Florida residents should know what factors are normally involved in truck accidents. This way, they may be more vigilant when sharing the road with big rigs. There are five common factors, the most widespread being driver error. Truckers, like anyone else, can be found driving drowsy, driving distracted, speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance promotes safe driving practices among commercial drivers in Florida and nationwide. In July 2019, CVSA joined forces with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to organize Operation Safe Driver Week. This event directed law enforcement to focus on speeding due to its contribution to many fatal crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that more than 25% of traffic fatalities since 2008 involved speeding. Among commercial drivers issued citations during the event, 1,454 of them had been speeding. Another 2,126 commercial drivers received warnings for speeding.
Florida truckers may rank among some of the most sleep-deprived workers in the state. The consequences can be significant not only for the truckers, who may suffer increased risks of serious health effects, but also for everyone else sharing the road as truck driver fatigue is a major contributor to serious trucking accidents. According to one study released by Ball State University, 35.6% of Americans received inadequate nightly sleep, assessed by researchers as seven hours nightly or less. This is a nearly 5% increase from a 2010 study, which showed 30.9% of Americans receiving insufficient nightly sleep.
Truckers in Florida have a duty to maintain their vehicles, and that includes their brakes. Good brakes keep a truck's braking distance to a minimum, which lowers the risk for rear-end collisions, but unfortunately, many truckers are indifferent to this. Even fleet owners and mechanics do not emphasize it as much as they ought to, which is part of the reason why there is an annual inspection spree to ensure brake safety.
Commercial truck accidents have become increasingly common in Florida and other U.S. states over the last few years. According to safety advocates, one of the possible causes of the problem could be sleep apnea.
Automatic emergency braking systems can save lives in Florida and across the U.S., especially if they are installed on commercial trucks. This is the belief of the Truck Safety Coalition and of the three congresspeople who introduced a bill, H.R. 3773, in the House of Representatives on July 16. This bill is called the Safe Roads Act of 2019 and would mandate AEB installation and use on all new commercial vehicles.
Truck drivers in Florida and across the U.S. may soon be able to drive for more hours during workdays. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is reportedly set to loosen federal limitations on how long a driver may drive before stopping for a rest break. The move is a victory for the trucking industry, which has long advocated for the change.
Statistics show that large truck accidents are an increasingly common occurrence on Florida roadways. Because of the massive size of commercial big rigs, these accidents tend to cause more damage, injuries and deaths than accidents involving passenger vehicles. They can also be a major hassle to deal with in terms of insurance claims because multiple parties, including the truck driver and the trucking company, are often involved in the claims process.
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.
The weight and longer stopping distance of large trucks make them a dangerous presence on the road. However, residents of Florida should know that most collisions with large trucks are the fault of passenger vehicle drivers. That's why it's important to know the most common factors that lead to crashes.