We all know the daunting feeling of driving next to a semi-truck on the highway. Nervous about whether the driver can see you driving next to their 18-wheeler. Semi-truck accidents are a common occurrence across the country but definitely in Florida, Texas, and California.
Florida cities reported semi-truck accidents in 2019: **
- Miami-Dade – 8,689
- Broward – 4,312
- Palm Beach – 3,441
- Orange – 3,376
- Hillsborough – 3,069
What Causes Semi-Truck Accidents
Similar causes can be found among semi-trucks, cars, and motorcycles with all vehicle-related accidents. Distracted driving, poorly maintained trucks, fatigue, and speeding are common causes of semi-truck accidents.
Some of the most common forms of distracted driving are talking on a cellphone, texting, talking on the radio, and listening to music loudly; really anything that can take the semi-truck driver’s eyes off the road or lessen their road awareness. These distractions can lead to lane drifting, where accidents occur. Semi-truck drivers have a large blind spot compared to other drivers in SUVs or normal-sized vehicles. Technically, large semi-trucks have four blind spots: behind the truck, in front of the truck, and on both sides of the truck. The blind spots for the sides of the semi-truck are more prominent on the passenger side than on the driver side. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has an excellent diagram of the blind spots for semi-trucks.
Poorly Maintained Trucks
Poorly maintained trucks are mainly the company’s lack of responsibility. TEC Equipment has a well-structured list for recommended maintenance to semi-trucks listed out by mileage. However, for tires, semi-truck drivers should be checking tire pressure weekly and having tires changed between every 25,000 and 75,000 miles. It is essential to keep your distance if you share the road with a semi-truck that experiences a burst tire. When a tire bursts, there is always debris that gets flung out and can cause damage to your car. But the semi-truck driver also needs to pull onto the right side of the road to receive roadside assistance for their tire. If you get involved in a semi-truck accident where the leading cause was poor maintenance, you would be going after the company that owns the semi-truck instead of just the driver themselves.
It should seem pretty apparent that fatigue is one of the common causes of semi-truck accidents. Truck drivers tend to drive in very long intervals of time. Their duty periods are regulated by the Department of Transportation, which outlines the hours for semi-truck drivers. They explain that the work period for truck drivers can be a seven-day workweek, but the driver has to break for at least 34 hours within that week. As for their duty periods, they work a 14 hour period with conditions; the driver must take a minimum 30-minute break after driving for 8 hours. After the 14 hour duty period, the driver must take 10 hours off before starting another 14 hour duty period. If semi-truck drivers aren’t following these rules, fatigue will set in and cause swerving from exhausting and affecting their road awareness.
When driving on the highway for long periods, drivers can be victims of speeding above the speed limit. If each driver follows the road’s rules, semi-truck accidents can be avoided. The most obvious rule is neither the semi-truck driver nor the average driver should be speeding. It would be best to keep a good amount of distance behind semi-trucks for average car drivers. If you try to pass a semi-truck on the highway, you need to pass the truck on the driver’s side; this will be a safer way to pass a semi-truck.
If You Are Involved in a Semi-Truck Accident
When falling victim to a semi-truck accident, you should know exactly what to do. The most important thing is to get the police on the scene to write up a police report. The police report will have all the details of the case outlined if you decide to hire a truck accident attorney to help fight for your settlement. The other information you should gather is the semi-truck driver’s information and the information of the company they drive for. For your injuries, go to a doctor to evaluate what injuries you sustained. This will allow for proper compensation to pay for any surgeries or medical treatment you need to receive for those injuries.
** There are specific causes of semi-truck accidents that drivers should be aware of to avoid accidents. According to the FLHSMV, certain Florida cities experience more semi-truck accidents than others.