A recent crash on Interstate 4 in central Florida involving a tractor trailer left one person dead. According to a report from the Orlando Sentinel regarding the occurrence, the accident occurred in the middle of the day just outside Orlando. A motorist in a car struck a concrete barrier, bounced off the barrier and re-entered the highway. The car then swerved in front of a tractor trailer, which could not stop in time to avoid plowing into the car at full speed. The car’s driver was killed and traffic was backed up for miles leading into Orlando as police investigated and the roadway was cleared of debris from the fatal accident.
The Hazards Presented by Tractor Trailers on Florida’s Roadways
Tractor trailer accidents occur with regularity on Florida’s highways. Although the Orlando accident discusseded above was caused by a motorist who hit a construction barrier and then rocketed back into traffic, the outcome may have been difficult if the motorist had been hit by another passenger vehicle instead of a tractor trailer. Tractor trailers can weigh 35,000 pounds when empty and up to 80,000 pounds when carrying a full load. Given that amount of weight, it is difficult for such a heavy vehicle to brake rapidly if it needs to, which can result in serious injury or death.
To compound the problem, and despite the existence of federal and state laws which regulate the number of hours that tractor trailer drivers can drive in a day or the speeds at which they are permitted to travel, these laws are routinely ignored. Safety of both the tractor trailer drivers as well as nearby motorists can thus be negatively impacted as a result. Therefore, a motorist on Interstate 95, Interstate 75, or any other highway in Florida may be behind an 80,000 pound vehicle driven by someone who is tired from driving all day or night and may not be awake or aware enough to brake suddenly when called upon to do so. In addition, the truck’s driver may be exceeding the speed limit, as most large trucking companies pay their drivers by the number of miles driven, which causes a perverse incentive for the driver to drive his or her load faster. Finally, many truck drivers prefer to drive at night, which can make them tired and less able to react quickly when called upon to brake suddenly, whether during the evening or during the day. To illustrate this point, studies show that road fatigue affects 1-in-5 drivers of tractor-trailers, with many of them reporting having nodded off behind the wheel before.
Contact Lytal Reiter if You or a Loved One Have Been Involved in a Tractor-Trailer Accident in Florida
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, then you should hire an attorney with extensive knowledge of Florida truck laws. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have handled hundreds of cases involving accidents involving tractor trailers and other commercial trucks. We have the experience and financial resources to take on the most powerful trucking companies and insurance giants. Call today for a free consultation.