The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles collects data every year to provide the public, lawmaker, media, an citizens with important facts about Florida’s roads, car accidents, truck accidents, and other necessary facts to ensure the safety of the public.
As you can see above, while there are far fewer trucks on the road than any other vehicle, they still cause significant damage. In fact, there were approximately 525,000 commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) issued in the state of Florida in one year; however, there are a reported 32,000 truck accidents every year in Florida. That is a staggering number based upon the limited number of trucks on the road. There are several safety measures provided by both Florida Lawmakers and Federal Lawmakers that are required by the FDHSMV for truck drivers.
Required Safety Measures For Trucks
- Double trailer endorsement – Florida does not allow triple trailers on the roadway, but they do allow double trailers. Florida commercial drivers who intend to operate a double trailer must pass a written test before getting this endorsement.
- Tank vehicle endorsement – any licensed commercial driver in Florida who intends to operate a tanker truck of any type is required to obtain an “N” endorsement by passing a written exam.
- Placard hazmat – known as an “H” endorsement, the driver will have to pass a written test before they will be allowed to transport hazardous materials.
- Hazmat/tank vehicles – operators who intend to transport hazardous materials via tanker truck must have qualified for both the “H” and “N” endorsements in Florida.
Reasons For Truck Accidents
Many people ask why Truck Accidents happen so often, and there are several reasons for that, which include the following reasons listed below.
- Driver Error
Despite having an increased responsibility to drive safely, truck drivers make mistakes like other drivers. Truck drivers may drive drowsy, drive drunk or under the influence of drugs, drive distractedly, or drive recklessly. However, studies show the majority of trucking accidents caused by driver error are due to the passenger vehicle driver (81%), not the trucker (22%). This calls for a need to improve trucker defensive driving techniques, such as keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, being patient with slower or reckless drivers, and using turn signals.
- Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Commercial trucks drive thousands of miles every day. To keep up with the immense wear and tear these vehicles take, crews must regularly maintain the fleet. Equipment failure, such as worn brake pads or a cracked windshield, can cause a major traffic accident. It’s a driver’s responsibility to check his/her rig at the beginning of every shift and submit a vehicle maintenance report. Failure to do so can be fatal.
- Equipment Failure
Poor fleet maintenance isn’t the only thing that can cause a truck’s equipment to fail at a dangerous moment. Equipment manufacturers may be guilty of negligence during a part’s production, leading to defective or dangerous components. Parties that may be liable for defective parts in a trucking accident include the parts manufacturer, truck manufacturer, trucking company that sold the truck, and the installer/mechanic who made part repairs.
- Inclement Weather
Poor weather can throw a trucker for a loop if he or she is not adequately trained and prepared to drive in certain conditions. Rain, snow, and ice can be especially tricky for truckers to drive on, due to the heavy weight and slower stopping speeds of the vehicle. Truckers need to travel at an appropriate speed for all conditions and learn proper braking techniques to avoid skidding, hydroplaning, or jackknifing.
- Improper Cargo Loading
Truckers and cargo loading teams have to abide by industry-specific rules when it comes to loading the bed of a commercial truck. There are certain weight, size, length, width, and height limits to a load, as well as special methods of securing cargo for transportation. Mistakes or negligence during loading procedures can make a load fall off into the road, causing catastrophic accidents.
Most deaths resulting from Truck Accidents are suffered by the passenger vehicle occupants because they are far more vulnerable than the behemoth of a Commercial Truck. Trucks regularly can weigh up to 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and their sheer size can cause catastrophic damage, injuries, and even death when involved in an accident. “A total of 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018. Sixteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 67 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31 percent higher in 2018 than in 2009, when it was the lowest it has been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. The number of truck occupants who died was 51 percent higher than in 2009.” U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (December 2019). Due to these risks, truck drivers are often held to higher standards than your average driver, and both the driver and its insurance company are aware of this.
If you or a loved one was tragically involved in a an auto accident with a truck or commercial vehicle, contact us at Demesmin and Dover for a free case evaluation, and we can help you and your loved ones navigate through it all while alleviating all the stress because We Care More.