Semi-truck accidents are typically catastrophic or deadly — that is, for occupants of other vehicles. Truck drivers have huge vehicles weighing tens of thousands of pounds surrounding them. This means that in the event of an accident, the truck driver is usually well-protected. Other vehicles? Not so much.
Sadly, a man was recently killed in a semi-truck crash in Florida. The fatal accident occurred on the morning of February 21 on Florida’s Turnpike, near University Drive.
A Ford Escape SUV was traveling on Florida’s Turnpike when it stopped for an unknown reason in the center lane near mile marker 46 in Miramar. That was when the semi-truck rear-ended the SUV.
The SUV was pushed into a concrete median wall along the paved shoulder. The vehicle then came to a stop on the shoulder.
The driver of the SUV, a 26-year-old man, had already exited his vehicle before the crash, so he was not injured. However, his passenger, a 20-year-old man, was still sitting in the front passenger seat when it was hit by the truck. He was taken to HCA Florida Aventura Hospital, where he later died.
The 38-year-old driver of the semi truck was not injured in the crash. The back half of the Ford Escape was completely smashed in. The semi-truck sustained front-end damage. The accident is under investigation.
Causes of Semi Truck Accidents
Semi truck accidents can happen in various ways. Some common causes include:
- Fatigue. Fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents because many trucking companies fail to abide by hours of service rules. A driver who hauls materials (not passengers) can drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty within a 14-hour period. It is against federal law to exceed that amount. Plus, it is not good for drivers, who may suffer from fatigue and get into serious accidents.
- Distracted driving. Distractions are something that every driver deals with. Truck drivers are especially prone to distracted driving due to long hours behind the wheel. They may get bored and turn to their phone for entertainment. They may text, call, post on social media, surf the internet, look for a good radio station, use their navigation, read books and magazines, or engage in other distracting behaviors while behind the wheel. When drivers are not focused on the road, they can cause serious accidents.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drug use are common among truck drivers looking to get a pick-me-up. However, intoxication can cause the opposite effect, slowing down reflexes and affecting judgment. It is a common cause of crashes, plus it is illegal, especially for truck drivers, who must keep their blood alcohol content (BAC) below 0.04.
- Speeding. Speeding is another common cause of truck crashes. While these large trucks should not be traveling at high speeds, they often do due to deadlines. Drivers will often go faster than they should in order to get to their destinations on time. However, excessive speed can make it difficult to slow down or stop for a road hazard.
- Road and weather conditions. When the roads and weather conditions are not optimal, accidents can occur. Potholes, rain, puddles, debris, ice, and snow can all cause truck drivers to lose control and crash.
- Failing to properly train drivers. Trucking companies may want to get drivers on the road as quickly as possible, but they need to spend time properly training them. Semi-trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. This is compared to a passenger vehicle that weighs around 4,000 pounds, so that’s a huge size difference. It takes significant training to handle such a big truck. Trucking companies can be held liable for allowing drivers on the road with inadequate training.
- Failing to maintain trucks. A lack of maintenance is another area where trucking companies like to cut corners. Semi trucks are driven hundreds of miles a day. They require regular maintenance in order to function properly. Poor maintenance can lead to tire blowouts, brake failure, engine issues, and other problems that can lead to serious accidents.
Liability in Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi truck crashes can be complex due to liability issues. Multiple parties can be held liable, including:
- Truck driver. A truck driver might be liable for a crash if they were engaging in negligent behavior, such as speeding, fatigue, or driving distracted.
- Trucking company. Commercial trucking companies are responsible for the trucks and drivers they employ. If the company does not provide adequate training, they might be responsible for accidents their employees cause.
- Cargo loaders. Cargo loaders might be responsible for a trucking accident if they did not properly inspect the cargo or secure it, and it falls off the truck and causes damage.
- Truck manufacturers. Some truck accidents, such as tire blowouts, brake failures, or steering problems, may result from a defective part.
Contact Us Today
Semi-trucks are large vehicles that can cause significant damage in a crash. When they collide with other vehicles, they can cause fatalities as well. Truck accident claims can be complex and tricky. Get the help you need from the team at Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm. We’ll help you determine the best plan of action. To schedule a free consultation, fill out the online form or call (954) 876-4344. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.