Commercial trucks are subject to strict federal rules which ensure operator safety. Drivers of these trucks need special training and must observe hours of service rules as well. Does this mean that commercial trucks are actually less likely to be involved in Florida car accidents and truck accidents?
While commercial trucks, such as tractor trailers, are in fact involved in fewer accidents – they are only involved in about 2.4% of all national traffic accidents – and are less likely to be in an accident than a passenger vehicle, the impact of these fewer accidents is very high. While the number of commercial truck accidents is lower than the number of car accidents, the devastation caused by the fewer number of truck accidents is immense.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 11% of all traffic fatalities in 2008 were the result of large truck accidents. That year, 4,229 fatalities occurred as a result of truck accidents. Of these fatalities, 74% involved the passengers of a car. Quite simply, when a large commercial truck is in an accident with a passenger vehicle, the passengers of the smaller car are at very high risk of serious and life-threatening injuries.
Large commercial trucks are also more likely to cause multiple-car accidents, simply due to their size. The amount of time it takes a truck to stop is longer and the length of the truck is also longer than that of a passenger car. When a truck brakes during a collision, the truck will likely travel the car-length of several passenger vehicles – hitting any cars that happen to be in the way.
A number of Florida truck accidents can be avoided. Operator safety issues, such as driver rests and monitoring of driver logs, can have an important impact in terms of reducing accidents. As well, reducing incentives for speeding and fatigued driving – incentives such as pay per mile – can also help encourage truck drivers to make safety a priority.
However, in many cases, passenger car drivers also need to be addressed. Some statistics suggest that as many as three-quarters of all truck accidents involving passengers cars are the fault of the passenger car. Better driver education and more education programs for passenger drivers can help teach these drivers how to safely share the road with trucks.
After a Florida truck accident, you will likely need an attorney to help you understand your options. The Flaxman Law Group has already helped thousands of South Florida personal injury victims through our offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood. Call the Flaxman Law Group if you have been in a South Florida truck accident; our experienced legal team can arrange for a free consultation with an attorney so that you can discuss your case with a legal professional before you make any decisions about your case.