo weight limits, there are also requirements regarding how loads are secured. If loads aren’t secured properly, they’re at increased risk of turning over and spilling cargo into the roadway. This leads to serious accidents that cause injuries and traffic delays as crews attempt to clean up spilled debris.
There’s no doubt that truck drivers work long and grueling hours to deliver items we all use daily. The increased demand for delivery services has placed even greater pressure on trucking companies to deliver goods on tight schedules. Plus, drivers are often incentivized to deliver loads early. While there are regulations regarding how long truck drivers are legally allowed to be on the road in one day, the pressure to make timely deliveries can cause some to push through feeling drowsy, and continue to drive. In some cases, driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, leading to serious accidents.
Recent reports indicate that the trucking industry is short 78,000 drivers. To fill this gap, trucking companies actively recruit new drivers and offer new-hire incentives, increasing the number of new truck drivers on the road. While truck drivers must pass several exams before getting their commercial driver’s license (including a written and on-road exam), no test can prepare drivers for every driving situation before hitting the road. Lack of experience navigating different Florida terrains may increase the chance of accidents. Other driving mistakes like following too closely and failing to account for wide turns are also causes of trucking accidents by new drivers.
Distracted or Reckless Driving
Speeding is one of the leading causes of car crashes and is especially dangerous for truck drivers. Trucks require a much longer break time than smaller vehicles, and speeding decreases the chance that a truck driver will be able to stop in time if traffic suddenly slows down. Like car drivers, truck drivers can also become easily distracted due to cell phone or radio use, increasing the possibility of accidents. Severe weather conditions, such as Florida’s sudden thunderstorms with heavy rain, may cause truckers to become distracted while navigating roadways. Wet roads also increase the likelihood of car accidents.
Trucks must be inspected regularly before hitting the road. Their heavy cargo and large size mean trucks have higher wear and tear than smaller automobiles and require more regular maintenance. However, the urgency to get on the road may cause some truck drivers to cut corners or continue to drive even after experiencing issues, which leads to accidents.
Injured in a Trucking Accident? Let Cressman Law Fight for You
Getting into an accident involving a truck can be a stressful experience. If you were injured in a trucking accident, seek medical attention immediately. Then, contact an accident attorney Like Mark P. Cressman to ensure you receive all the compensation you’re entitled to for your injuries. Call us at 407 877-7317 anytime, 24/7, for a free consultation to discuss your case.