Fatal Truck Accidents in Florida
One out of nine traffic accident fatalities occur in a collision with a large truck, nationwide statistics show. With the increasing volume of truck traffic in the United States, and Florida in particular, the serious injuries such accidents cause merit close attention from Florida personal injury attorneys.
In 2008, there were 269 fatal collisions in Florida involving a large truck. This figure does not include the hundreds of other Floridians who suffer horrific injuries in these collisions, including severe head trauma, third-degree burns and massive internal injuries. Tellingly, nearly one-third of truck drivers involved in a fatal accident had at least one previous speeding conviction. This number far exceeds the conviction rate for drivers of passenger cars and light trucks.
Excessive speed is dangerous enough in a passenger car with good brakes and an alert driver. Excessive speed is infinitely more dangerous where large trucks are concerned.
Vehicle size: An empty tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 30,000 pounds, or six times the weight of a passenger car. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds. At 60 miles per hour, it takes 335 feet – about the length of a football field – for a driver to stop a tractor-trailer. If the vehicle is speeding, it is impossible to stop in any sort of reasonable time.
Vehicle equipment: There is an enormous amount of wear and tear inflicted on tractor-trailers. Required routine safety inspections may be sporadic or cursory. Moreover, these inspections are designed to keep trucks on the road at almost all costs.
Driver fatigue: While many shipping companies have changed the way they pay their drivers, some drivers still receive regular pay or bonuses according to the load and not according to the mile. A driver who has been on the road too long may have slower reaction time than a fresh driver. When a tractor-trailer is involved, even a half-second of reaction time can almost literally be the difference between life and death.
To learn more about tractor-trailer accidents in Florida, or if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in such an accident, contact us.