Semis, tractor-trailers, cement trucks, dump trucks, delivery trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles continue to hit the roads of Southwest Florida in record numbers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates about 4,000 motorists are killed each year in accidents with large trucks. The majority were occupants of passenger cars, bicyclists, pedestrians or motorcycle riders.
The veteran Fort Myers truck accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, know trucking accident litigation is among the most complex areas of law a personal injury or wrongful death law firm can handle. When tractor-trailers or other large commercial vehicles collide with passenger traffic in Southwest Florida, serious or fatal injuries typically result. Commercial vehicle insurance carriers are experienced at fighting victims’ claims and employ some of the nation’s best defense lawyers. Trucking companies and other large commercial operators are equally adept at limiting liability by hiring independent contractors, leasing trucks and equipment, and operating through limited liability corporations.Trucking Accidents in Fort Myers
When it comes to traffic collisions involving large commercial vehicles, the nation has seen little in the way of risk reduction in decades. About 3,000 motorists were killed in collisions with large trucks in 1975, while about 4,000 a year were killed through the 1980s and 1990s. Deaths declined below 3,000 again during the Great Recession, before heading back to 4,000 deaths a year with the economic recovery. By comparison, traffic-safety education has reduced the nation’s overall traffic deaths from 45,000 in 1975, to about 35,000 in 2018.
Economic growth certainly accounts for some of the failure to reduce the risk of commercial trucking accidents. Today’s Internet economy puts more delivery vehicles into more rural and suburban areas than in the past.
While many drivers assume most truck collisions occur on Interstates and freeways, such as I-75 or Alligator Alley, only about one-third of fatal collisions occur on divided highways. Nearly two-thirds occur on major local roads, in the Fort Myers area that would include U.S. 41/Cleveland Avenue/Tamiami Trail, State Route 80 and State Route 82. Most fatal collisions occur during daylight hours, when interaction among large commercial vehicles and passenger-vehicle traffic reaches a peak.Determining Truck Accident Causation in Fort Myers
Fort Myers truck accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, know a lax regulatory environment has also increased the risks over the years. A look at the legislative history of the United States’ failure to adopt best safety practices used in much of the rest of the developed world illustrates the common risks of trucking collisions in Southwest Florida.
- Hours-of-Service: Fatigued truckers are at highest risk of causing a traffic collision. An industry that pays by the mile and relies upon paper log books to determine compliance with daily and weekly driving limits results in thousands of trucking collisions each year. In 2020, for the first time, most commercial truck drivers will be required to use electronic data recorders to log compliance. These recorders have long been used in many other countries.
- Advanced Technology: The industry has also been slow to adopt new technology, including speed limiters, data recorders, rear-view cameras and crash-avoidance technology. Even as such technology has made its way into the nation’s civilian fleet of automobiles, the trucking industry has resisted change.
- Trucker Shortage: A projected shortage of more than 50,000 truckers nationwide has undermined quality hiring at many trucking companies. Lack of national oversight by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (which was established to provide exactly such oversight), means bad drivers or drivers with failed drug tests or poor safety records too often just move down the road and get hired at another company.
- Side-impact guards/Rear-Under-ride Guards: We need look no further than the outside of the nation’s fleet of commercial trucks to find preventable risks. While Canada and most of the European Union have long required used of improved rear under-ride guards (those metal bars you see hanging down beneath the rear of a trailer), as well as side under-ride guards to protect bicyclists and pedestrians in urban areas, under-ride mandates in the United States have long been viewed as inadequate and side-under ride guards are not required at all.
- Dangerous Truckers: FMCSA’s Large Truck Causation Study found the most common causes of trucking accidents for which truckers were found at fault were operator error and dangerous vehicles, including brake problems, traveling too fast, prescription drug use, inadequate surveillance and fatigue.
At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, we have been fighting for the rights of injured motorists in Fort Myers for five decades. Our Fort Myers trucking accident lawyers offer free and confidential consultations to discuss your rights. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Fort Myers car accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.