Commercial vehicles log thousands of miles and hundreds of routes on Florida’s interstates and highways alone. These vehicles move a substantial amount of goods and provide necessary provisions to Florida businesses and industries. As well, Florida’s connection to shipping ports and large airports make it a hot spot for international import and export.
For the most part, the tractor trailers, semi-trucks, delivery vans, buses, and construction vehicles that qualify as commercial vehicles complete their routes without issue or disruption, but not always. Given the sheer number of hours these vehicles are on the roads, there are commercial vehicle crashes in Florida every day.
Statistics on Commercial Crashes in the U.S. & Florida
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is tasked with identifying and tracking the number of commercial vehicle crashes in the United States. Each year this federal agency releases a number of reports on large trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles, in an effort to increase safety and knowledge surrounding these commercial vehicles.
According to the FMCSA, large trucks are involved in over 415,000 reported accidents annually in the United States. That is over 1,100 accidents per day, and the number of overall accidents and resulting fatalities are rising. In the most recently reported year, 2016, there were 3,986 people killed in collisions with large, commercial trucks in the U.S. This number of fatalities is 27% higher than in 2009. And many of these accidents and serious injuries are occurring in Florida.
The reporting entity in Florida is the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), which collects, compiles, and releases reports on accident and collision statistics specific to Florida roads. The FLHSMV includes comprehensive reports on motor vehicle accidents, including time of day, weather conditions, teen drivers, and commercial vehicle accidents. According to statewide police reports, there were over 41,000 commercial vehicle crashes in Florida last year, which is over 112 per day.
Causes of Commercial Vehicle Crashes in Florida
What leads to these 41,000 commercial vehicle accidents? It turns out that this high volume of accidents is actually precipitated by a small number of underlying causes. And this is true not only in Florida but across the United States.
It’s important to recognize that negligence on behalf of commercial drivers contributes to over 50% of all commercial vehicle accidents in Florida. This includes distracted driving, mistakes, and errors in judgment while on the road. What does this mean for other people on Florida roads? There is an above average chance that injuries and property damage resulting from these accidents is at least partially contributed to the commercial driver.
Other reasons an accident might be caused by a commercial driver include fatigue and drowsiness or intoxication or driving under the influence of a controlled substance. In particular, commercial driver fatigue is a huge concern in the United States, where tractor-trailer and semi-truck drivers undertake huge distances and lengthy drives to deliver cargo.
Inexperience or improper training causes another subset of accidents. It’s incredibly common for a shift in cargo to result in overcorrection by a new commercial driver or bends in unknown roads to take a driver by surprise. In fact, 60% of commercial vehicle accidents occur on rural roads, where twists and steeps turns are more likely. Lastly, vehicle malfunctions and tire blowouts also lead to thousands of accidents each year.
Are Commercial Vehicle Crashes Always the Driver’s Fault?
If you were injured in a commercial vehicle accident, you could have a personal injury claim against the commercial driver, owner of the commercial vehicle, and company that employed the driver – but not always. Thousands of commercial vehicle crashes in Florida are the fault and responsibility of non-commercial drivers.
Operators of passenger cars, vans, and SUVs cause many of the collisions that involve commercial vehicles. Any commercial vehicle accident is evaluated by law enforcement in the same manner as other collisions. And statistically, commercial drivers are better than average drivers on Florida roads, which leads many insurance companies to argue most accidents were the fault of the other driver. It is essential that anyone involved in a commercial vehicle accident obtain proper documentation from the responding officer, take photographs at the scene of the accidents, and immediately pursue medical attention.
Involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle? Then you should allow an experienced Florida accident attorney to evaluate your claim. Aronfeld Trial Lawyers provides all potential clients with a confidential, free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your accident. To schedule your consultation, call 1-866-597-4529 or locally at (305)-441-0440. Our South Florida office is also available 24/7 electronically at [email protected]