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Truck Accidents

Florida Truck Accidents

Although semi-trucks account for only 2 percent of all the vehicles on the road, they are the cause of 8 percent of all road accidents. This demonstrates that semi-trucks and tractor-trailers can cause accidents with devastating consequences for those involved. It is the size mismatch of these vehicles – a fully loaded truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds, a behemoth when compared to an average car that weighs 3,000 pounds – that causes the accidents to occur. Aronfeld Trial Lawyers handles a diverse range of catastrophic injures and wrongful death claims that result from trucking accidents involving 18-wheelers and collisions with other commercial vehicles. Our firm has the ability and experience to launch comprehensive traffic accident investigations by utilizing a team that includes private detectives, former police and highway patrol officers, accident reconstruction experts, and biomechanical engineers. Our team of professionals can quickly amass the facts, evidence and proof needed to establish liability, and maximize the recovery for our clients.

Common Causes of Major Truck Accidents in Florida

  • Dangerous Cargo: Semi-trucks that are loaded with hazardous materials can cause casualties if the shipment catches fire or explodes. Fires fueled by gallons of truck fuel burn up everything in the area, including other vehicles and houses.

  • Bad weather conditions: Fog, snow, sleet, rain, and smoke are all factors that cause bad driving conditions.

  • Failure to yield right of way: Car drivers need to appreciate that trucks should be given the right of way.

  • Unsecured cargo: Cargo on semi-trucks should be distributed and secured so that it does not shift during the journey. Additionally the tailgate, tailboard, doors, tarpaulin, and spare tires need to be fastened down. Drivers are responsible for checking the cargo after the first 50 miles, and again after 3 hours or 150 miles, whichever comes first, and for making any required adjustments. Improperly loaded trucks tend to roll over or cause spillage on the road leading to vehicle pile ups on the freeway.

  • Truck Rollovers: Trucks are subject to rollovers if they take curves too fast or if the rear tires collide with any object while taking a turn. Tires on pavements can also lead to rollovers, as can jack-knifing and overloading.

  • Substandard Maintenance: Lack of maintenance of tire pressure, brake and other fluids, lights and turn signals, windshield wipers and mirrors, electrical connections, steering mechanism, reflectors, horn, coupling devices, wheels and rims, and other emergency equipment can lead to accidents. Defective or old tires can fail or burst causing the driver to lose control and let the truck slide, stop suddenly, jack-knife or roll over. Statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) state that of 2 million trucks inspected on the road, 23.2 percent were found to be in violation of rules and regulations.

  • Road Obstructions: Trucks are subject to collisions if there are obstructions on the road, and if road signs and other objects are blocked by trees or buildings.

  • Longer stopping distance: Rear-end collisions are common when truck drivers do not stop in time or if they underestimate the distance needed to come to a complete stop after the brakes are applied. Trucks need a longer stopping distance, 40 percent more than other vehicles.

  • Untrained Drivers: Truck drivers must meet rigorous standards to be fit to drive these hulking vehicles; according to the Department of Transportation, they should pass a physical exam every two years to renew their licenses, with competent medical examiners certifying them free of any condition that impairs the ability to operate a truck. A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required to handle vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds, carrying 16 passengers including the driver, or loaded with hazardous materials. The failure of employers to check credentials and driving history when hiring new drivers is a major cause for road accidents involving semi-trucks.

  • Fatigue: Drivers push themselves to reach destinations faster by depriving themselves of sleep. Inevitably, fatigue catches up and accidents happen. Some drivers with sleep apnea, narcolepsy or other medical conditions can cause more accidents.

  • Longer Combination Vehicles (LCV): These vehicles, which comprise two or more trailers, have a higher percentage of jack-knifing, rolling over or swaying and losing control, simply because of their sheer length and weight. They require extreme caution, both to drive and to pass by on the road.

  • Blind Spots: These are areas in front of, behind, and near the wheels of a semi-truck, that contribute to the truck accidents, mostly when other vehicles do not keep a safe distance from trucks or when the truck driver is not careful when turning or changing lanes.

  • Jack-knifing: Semi-trucks are subject to jack-knifing, the situation that happens when a long 18-wheeler skids or loses control and the trailer and truck come to a stop at right angles to each other. Any vehicle caught in the resulting trailer whiplash is a goner. Jack-knifing usually leads to multiple car pile-ups and numerous injuries and casualties.

  • Under-rides: The beds of tractor-trailers being higher than most passenger vehicles, cars that trail trucks are in danger of ending up under the truck if they drive too close and the truck suddenly stops.

  • Squeeze Box: Trucks need to swing wide to the left if they are taking a right turn or vice versa because of their trailer lengths. Such situations lead to accidents if the driver does not notice smaller vehicles behind or beside the truck. Car drivers are often equally at fault in such situations if they try to cut between the truck and the curb, so they end up being squeezed in between both with fatal consequences.

  • Driver Distractions: Mobile phones and small television sets are distractions that can lead to accidents on the highway.

  • Speeding: Risky driving and speeding to get to the destination are major reasons why so many trucks are involved in collisions on the freeway. Methods of compensation that reward faster delivery times can encourage bad behavior. Truck drivers have been known to cause accidents by running traffic lights, going over speed limits, and driving aggressively etc.

  • Driving under the influence: Truck drivers are not allowed to operate their vehicles if they have a blood alcohol concentration of .02 or higher, according to the Code of Federal Regulations. The failure to comply with this rule can lead to a tractor-trailer disaster on the road.

Information on Florida Car Accidents

Florida Injury Lawyer Blog – Truck Accidents

Spencer Aronfeld | Miami Personal Injury Attorney

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers: Your Car Accident Attorneys

For nearly 25 years, I have represented injured clients throughout the state of Florida due to the negligence of others. If you, a loved one, or someone you know, has been involved in an accident in Florida, call Aronfeld Lawyers for a free initial consultation on your legal rights as a victim of an accident.

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