Unfortunately, Florida has a high truck accident rate, with about 4,000 accidents every year. With several major cross-country routes passing through the state, truck traffic is very dense and, consequently, dangerous. In spite of ongoing efforts to promote safe driving on interstate routes, numerous accidents continue to occur, leaving thousands of motorists injured or dead. Truck accidents, like all traffic accidents, arise from a variety of factors. This article explores the most common causes of Miami truck accidents.
Drunk Driving and Drug Use
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2% of truck drivers involved in accidents in 2012 had a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Prescription and other drugs were present in 18% of truck accidents. Federal law requires random drug testing of truck drivers, but analysis of the statistics suggests these tests are not administered as often as they should be.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) statistics, 13% of traffic accidents occur due to driver fatigue. Because federal regulations no longer limit the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to work, driver fatigue will likely become a more frequent cause of Miami truck accidents.
Reckless and Aggressive Driving
Reckless driving refers to willful engagement in dangerous behaviors such as improper lane changes, failure to signal, failure to maintain a proper distance between vehicles, or failure to pay attention to other vehicles on the road. Most truck drivers who cause accidents through reckless operation of their rigs have not received adequate training.
The most common form of aggressive driving is speeding. The pressure on truck drivers to meet deadlines is immense, but the consequences of that pressure are sobering: almost a quarter of truck accidents are caused by excessive speed.
The number of truck accidents caused by distracted drivers has been increasing in recent years. It is an unfortunate consequence of the growing number of gadgets present in a driver’s cab. Common distractions include checking email, sending text messages, referring to GPS devices, and monitoring displays of fuel economy and road conditions.
Improperly Maintained Trucks
Many truck drivers fail to follow recommended maintenance schedules for their vehicles, leading to accidents. Worn tires and faulty brakes are crashes waiting to happen. Federal law requires trucking companies and their drivers to have their trucks inspected at regular time intervals and before any trip.
Strict regulations govern the size and nature of cargo that trucking companies may haul. Oversized cargo poses a significant safety hazard; even the slightest deviation from federal guidelines for the transport of such loads can lead to a tragic outcome. Additional regulations apply to trucks carrying chemicals, toxic waste, or other hazardous or volatile material. Companies that fail to honor all appropriate guidelines are held responsible for any resulting truck accidents.
The First Steps to Take When Involved in a Truck Accident
If you’ve been in a truck accident, the first thing you should do is contact the police and file an accident report. It’s imperative to act promptly and provide accurate information about the accident to protect your rights. If possible, you should try and take pictures of the accident scene. Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries, even those that seem minor. You should also call your insurance company, but avoid signing any statement until you have received advice from a lawyer.
You have the right to file for compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, rehabilitation costs, emotional distress, lost wages, and other expenses arising from the accident. To find out more about the most common causes of Miami truck accidents, your rights, and the compensation you’re entitled to following a truck accident, call us today at 305-440-0450.