Unfortunately, truck accidents are a sadly common occurrence on the highways in and around northern Florida. To be sure, Interstate 10 gets shut down all too frequently because of accidents involving big rigs. There are a number of reasons why trucks are involved in so many accidents, many of which lead to catastrophic consequences for nearly everyone involved. So what should you do if you are in an accident with a truck on the highways of Florida?
Trucks and Accidents
Many people think trucks are inherently dangerous vehicles and that they are involved in a disproportionate number of deadly accidents. In this case, popular opinion is right.
Obviously, an 80,000-pound truck is far more dangerous than a 4,000-pound car. This is apparent based on the weight, momentum and simple physics at play. You must also remember that a full tractor and trailer with a sleeper cab is about 70-feet long, which makes it much harder to maneuver safely than a 12-foot-long car. Plus, a loaded truck moving at 60 miles per hour takes more than the length of a regulation football field to stop. There are other reasons as well, including drivers who spend long hours behind the wheel and thus drive more miles, as well as fatigue and commercial pressure to drive for longer periods of time, all of which may contribute to more accidents on the road.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration compiles statistics on truck crashes in the U.S.; some of the stats they have produced are frightening. For example, in 2013:
- About 342,000 large trucks were involved in accidents that were reported to police in the U.S.
- Large trucks were involved in fatal crashes where 3,964 people were killed;
- 71 percent of the fatalities were to motorists other than the truck drivers;
- Florida had 187 fatal crashes that accounted for 197 deaths that involved large trucks; and
- 6 percent of all fatal crashes in Florida involved large trucks.
Truck Accidents and the Law
Truck drivers are regulated by both federal and state law. There are a number of regulations that have been put into place, primarily to ensure safe operation for both the driver of the truck and for the rest of us on the road. These regulations include:
- A limited work day of 14 hours of which only 11 hours may be spent driving;
- Requirements for regular safety inspections for both safety equipment and load integrity;
- Stipulations for routine drug testing both pre-employment and post-accident; and
- Required physicals and screenings before being issued commercial licenses.
The government realizes the danger that big trucks can represent and has tried to make us all safer. Unfortunately, the very nature of these big trucks works against these regulations. The damage that trucks can do is often catastrophic in nature. If truckers do not follow these safety rules, they clearly make a dangerous situation even more deadly. Sadly, truckers all too often shirk their duty and someone gets hurt.
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck and have been injured, it is imperative you seek legal help immediately. You need an attorney who has experience dealing with truckers’ log books, drug testing reports, accident reconstruction and the trucking industry. The skilled professionals at the Tallahassee Law Firm of Fasig & Brooks have decades of experience getting injured clients just like you what they deserve. Give us a call today to set up your free initial consultation at (850) 222-3232.