Year after year, the state of Florida continuously holds the #3 position for the most traffic fatalities involving semi trucks in the entire nation. Compared to how many truck accidents happen a year in Florida, only California and Texas experience more fatal truck accidents, though their overall amount of fatal traffic accidents is also higher. Data released by Florida Department of Highway Safely shows injuries and fatalities from trucking accidents skew three times higher than the national average.
But, exactly how many of these devastating crashes occur each year? Today, we're going to take a look at how many truck accidents happen in a year in Florida - along with how you can avoid them.
A Troubling Trend in Truck Accidents
Every 16 minutes of each day in the United States, a person is injured or killed in an accident with a large truck. Annually, more than 140,000 individuals are injured in semi truck accidents, and 700 occupants of large trucks die in crashes each year. When it comes to how many truck accidents happen a year, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that nearly 32,000 accidents involving a large truck occurred in Florida in 2017. Of these accidents, 27 people were killed, 57 were incapacitated, and 1,053 suffered other injuries.
Truck accident statistics in South Florida continuously shock the nation, with the state's larger roadways plagued with semi truck accidents regularly. As tractor-trailers, semi trucks, and big-rigs can weigh up to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle, their devastation can be inconceivable. However, their large size is just one of the many reasons why trucks are so dangerous.
Certain roadways in particular seem to constantly attract truck accidents year after year. In fact, some of the most dangerous areas for truck accidents are right here in South Florida.
Florida's Most Dangerous Roads for Truck Accidents
Florida's stretch of Interstate 95 receives over 300,000 drivers daily. The high amount of traffic along this stretch of road alone contributes to a plethora of accidents annually, however, the stretch northbound between Miami-Dade and Broward Counties experiences a heightened amount of collisions. According to NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), from Miami Exit 1A through Broward's Deerfield Beach exit, 1.73 fatal accidents occur per mile. Hundreds of semi trucks pass through I-95 daily, most hauling loads either across the state or across the country. Sharing the road with these massive vehicles contributes greatly to how many semi truck accidents happen per year.
Interstate 10 holds the record for the fourth-longest highway in the country, running 2,460 miles through eight states. While Florida's 360-mile stretch is in the northern region of the state, it does top FARS' list of deadliest highways, with 278 deaths annually. Running east to west in the Southern U.S., I-10 is a frequently traveled highway for truckers hauling freight from coast to coast.
Lastly, the 11-county long stretch of the Florida Turnpike, also dubbed the Sunshine State Parkway, is one of the most dangerous areas for truck accidents. While speeding is frequently an issue along the roadway, wrong-way crashes also pose a very serious risk. So much so, that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles instituted a "Stay Right at Night" campaign in hopes of minimizing wrong-way driving crashes.
Tips to Avoid an Accident with a Truck
With their massive, looming presence, and frequency across most major roadways, it can seem that avoiding a trucking accident is near-impossible. However, despite how many truck accidents happen a year, there are quite a few tips on avoiding an accident with a big-rig or semi truck.
Heed the Warning to Stay Back: All tractor-trailers, semi trucks, and big-rigs will likely be branded with some type of "Stay Back 50 Feet" warning, either by a painted notice or with a reflective sticker. Respecting that warning is critical, and can actually save your life in the case of an accident. In severe weather, such as fog or rain, pay special attention and keep an eye our for lane-changing or slow-moving trucks.
Stay Alert: You should always be aware of your surroundings while driving, but this could not be more important than when sharing the road with a large truck. Some of the major causes of truck accidents are the truck driver's failure to obey traffic signals, improper passing, and driving over the speed limit. In general, large trucks require 40 percent more time to fully stop than a passenger car - while you can do nothing to control the truck driver's driving skills, you can protect yourself from their negligence. As such, be sure to avoid a trucker's blind spots on either side of the rear trailer, and try to avoid passing the truck on its passenger side - stay in the driver's line of sight at all times.
Avoid A Rear-End Collision: The risk of a fatality in a commercial vehicle collision more than doubles when a passenger vehicle strikes the tractor or trailer from the rear. When on busy highways or streets, as well as slowed or stopped traffic, try your best to avoid being the vehicle directly behind or in front of a large truck. If possible, stay in the left lane to allow yourself adequate room to swerve out of the path of danger if necessary.
Be Mindful Pulling Over: In the case you must pull over on the highway or turnpike, pull off as far as possible on whichever shoulder is wider. Even during the day, switch on your emergency lights to alert other drivers of your presence.
What to Do if You’re in a Truck Accident
Being involved in a truck accident is a traumatic experience. The sheer size and strength of the vehicle is so overwhelming that while your injuries may be substantial, the mental anguish you experience can be crippling as well. First things first, the most important thing to do if you're in a truck accident is to ensure your safety. Contact the police and visit a medical professional as soon as possible.
If you're conscious and coherent on the scene, gather the contact information of every driver involved as well as the license and vehicle information of the truck driver. Scope the scene for any potential witnesses, and gather their contact information. Pictures of the damage as well as the conditions of the road are also helpful.
Next, contact a trusted truck accident lawyer as soon as you are able. Trucking accidents can become incredibly complicated extremely quickly due to the complex layers of liability with the truck itself. While a truck driver can be found liable for negligence while operating the truck, the driver's employer, the owner of the truck, the company that owns the goods being transported, and so on can all also be found liable for the accident. An experienced truck accident attorney can help peel back these layers to find you all possible options for compensation for your damages.
With how many truck accidents happen a year, it's time to take a stand for your legal rights. If you've been injured in a truck accident in South Florida, now is the time to rise up and fight for the compensation you are owed. Contact Weinstein Legaltoday for a free and confidential case evaluation. Together, we can fight for your right to a fair settlement for your injuries.