The truck driver at the center of a recent Florida crash near Gainesville had received multiple traffic violations in the past years, including one for speeding and one for careless driving.
The 59-year-old driver from West Palm Beach was traveling northbound on I-75 when he collided with another vehicle. Both crossed the center line and median crashing into another truck in the southbound lane. A church van, also in the southbound lane, crashed into the trucks and a fire ensued. Seven people died, including five children from the church van and the two truck drivers.
Truck safety on the highways is a concerning issue. When a truck and car collide, because of the massive size and weight of a truck, the car doesn’t stand a chance. According to IIHSHLDI (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Highway Loss Data Institute), the United States has seen a 20% increase in crashes involving commercial trucks in the last decade.
Truck driver error
Information on KeepTruckin.com references a recent Truck Causation Study which studied 12,000 truck crashes over 33 months and attributes many of the truck crashes to truck driver error. One of the main factors is driver fatigue.
Long haul commercial truck drivers are under pressure to meet deadlines, which in some cases contribute to both speeding and drivers operating their vehicle without adequate rest. There are federal regulations to limit the number of hours a trucker spends on the road each day, but the regulations are often unfollowed. The data indicates that many of the drivers involved in the crashes were subject to adverse physical conditions right before the incident.
In addition to driver fatigue, the research shows four other areas of driver-related error in crashes:
- Non-performance: the driver either fell asleep at the wheel or had a medical condition that caused him/her to become impaired.
- Recognition: the driver was distracted or failed to adequately asses the road situation.
- Decision: the driver failed to make proper choices and was either speeding, following too closely or misjudged the speed of another vehicle.
- Performance: the driver panicked or overcompensated.
Other factors involved in the crashes they studied included equipment failure, traffic congestion and improperly loaded cargo.
Truck drivers are often at fault when they are involved in a motor vehicle accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck, be sure to seek the advice of an attorney to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.