Each year, there are more than 500,000 large truck accidents in the United States. These collisions involving 18-wheelers result in more than 5,000 deaths and 140,000 injured. While large trucks are extremely vital to American industries, their enormous size poses danger on Florida roads and interstates.
According to studies, one of the most common reasons for large truck accidents is driver fatigue. Fatigue is responsible for between 30 and 40 percent of all trucking accidents. These alarming statistics prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to implement new rules in 2003. These guidelines have decreased the number of hours each truck driver can drive consecutively before going off duty for a minimum period of rest. Additionally, driver logs must be maintained to track the hours driven by a particular driver. New technology exists (black boxes and GPS systems) which allow for computers to track the hours and routes driven by drivers. Access to this information can dramatically improve your chance of success in a case involving a large truck accident.
Sometimes accidents with large trucks are caused by the actions of an employer, loading company or another party other than the driver. Overloading trucks, failing to follow weight and load limitations, failing to check brakes, failing to maintain the truck, decreased visibility due to weather and other conditions, requirements to drive in poor weather conditions, the inability to react quickly due to mechanical problems, failure to adhere to regulations for the maintenance and inspection of a truck are all common problems that can cause accidents. The trucking or transport company may be responsible for ensuring that all trucks are in good mechanical condition before hitting the road. In addition, federal regulations require that the placard on all trucks list the common carrier ID number for the particular truck, which usually leads to additional parties and insurance coverage.
If you are involved in a large truck accident, the same steps would be taken as in an auto accident. Contact the police to file a detailed accident report and gather detailed information from the other driver including contact information, driver’s license number and insurance information. If possible, take photographs of the truck, the placard number, the accident scene and the property damage. In addition, gather detailed information from any witnesses that are available.
Wittmer | Linehan has extensive experience in litigating tractor-trailer and large truck accident cases. Our attorneys have spent countless hours researching both Federal and Florida rules and regulations governing intrastate and interstate commercial trucking. In addition, we maintain a network of experts knowledgeable on the commercial trucking industry, load limitations, hauling regulations and accident reconstruction.