There are over 15 million private and commercial trucks registered in the USA. Drive on any road at any time in the nation, and you will encounter hundreds of trucks on the road. Trucks are vital to the American economy as they play a major role in the transportation of all types of goods. And trucks also have to share the same roads with millions of cars and other vehicles on the road. And, inevitably, a Florida truck accident is not uncommon at all.
Trucking accidents statistics, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (FHSMV) report, in 2017 alone, there were nearly 32,000 accidents that involved a truck. Each year, close to 140,000 individuals is seriously injured in accidents that involve semi-tractor-trailer rigs, resulting in 700 deaths.
More importantly, when accidents involve semis and big trucks, the injuries are often more serious than car accidents, and the resulting property damage is typically also greater. When a truck collision occurs with an automobile, the smaller car and its occupants usually fare the worst because of the size difference. Trucks are many times not only bigger than most cars, but they are also more powerfully built.
Trucks also require more time to come to a stop compared to regular vehicles and, if the road conditions have been affected by rain, oil spills, or otherwise in bad shape, the time to come to a full stop is even longer. As well, if the driver is fatigued or distracted, the time to react may be slower. In general, federal law mandates that all drivers only work 11 hours in one shift and no more than 77 hours in a week.
Finally, a collision involving a tractor-trailer truck usually results in serious, if not life-threatening, injuries.
Trucking Accidents Points
- In most cases, it is the driver and the passengers of the smaller cars that will be more seriously injured.
- Truck accidents can occur on almost any road in Florida but are most common on the highways.
- Trucking accidents can also lead to serious injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorbike riders.
- A truck accident is more likely to occur between the hours 6 am to 4 pm when everyone is in a rush to get to work or reach home.
- Truck accidents often involve multiple vehicles. This means that your car may be hit by multiple other cars or even potentially be crushed under the weight of the truck.
- Unlike motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents rarely involve alcohol. The reason is that truck drivers are closely monitored for any type of impairment and are often regularly tested for illicit drug use and alcohol use.
What To Do Following A Truck Accident
If you are involved in a truck accident, the following steps are recommended.
- If you are able, first check the status of any passengers.
- Remain calm.
- Call 911 at once.
- In most cases, when a car is involved with a truck, the damage is usually much more extensive than a fender bender. Take images of the accident scene as well as damage to your car. Further, take photos of the accident scene, like brake marks, the presence of red lights, etc.
- If your car is badly damaged, do not attempt to move it until law enforcement arrives.
- Exchange the relevant information with the truck driver but do not say anything about the cause of the accident. Anything you say can be held against you. You should obtain the driver’s name, contact information, truck registration, insurance policy number, truck license plate, name of the trucking company, and make of truck.
- If the trucking company’s lawyer ever calls you, do not enter into a conversation without your lawyer being present and do not sign any papers. Refer him or her to your own lawyer. Remember, the trucking company lawyer does not work for you and will, in almost all cases, minimize the trucker’s fault and try to show that you were at fault as the cause of the accident.
- If you have any injuries, seek medical help on the same day. Take a picture of all your injuries, and make sure you tell the healthcare provider what damages you have suffered. Even if you feel that you are not injured, go and see a healthcare provider because some injuries can present late. If you never go to the doctor, the trucker’s lawyer will claim that the injury is due to something else.
- If there are witnesses, try to get their contact information.
- Call your insurer and only provide details about the accident. Remember, the insurance company will monitor your phone call, and anything you say can be used against you. The most common scenario is that the insurer will either minimize your injuries or hold you responsible for the accident; this is done to avoid paying you any money.
- Get in touch with a personal injury lawyer. These professionals can assess your case and tell you how to proceed.
Minimizing The Risk Of Trucking Accidents
- Trucks have a huge blind spot; remember that when you are driving alongside them on the road. Due to that blind spot or poor visibility, the trucker may not see you when changing lanes.
- Show courtesy to truck drivers. Trucks are much bigger than cars and it is best to let them pass when they are in a hurry. Remember, trucks also take a longer time to stop than cars.
- If you need to pull over, do it on a safe part of the road where your car is completely off the road. Truck drivers may not realize you have stopped if you have only partially pulled over to stop.
- Control your rage. A car is no match against a truck, and it is best to control your rage if you feel a trucker has wronged you. If a trucker is speeding or careless, the best advice is to let him go first. The last thing you want is to be in front of such a driver. You could also memorize the license plate number and the company the trucker is hauling for, and later, call them and let them know about the behavior of the driver.
- Anticipate what happens on the roads while driving; this will give you ample time to react if anything happens while driving. The key to being a successful driver is to try to anticipate the actions of others around you so you don’t get caught up in them.
- Wear your safety belts on every trip, and do not drink and drive.
While a Florida truck accident is not an uncommon event, you don’t want to be involved in it. Knowing the risks of driving near such big trucks and/or tractor-trailer rigs can lower the chances of you being involved in an accident with them. With trucking accidents statistics being as high as they are, you want to take every precaution to reduce your chances of being involved in an accident with one.