Truck Accident Lawyer
Auto wreck attorneys protecting the rights of trucking accident victims
The number of commercial truck accidents on Florida roads has steadily increased in recent years. Despite a general slowdown due to the recent global pandemic, the number of large truck accidents increased by four percent in 2020. Commercial truck accident fatalities have increased 36% since 2010. Injuries in truck accidents increased 96% from 2010 to 2020.
Economic growth contributed to Florida trucking accidents
The sharp increase in Florida truck accidents may be at least partially attributed to the increasing relevance of Central Florida as a logistics hub. The recently-developed Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center immediately became the state’s main “inland port” for warehousing and logistics. Not only has the new center drawn additional commercial truck traffic, but sudden growth in the local economy and a population surge soon followed. The sudden influx of new residents continues to add new passenger vehicles to the local roads. The local infrastructure currently lags behind the population growth. Consequently, many roads must now accommodate the rapid growth in car and truck traffic with the same number of lanes that facilitated traffic several years ago.
Causes of Florida truck accidents
There are several factors that contribute to the Florida truck accidents. Some of the more common causes of truck accidents include:
- distracted Driving
- excessive speed
- improperly loaded cargo
- inadequate training
- inadequate truck maintenance
Driver fatigue on long-haul Florida truck routes
Supply chain shortages triggered by the past two years’ global pandemic continue to impact the trucking industry. Truck drivers sometimes have stressful delivery schedules. Industry regulations limit the number of hours drivers can work consecutively. Truckers are also required to take specific rest breaks and have a minimum number of off-duty hours before they are legally permitted to drive again. Nevertheless, delivery demands are often juxtaposed to compliance with mandated rest periods and time off the clock. As a result, it is not uncommon for truckers to experience fatigue.
Sometimes the nature of the job may contribute to fatigue. Truck drivers travel long, uninterrupted stretches of road with a quiet, natural landscape. The steady, low rumble of wind and the road can cause drivers to mentally disengage and feel more relaxed behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving is dangerous in a passenger vehicle. This is especially true of drowsy driving in large commercial trucks. Signs that indicate a truck driver may be nodding behind the wheel include:
- erratic steering
- veering and rubbing against road barriers
- lack of response
Driving a commercial truck while distracted
Truck drivers are susceptible to the same distractions that sometimes plague drivers of passenger vehicles. Trucking jobs often require drivers to spend days away from home. Therefore, communication is important. Some truck drivers may be tempted to talk on the phone or text while operating a truck. Drivers also use dispatching devices to communicate with a dispatch center. Other potential distractions include:
- adjusting the radio
A driver may also be affected by distractions outside the truck. Drivers sometimes take their eyes off the road to look at a billboard, another vehicle, or an object off the side of the road. Anything that prompts a driver to direct his or her attention away from the road is a distraction and may potentially cause an accident.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The number of reported instances of intoxicated driving in the trucking industry increased from 2020 to 2021. In the first three months of 2021, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse reported 14,324 drug violations and 367 alcohol violations. Marijuana was the most widely-used banned substance. The second-highest number of violations occurred among drivers who tested positive for cocaine use. Methamphetamine was the third-most common drug that appeared in pre-employment and random drug tests.
Speeding and commercial truck accidents
The tremendous supply chain demands under which many companies currently operate have placed additional pressure on commercial trucking companies to deliver goods according to projected timelines. Some drivers will travel at excessive speeds in the interest of reaching their destination on time.
A speeding truck creates a hazardous situation on the road in several ways. Commercial trucks have a larger stopping distance due to the truck’s large size. A driver who is traveling at an excessive speed reduces his or her opportunity to stop or avoid debris on the road, animals, and other vehicles that may suddenly enter the lane. Speeding in wet or icy road conditions increases the risk of a truck losing traction and colliding with another vehicle, sliding off the road, or jackknifing.
Improperly trained truck drivers
A sudden increase in demand for truck drivers has led commercial trucking companies to become more aggressive in recruiting new drivers. Companies now advertise opportunities for drivers who have no truck driving experience. When hiring inexperienced drivers, companies must thoroughly invest in ensuring the new hire receives adequate training and education before getting on the road. On the contrary, it is not uncommon for truck companies to attract applicants by guaranteeing new truckers can begin driving in as little as two weeks.
Improperly maintained commercial trucks
Maintenance is critical to keeping truck drivers and others safe on the road. Federal law requires commercial truck companies to maintain their vehicles according to a specified schedule. Trucks that do not receive regular inspection and maintenance are more likely to cause an accident.
Who is at fault in a Palm Bay truck accident
In the event of a commercial truck accident, several parties may be at fault. If the driver’s conduct caused the accident, the driver and his or her employer may be legally liable for any resulting injuries. The company may also be legally responsible if improper maintenance caused the accident. In some cases, the injured party may file a claim against the company that manufactured the truck if the cause of the accident can be traced back to defective equipment.
Legal help for trucking accident victims
Palm Bay accident attorneys help truck accident victims establish the cause of the accident and pursue compensation for their injuries. Personal injury lawyers gather details to determine the liable party and to fight for the compensation the accident victim rightfully deserves.
Contact us if you have been injured in a Florida truck accident. We will provide you a free, no-obligation case evaluation.