Articles Posted in Florida Truck Accident Statistics

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South Florida is not only a popular place for food trucks, but also for other mobile businesses. On the streets of Aventura, Miami, and other cities you may see mobile hair salons, gyms, furniture stores, and more. While these businesses can be fun, however, you also need to treat them carefully as they have some of the same issues – such as large blind spots – that any large truck has.

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These small businesses must register their business under the store-on-wheels category when applying for an occupational license. In South Florida, they may also seek individual permits if they want to take part in local events and festivals.

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Florida relies heavily on the trucking industry for its agricultural industry and its many other industries. Truck drivers bring goods and products into the state and transport Florida products all over the United States and beyond. Unfortunately, the industry has been affected by a labor shortage and labor problems that could affect not only profits but also the rate of truck accidents in Hollywood and across the state.

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There are a number of issues affecting the current labor shortage in the trucking industry:

1) The labor shortage is caused in part by an aging population. According to a study written by Richard Beilock of the University of Florida, the median age of Americans will be 39.1 years, up from 34 years old in 1994. The older population will mean a shrinking work force (as more people recover) but will also be bad news for an industry such as trucking, where physical demands require a younger workforce.

2) The overall work force is shrinking. In addition, Beilock notes that many are moving to white-collar and high-tech occupations that offer higher pay for less dangerous work. This can make it harder for the industry to attract the most qualified workers from a shrinking pool.

3) The turnover rate for drivers is high. According to The American Trucking Association, at large motor carriers the turnover rate for truck drivers was 104% in 2012’s third quarter. Some positions were turned over more than once during the time period, which is why the figure was higher than 100%. A high turnover rate in any profession, of course, creates problems as employers look for ways to replace lost workers. In trucking, the problem can be even more demanding because drivers must undergo screening and training as well.

4) New rules will place more demands on motor carriers to hire more drivers. Last year, hours of service rules changed so that truck drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 70 hours per workweek, compared to the 82 hours per week allowed before. This means that most motor carriers will need to hire more drivers to make the same number of shipments as before.

Some claim that these issues do contribute to traffic accidents in Hollywood and other cities. They note that a shrinking work force and more pressure on motor carriers to hire more workers can mean that there are less demands placed on drivers and that less safe drivers may be placed on the roads just to fill demand. Others note that current drivers may be pressured to drive longer hours, which can also contribute to a higher risk of truck and car accidents in Hollywood and across the country.

Other experts point out that the current state of the industry could be good news for safety in the long run. Since motor carriers are eager to hire drivers and since truck driving cannot be outsourced, they are pushed to offer better compensation and working conditions to workers. Already, long-haul truck drivers can make 50 cents per mile or even more. Better work conditions can mean safer conditions while better pay can mean that the industry becomes more attractive to highly qualified and safe drivers. In addition, motor carriers must still abide by federal laws. Even with the labor shortage, they are responsible for putting only safe drivers on the roads.

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If you drive in Miami or any Florida city, you have probably seen evidence of truck accidents involving commercial trucks or big rigs. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), the statistics about these types of accidents are actually more troubling than many people realize. If you have ever seen a car or truck accident in Miami or another city, you may be surprised to learn that:

•There are 15.5 million trucks on US roads
•About 13% of the trucks in the US are 18 wheelers, tractor trailers, big rigs, or semis
•About 90% of commercial truck accidents are caused by human error – either truck driver error or another person’s error
•98% of all truck accidents in Miami and across the country involving a semi result in fatalities
•Tractor trailer fatalities result in $20 billion in costs annually
•Big rigs result in 60.5 injuries and 2.3 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven
•Approximately 22% of truck accidents cause some types of injuries
•About 130 000 Americans are injured in truck crashes each year
•30% of commercial truck crashes are caused by driver fatigue
•75% of commercial truck crashes are caused by passenger car drivers
•About 2500 fire truck accidents occur in the US each year, resulting in over 1000 injuries and fatalities, often to firefighters
If you have been injured in a car accident in Miami involving a truck, you will want to take precautions to safeguard your future. Since there are so many accidents and since statistically passenger car drivers are at fault, you will want to make sure that you are not lost in the statistics. You do not want to be blamed for a car accident you did not cause, for example, and you will want to ensure that you get fair compensation for your injuries. In some cases, victims of truck-related traffic accidents in Miami and other cities have trouble securing fair compensation because they are facing powerful motor carriers and insurance companies.

