In January, seven people were killed in a fiery traffic accident in Florida. The victims, who included five children, were headed to Disney World when they were struck by a tractor-trailer truck. The incident is an example of the thousands of deadly truck accidents that occur across the United States each year.
In 2014, there were 23,515 truck crashes in Florida, but that number skyrocketed to 32,513 in 2018. Even worse, most of the victims of accidents involving large trucks aren’t truck drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 72% of fatalities in large truck crashes are occupants of the other vehicle, which is typically a passenger car or truck.
A 2017 report by the Florida Department of Transportation found that excessive speed is the top cause of driver-attributed large truck accidents. This fact is especially frustrating to traffic safety experts because speed limiters have been standard equipment on all large trucks since 1992, but the federal government has failed to require truck drivers to actually turn on the devices. In 2018, the NHTSA did begin requiring truck drivers to log their work hours on electronic logs, which are designed to ensure that truckers don’t spend too many hours behind the wheel. However, most drivers are paid by the mile, not by the hour. This means that many of them speed to make up for lost time, which can lead to serious accidents.
In addition to speeding, many truck accidents are caused by distracted driving and impaired driving. Individuals who have been injured in a truck crash caused by a negligent truck driver might need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property loss and more. After reviewing the details of the crash, an attorney may be able to gather evidence supporting a claim and work to obtain a fair settlement.