Trucks play an essential role in our economy; they get us where we need to go. Larger trucks like delivery vehicles and tanker trucks transport essential goods; such as fresh produce, gasoline, and life-saving medicine.
A typical fully-loaded, large truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Due to the size of commercial trucks, truck accidents can be more catastrophic than typical car accidents.
In addition, eighteen-wheelers, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, tanker trucks, delivery vehicles, and other large freight trucks tend to have much larger blind spots than most passenger cars. These blind spots increase the risk of a potential accident.
In most cases where there’s been a serious or even fatal truck accident, it’s the passengers of the smaller vehicle who receive the most injuries and not the truck driver. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that in 2017, 4,761 fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred, and out of the fatalities, 72 percent were occupants of other vehicles.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
In addition to a truck’s blind spot being a potential crash hazard, common causes of truck accidents include:
- driver fatigue
- driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- distracted driving
- driver error or lack of experience
- mechanical failures
- dangerous weather; such as sudden hail storms or flash flooding
Drowsy Driving Common Cause of Commercial Truck Accidents
Driver fatigue, also referred to as drowsy driving, is among one of the most common causes of car crashes involving commercial truck drivers, also known as CDL (Commercial driver’s license) drivers. It’s the job of a CDL driver to transport goods over long distances; these CDL drivers often have to travel across state lines or even multiple state lines to make their deliveries.
Despite there being laws in place that limit the hours of which a commercial truck driver can be driving, too often trucking companies pressure their drivers to work long hours, causing the drivers to drive drowsy which puts them at the risk of crashing.
When and Where Trucking Accidents are Most Likely to Happen
The same data mentioned earlier collected by the NHTSA in 2017 also revealed that 27 percent of fatal large truck crashes occurred on interstates, 78 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on weekdays and that 58 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas in that year alone. Judging by these statistics, drivers should be the most alert of large trucks on interstates, in rural areas, and during weekdays.
Trucking in Tampa Bay Area
The Tampa Bay area is home to Port Tampa Bay, Florida’s largest cargo tonnage port. This means that Port Tampa Bay has more space for cargo than any other shipping port in the Sunshine State. With so many trucks coming in and out of Port Tampa Bay to transport cargo across the country, it’s no surprise that trucking accidents are a problem in the Tampa Bay area.
Drivers in Florida are encouraged to practice extreme caution when driving on highways such as I-4 and when driving through the convergence of highways I-75, I-275, and I-4, as that is where many crashes happen due to congestion.
Injured in an Accident Involving a Truck? Contact a Tampa Truck Accident Attorney Today
After crashes involving trucks, insurance companies move quickly to build their case. The trucking industry can be complicated and trying to handle everything yourself could be difficult without industry knowledge.
If you’ve been in a collision with a truck or have been in a commercial truck driving accident in the Tampa Bay area, you’ll need the legal advice of a personal injury attorney to help manage your case. Contact our attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys; we will work with you to fight the insurance companies so that you can get a fair and just settlement.