If you have been injured in a traffic accident in Miami, you will want to contact a personal injury attorney for just this reason. A good personal injury attorney in Miami can review your options and can help you choose a course of action that will secure the fairest compensation possible. An attorney can also work with investigators to investigate the accident and can negotiate with your insurance carrier so that you get a fairer insurance claim amount.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,757 people across the country were killed in truck collisions in 2011, compared with 3,686 in 2010. This represents a 1.9% increase in the number of fatalities between the two years. In many cases, these accidents were single-vehicle truck accidents. In 2010, there were 339 truck driver fatalities in single-vehicle accidents, compared with 403 such fatalities in 2011. According to the NHTSA, this is the second year in a row where these numbers have risen, despite new regulations that are supposed to make streets safer.

According to some experts, the number of single-vehicle crashes as well as new research linking driver condition to truck accidents may mean that in the future there will be more emphasis on holding truck drivers accountable and ensuring that they are safe behind the wheel. This is a departure from past years, where the focus has been on mechanical issues of trucks and on enforcing laws such as speed limits.

What can be done to prevent truck accidents in Miami and across South Florida? Many suggestions have been put forward:

1) Some have suggested more attention should be paid to the physical condition of drivers. Studies have shown that drivers with very high BMIs have higher crash rates and are more at risk of conditions such as sleep apnea, which can severely affect driving ability. Fatigue can also lead to truck accidents and car accidents in Miami and other Florida communities. Currently, commercial truck drivers must get physicals and must submit to drug and alcohol testing, but experts think that more can be done to ensure that drivers do not suffer from sleep apnea and other conditions that could cause accidents.

2) Some experts recommend more accountability for drivers and truck companies who break rules or take risks. Some companies and drivers circumvent rules for profit. In other cases, drivers and companies take risks that do not officially break laws but which still put drivers at risk.

3) Some experts believe that limiting the speed and size of trucks further would be beneficial. The truck industry has largely been in favor of higher speeds and larger trucks, arguing that larger trucks and speeds would be more cost effective and that larger trucks might be safer on the roads, since they would eliminate the need for more commercial trucks on the roadways. Most experts disagree with this, claiming that smaller trucks and lower speed limits would make it easier for truck drivers to keep control of their trucks.

4) Some safety professionals feel that technology can help make trucks safer. Technology already exists that would make it possible to keep track of how fast commercial truck drivers drive, how often they take breaks, and even their blood pressure and heart rates. Some experts feel that installing this type of additional technology would make it easier to track what truck drivers do on the roads – and the risks they take. This, they argue, would make it easier to curb risky behaviors that could lead to traffic accidents in Miami and elsewhere across the country.

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According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), approximately 500 000 trucking accidents occur across the country each year. In addition:

– One out of eight fatal traffic accidents is a truck accident, with about 5000 truck accidents each year resulting in fatalities.

-In trucking accidents (including Miami trucking accidents) involving tractor trailers, 98% of fatal injuries occur to pedestrians or passengers of passenger vehicles – not to the passengers of the trucks.

-68% of fatal truck collisions in 2008 occurred in rural areas. What this means is that while Miami traffic accidents involving trucks are common, truck accidents outside the city limits may be even more deadly.

-In 2003, 78% of all US fatal truck accidents took place during weekends and 66% of all fatal collisions took place during daylight hours, not at night.

According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS):

– There were 3,867 large trucks involved in non-fatal accidents in Florida in 2010.
-In Florida in 2010, there were 2,484 large trucks involved in traffic accidents causing injury.
-In Florida in 2010 there were 3,545 injuries reported in truck accidents.

Miami sees its fair share of truck accidents, and according to the experts there is something that everyone can do to help prevent these types of Miami traffic accidents. For example, many Miami car accidents involving trucks occur due to driver error. To prevent this, drivers can write to their elected representatives to encourage legislation that promotes good training and hiring practices for truck companies. Truck carriers already need to abide by many federal rules and regulations, but when truck carriers take the care to hire the best drivers and to train them properly, the streets are a little safer.

Drivers can also ensure that they do all they can to prevent Miami car accidents and truck accidents. If you drive a passenger car, you can take defensive driving lessons and refresher lessons to ensure that your driving skills are excellent – this can even help you save on insurance. You can also driver sober and un-distracted and take care to check blind spots. If you are following behind a commercial truck, give the truck plenty of room, since trucks take longer to brake than most vehicles. Following too closely is also dangerous because the truck driver cannot see you if you are tailgating.

