Recent fatal accidents along some of Florida's busiest highways have reminded drivers of the dangers of sharing the roads with tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles. Highways allow drivers, including truckers, to travel at dangerous speeds, and the increased congestion during the vacation season can quickly add up to a recipe for disaster.
Among all 50 states, Florida has one of the highest rates of fatal crashes involving large trucks, well above the national average. If you routinely drive on highways with big rigs, you already know how treacherous a daily commute can be. Knowing the most common causes of accidents involving these giant vehicles may allow you to build a case for compensation if you suffer injuries in an accident.
Increasing the risk of danger
Hauling goods for a living is all about covering the most miles in the least amount of time. Because federal laws require truckers to stop driving and rest at certain intervals, many try to make up that time by pushing the speed limit. The faster a loaded big rig travels, the more catastrophic an accident may be.
Truckers who speed may carry only a portion of the blame for an accident. Those in the commercial trucking industry who set unreasonable quotas and push their drivers may also hold some responsibility if you suffer injuries in a truck accident. Additionally, the following factors may play a significant role in an accident that leaves you or your family with serious or fatal injuries:
- Drivers who ignore the required rest breaks may be too fatigued to effectively handle a big rig.
- A trucker who drinks alcohol, even a small amount, or uses drugs, even those prescribed by a doctor, may have impaired motor reflexes.
- Poorly maintained trucks, particularly brakes that fail, may result in an accident that may involve multiple vehicles and numerous casualties.
- A truck that has been poorly loaded may create great risk for you and other drivers, such as debris falling from the truck, potential for jackknifing and the increased possibility that the rig may tip over on a turn or a steep grade.
- Florida weather can be unpredictable, and a poorly trained or unaware truck driver may be ill-equipped to handle a sudden downpour or high winds.
- A trucker who allows distractions such as a cellphone, food, drink, a cigarette or the technology in the rig may place you in danger on the road.
Clearly, it is not always obvious what causes an accident involving a large commercial vehicle, which is why it is wise to seek an experienced opinion when looking for answers about your legal rights following an accident.