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What’s Behind the Surge in Truck Accidents in Florida?

— January 18, 2022

Unfortunately, some worry that as the ongoing driver shortage and supply chain issues continue, it is likely that drivers will continue to drive long hours at a time until something changes.

You may have noticed, but there seems to be a shortage of many things these days, including truck drivers. Many of the truck drivers who are out on the roads driving our goods from Tallahassee to Miami and countless other cities are working long hours and may not be at the top of their game 24/7. This, combined with increased traffic as more and more people come out of their pandemic bubbles, is resulting in more truck accidents.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of accidents in the state decreased because there weren’t many drivers on the road. Today is a different story. Many of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted and more people than ever are out on the roads. From residents traveling to and from work, visitors vacationing to the sunshine state, to the fact that Florida has a growing warehousing and logistics industry, the post-pandemic reopening is having an effect on the number of truck accidents in Florida.

According to stats from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Florida is one of ten states that make up half of all fatal truck accidents in the U.S. each year. This is alarming when you consider truck accidents, unlike an average care crash, are often more devastating and damaging. Think about it. Semi-trucks are much larger than a car. Big rigs, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other large trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000. This means accidents involving trucks are more likely to cause severe or even fatal injuries.

Currently, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is studying this rise in truck accidents. In 2019, the department published a study titled ‘Large Truck Crash for Freight Mobility and Safety Enhancement in Florida.’ While conducting research for the study, FDOT looked at data from 2007 to 2016. It found there were 243,017 crashes involving large trucks during that time span. There were about 8,619 crashes involving large trucks in 2019 alone that resulted in 350 fatalities and 4,443 injuries.

Image of a J.B. Hunt Transport Semi Truck
J.B. Hunt Transport Semi Truck; image courtesy of
DangApricot via Wikimedia Commons,

Additionally, the study found that, while truck crashes do happen in and around Tallahassee, the following locations tend to have a higher rate of truck accidents: Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakeland, Auburndale, and Naples.

The study also pointed out the following:

  • Driver error accounted for 92% of accidents
  • Road conditions account for 3% of accidents
  • Vehicle defects account for 3% of accidents

Fatigue is another issue facing a lot of truck drivers, especially amid the current driver shortage and recent supply chain issues. Drivers are being asked to drive for long stretches of time with inadequate rest. Some are even being offered bonuses to reach their destination in a certain amount of time. This spurs drivers to drive faster and longer. When fatigued, a driver’s reaction time begins to diminish, making them a danger to other drivers and potentially in need of legal assistance if they happen to cause an accident.

Unfortunately, some worry that as the ongoing driver shortage and supply chain issues continue, it is likely that drivers will continue to drive long hours at a time until something changes.

If you ever find yourself in an accident involving a semi-truck or other large truck, contact a Tallahassee, FL car accident lawyer. These lawyers specialize in dealing with insurance companies to help victims file claims and obtain compensation. If you’re claim is wrongfully denied, a car accident attorney can help with that, too. 

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