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Civil engineers Sunanda Dissanayake and Siddhartha Kotikalapudi, both of Kansas State University, are examining five years of commercial truck accident statistics with an aim to finding information that could help prevent future crashes. Their research may be important in helping to prevent Miami truck accidents as well as traffic accidents across the country.
According to Dissanayake, commercial trucks comprise just 3% of the registered vehicles on US streets, but these vehicles tend to be involved in a disproportionate number of accidents. According to 2009 statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one out of ten traffic accident fatalities across the country involved truck accidents.

According to initial research, a large proportion of the truck crashes examined were caused in part due to some action on the part of the driver. Driver distraction and not giving enough time to complete driver tasks seemed to be the biggest cause of truck accidents. Excessive speeds, failing to yield right of way, incorrect lane changes, and tailgating were among the other top accident factors that the researchers uncovered. In fact, initial research suggested that in about 73% of examined accidents, driver related issues were at least a contributing cause of the collision.

In about 13% of accidents, researchers concluded that environmental-related causes were a contributor, while in about 7.8% of cases road-related issues where a problem. Defective brakes, cargo problems, and other vehicle-relates issues contributed to accidents in about 6.1% of cases, according to the initial findings of the researchers.

Initial research also found that most the truck collisions studies occurred between noon and 3 pm and almost 78% of the accidents occurred in full daylight with no poor weather conditions present. Researchers further concluded that most of the truck accidents occurred in high-speed areas.

Dissanayake and Kotikalapudi are continuing their research and hope to be able to make safety recommendations based on their findings. Their research may also help suggest reasons for Miami traffic accidents involving trucks. If the findings are similar in Florida, it could suggest that careful training and screening of truck drivers as well as more resources and support for truck drivers may be a good way to prevent Miami car accidents involving trucks. Ensuring that truck drivers can give their full focus to their driving can help prevent some of the accident causes that Dissanayake and Kotikalapudi have uncovered.

The research findings of Dissanayake and Kotikalapudi may also suggest one reason why Miami truck accident victims who have sustained a serious injury may wish to speak with a personal injury attorney. According to the initial findings, many accidents are caused by preventable reasons and truck drivers as well as potentially other liable parties may be held accountable for their actions. Holding drivers accountable when they speed or drive distracted can help pressure truck carriers to screen and train drivers carefully to prevent further legal action.

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Gathering information about truck safety and truck accidents is one of the most important ways to help prevent Coral Gables truck accidents as well as truck accidents across the country. Data gathering helps the industry make changes that improve safety. In 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) launched an initiative to gather just this type of data. The Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program gathers several types of trucking industry data, including many types of data that relate to safety compliance.

In May 2012, new CSA program data was released and it suggested some worrying trends about trucking safety. According to the data, for example, in April 2012 there were 166,810 active commercial carriers in the trucking industry, up 7.5% from the 155,240 registered in 2011. While experts may disagree about the impact of the increase, there may be some concerns about this increase when it comes to Coral Gables traffic accident statistics. More carriers can mean more trucks and therefore more traffic on the roads, which can increase the risk of accidents. More carriers also means more work for authorities charged with ensuring safety compliance. Checking on more carriers may stretch resources even further as authorities aim to ensure compliance for more companies.

Another worrying statistics released by the CSA program involves fatigued driving. The CSA program uses a statistical tool known as Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) scores to evaluate the performance of carriers and drivers. In April 2012, 34% of carriers who were given BASIC scores were found to have an alert for fatigued driving. In most cases, the fatigued driving was caused by violations of Hours of Service (HOS) rules. The fact that there were so many instances of fatigued driving could be bad news for Coral Gables car accidents, since studies have shown that fatigued drivers are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents.

Since the CSA program is new, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not made firm plans about what to do with the statistics and data gathered through the program. Currently, the organization has not said that it has any plans to propose new rules based on the CSA data, for example.

In the meantime, however CSA data and other data collected about the trucking industry can perhaps at least provide a better insight into the industry – and into why Coral Gables car accidents and truck accidents occur. Information can help authorities and policy makers determine which issues require attention and which issues need more focus in order to prevent Coral Gables traffic accidents in the future.

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The a 2010 report, the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2010, has revealed that the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. in 2010 included truck driving, fishing, logging, mining and aircraft-related occupations. Many of these occupations are considered dangerous due to the heavy machinery or trucks used. For example, truck drivers drive commercial trucks which sometimes weigh up to 80,000 pounds, so that any accident involving these trucks leads to serious injuries and fatalities. The interesting thing about the other statistics, as well, is that many of the other occupations listed as dangerous also include trucks or heavy vehicles. For example, logging often requires large commercial vehicles in order to move timber. Even in jobs where trucks are not regularly used, such as animal handlers, many of the 2010 fatalities stemmed from transportation accidents. There’s no doubt about it: transportation is a major risk in the workplace.

