When you are driving on I-75 in West Florida or are driving through Central Florida on I-4, do you need to be particularly concerned about the risk of a truck accident? Commercial trucks are extremely large and heavy, and as a result, they can be involved in serious and fatal auto accidents. Given the size of these vehicles and their commercial uses, big rigs are frequently involved in specific kinds of collisions on Florida's highways and throughout the country.
To better understand the types of trucking accidents that commonly occur, as well as the reasons for these crashes, we should take a look at some relevant data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Facts and Figures About Large Truck Accidents
According to a fact sheet from the IIHS, the majority of fatal accident victims in large truck crashes are occupants of smaller automobiles. To be sure, as the IIHS points out, "the main problem is the vulnerability of people travelling in smaller vehicles," given that large trucks "often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with greater ground clearance."
In 2014 alone, 3,660 people sustained fatal injuries in trucking accidents. Of those injury victims, only about 16 percent were occupants of the 18-wheelers involved in the collisions. Nearly 70 percent of those killed were occupants of other smaller automobiles. The remaining victims were classified as motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians. The IIHS suggests that the rate of trucking accidents is actually on the rise, as the total number of fatal commercial truck accidents has risen by 16 percent since 2009. What is causing this rise in truck accidents, especially when the total number of auto accident deaths has experienced a decrease in recent years?
Determining Causation in Commercial Truck Accidents
What causes commercial truck accidents? According to a truck causation study conducted by the FMCSA, the primary "critical events" that resulted in deadly trucking crashes included:
● Driving out of the travel lane, including running off the road altogether or into another lane of traffic;
● Loss of control of the commercial truck due to excessive speed;
● Cargo shift in the truck;
● Mechanical failure;
● Poor road conditions; and
● Rear-ending another vehicle in the same lane of travel.
How do these types of accidents occur? According to the FMCSA study, common reasons for these accidents include but are not limited to:
● Driver error (including aggressive driving, drowsy driving, and distracted driving);
● Poor or uneven cargo loading;
● Poor maintenance of the vehicle; and
● Inclement weather.
When a driver's negligence results in an accident, an injury victim may be able to file a lawsuit against the driver. In some cases, the truck driver's employer may also be held liable, particularly when a truck is not properly maintained. In other situations, other parties can also be held responsible for injuries resulting from a serious truck accident.
Contact a West Florida Auto Accident Attorney
Each case is different, and it is important to discuss your claim with an experienced West Florida auto accident lawyer. At the Wells Law Group, P.A., we are committed to helping Florida residents who have been injured in car crashes and trucking accidents. To learn more about our services, do not hesitate to contact us.