Commercial trucks dominate highways across the country, transporting millions of pounds of food, consumer goods, and other products from coast to coast.  Although we all depend on the items these trucks carry, the glut of commercial trucks on the roads pose a serious safety hazard when truck drivers fail to operate their vehicles safely.

In 2017, there were 43,725 crashes involving commercial vehicles in the state of Florida, which is an increase of more than 2,000 from the previous year. In a report published by the US Department of Transportation, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes around the country in 2016, with a vast majority of victims being occupants of passenger vehicles.

The reasons for the disproportionate effects of commercial truck accidents on passenger vehicles are obvious.  Trucks can be up to 30 times the size of a passenger vehicle, which means they can inflict much more damage in an accident situation.  Additionally, human factors such as long-haul shifts and lack of sleep can impair a truck driver’s ability to operate his truck safely.

Causes of Truck Accidents 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 87% of truck accidents are a result of factors relating to the driver.  That same study found a statistically significant link between the following factors in accidents involving trucks and passenger vehicles:

  • Interruption of the traffic flow
  • Unfamiliarity with roadway
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Illegal maneuver
  • Inattention
  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • False assumption of other motorist’s actions
  • Distraction by an object or person inside the vehicle 

How To Stay Safe Around Trucks

When sharing the roadway with trucks, there are certain precautions you can take to ensure your own safety:

  • Anticipate the truck driver’s visibility and blind spots. Be aware that truck drivers have much larger blind spots than car drivers, and try to avoid them whenever possible.
  • Practice defensive driving. Because of their size, trucks take much longer to stop than a car, and are also more prone to tire blowouts.  If you sense that a truck is following your vehicle too closely, move out of the lane and allow them to pass if possible.  If you see a truck driving erratically, give it a wide berth.
  • Be wary of where and how you pull over. If you must pull over on a highway, be sure to pull over as far as possible from the road to ensure that a truck driving too close to the lane line does not side hit you or swipe your car.

What To Do If You Are Involved in a Commercial Truck Accident 

If you have been injured in a collision with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation under Florida law.  An experienced commercial truck accident lawyer can help you recuperate expenses related to your injuries.  If you have been injured in a truck accident in the Tampa area, contact Dennis A. Lopez & Associates at (813) 502-1836 for a free consultation about your case.