Transportation accidents are in fact a factor in many other dangerous jobs. For example, trash and recycling pick-up workers experience a high rate of injury and fatalities. While this can seem like an unusual statistic, the reality is that trash and recycling pickup workers use large trucks in order to do their jobs. These trucks must make frequent stops and starts in order to pick up garbage and waste. The frequent stops and starts can easily lead to accidents. As well, the drivers and workers must enter and exit the truck several times throughout the day, increasing the risk of a pedestrian accident and other types of accidents.

Accidents on the job are very complex from a legal point of view, as they often concern labor laws, workers compensation rules, and laws surrounding drivers. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident on the job, you will need a qualified Florida trucking accident attorney and workers compensation attorney to investigate your accident and to determine whether adequate precautions were taken to keep you safe on the job. There may be multiple liable parties, which can help you get fair compensation in order to cover your medical costs, lost income, and other expenses. No one should be injured on the job. If you have sustained serious injuries in an accident while working, you deserve qualified legal help so that you can understand your options. Good legal help can also help ensure that there is someone to aggressively fight for your rights. Your employer and their insurance carrier have teams of attorneys working for them – don’t you deserve quality legal assistance as well?

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The Health & Safety Executive has reported that since the Fork Lift Truck Association’s National Fork Lift Safety Week initiative was launched, UK has seen fatal fork lift truck accidents decline by two thirds. In 2006/7, 16 workers in the UK died due to such accidents, while in 2009/10, five workers were killed in these accidents. This is the third improvement in statistics.

Experts in the UK have reported that fork lift truck accidents are among the most dangerous accidents for workers. Even with the recent reductions in the number of these fatal truck accidents, there were 369 serious but non-fatal fork lift truck accidents in the UK in the past year – an average of one serious accident per year. Many of these accidents were life changing amputations, brain injuries, and other such serious incidents.

Can Florida learn from the UK example to reduce the instances of Florida truck accidents? There certainly seem to be a number of take-away lessons from the UK example:

1) Truck accidents can be reduced through effort. Although many people see accidents as an unavoidable reality of life, the UK example shows that the number of accidents overall can be reduced with concerted effort. Statistics prove that over three consecutive periods, the number of fatal truck accidents dropped. The statistics were also adjusted for the economic downturn, so it is not only the recession that is helping to reduce the accident rates in the UK.

2) Education is key. The Fork Lift Truck Association’s National Fork Lift Safety Week was introduced in 2008 to help educate workers and the public about safety and to promote safety best standards. This program is credited for helping to reduce fatal fork lift accidents across the UK.

3) Training is important. The Fork Lift Truck Association’s National Fork Lift Safety Week focuses on different safety topics every Safety Week. Recently, the Fork Lift Truck Association has been focusing on training, with the slogan “more skills, less spills.” According to the Fork Lift Truck Association, poor training increases the risk of serious accidents.

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Florida truck accidents often involve larger, commercial trucks. According to a 2007 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report, tractor trailers and other large trucks cause accidents because of a number of common reasons:

1) Drug use. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report, more than a quarter of crashes involving commercial trucks involved a banned substance or prescription drugs, which affect driver response times. About 18 percent of accidents were caused by prescription drugs specifically. According to the report, drug use was the most common cause of tractor trailer accidents.

2) Excessive speed. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report found that speed was a factor in 26 percent of the crashes studied. When truck drivers travel at high speeds, there is virtually no way for them to stop in time to prevent an accident.

3) Lack of familiarity with route. Truck drivers who drive along familiar travel routes are less likely to be in a collision than drivers in an unfamiliar area. Unfortunately, commercial truck drivers are routinely asked to make deliveries to new areas. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report, this factor contributed to 22 percent of accidents.

4) Blind spots. Truck drivers have many more blind spots than the drivers of passenger vehicles. In training, truck drivers are carefully instructed to check blind spots before making any maneuvers. Despite this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that 14 percent of collisions were caused by a truck driver’s failure to check blind spots.

5) Driver fatigue. There are hours of service regulations to ensure that truck drivers get adequate sleep. As well, truck drivers are supposed to be screened carefully for any illnesses – such as sleep apnea – that can lead to car accidents. Despite this, 13 percent of truck accidents studied in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report were caused by driver fatigue.

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