The 2013 truck wreck death toll rose on July 3, when a 31-year-old woman died after her car collided with a tractor-trailer on Kings Highway near Arcadia.
The accident happened when the victim’s 2001 Lincoln Town Car swerved into a lane of oncoming traffic, according to the Herald Tribune. Her car collided with a tractor-trailer. She was trapped in her crumpled vehicle and died at the scene.
In 2011, the most recent year of complete data, there were 213 fatal traffic accidents in Florida involving a large truck – which was nearly 10 percent of all traffic deaths for the year.
In almost all of these wrecks, it was the driver of the car or a passenger in the car who was killed rather than the truck driver.
Seven Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Collisions
According to State Farm Insurance, here are some ways that tractor-trailer accidents can happen:
1. Size and weight differences. A tractor-trailer ranges in weight from 12,100 to 80,000 pounds. This is more than 25 times heavier than the average passenger vehicle.
2. Longer stopping distance. Tractor-trailers take longer to stop than a car or light truck. A car traveling 55 mph takes 265 feet to stop, while a large truck needs another 45 feet.
3. Fatigue. Truck drivers oftentimes get paid per mile that they travel, and not by the hour. Due to this payment scheme, many tractor-trailer drivers opt to drive for a longer period of time than they should. Unfortunately, driver fatigue slows down an individual’s reaction time, and can significantly impair a driver’s judgment.
4. Driver distractions. Driving on the road for a long period of time can cause a number of truck drivers to become bored and distracted. Some truck drivers use their cell phones to make calls or send text messages instead of keeping their eyes on the road at all times.
5. Adverse conditions. Driving can become more hazardous due to badly maintained roads, unfavorable weather and poor weather conditions. Dense fog and wet roads, for example, can greatly challenge a driver’s ability to maintain stability and control.
6. Improper weight distribution. Tractor-trailers generally haul different types of loads, and the trailer can sway violently if the cargo is not properly distributed or loaded.
7. Traffic flow. Sometimes, passenger vehicles weave in and out of traffic lanes aggressively, cutting in front of tractor-trailers and forcing them to brake suddenly.
A qualified Florida truck accident attorney can answer your legal questions following a tractor-trailer collision.
- The Herald Tribune
- State Farm Insurance Learning Center