Accidents involving semitrailers on Florida highways can cause severe, often fatal, injuries and extensive damage due to the overwhelming force caused by speed and the massive weight of the vehicles. A government study says a shortage of experienced drivers is causing new concerns.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) survey highlights the role of inexperienced truck drivers in accidents involving semitrailers, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded.
Report sheds light on crashes involving big rigs
The agency’s 2018 report shows semitrailer drivers with less than five years of experience are 41% more likely to cause an accident than a more experienced driver. The most recent USDOT data shows 4,102 people died in large truck accidents in 2017. Of those victims:
- 68% were occupants of cars and motor vehicles
- 17% were truck occupants
- 14% were motorcyclists, pedestrians or bicyclists
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted a 30% increase in the number of people who died in large truck crashes from 2009 to 2017. The fatality rate was even higher during the same period – 52% for truck occupants.
Truck driver shortage a cause for concern
A recent NPR story says trucking companies are seeing an alarming shortage of drivers. The American Trucking Association says the industry currently needs 60,000 drivers. That number is expected to rise to 100,000 within a few years.
The driver shortage has led trucking companies to offer higher pay and bonuses to attract the next generation of drivers. However, it has also led to an increase in inexperienced drivers. Highway safety advocates are calling for stricter regulations for training new drivers before they hit the open road.
What should victims do?
If you have been injured in an accident, you could also suffer severe financial damages, including medical bills, lost wages and other costs. A personal injury lawyer here in Florida can help you find those responsible. That may include the driver, the trucking company, truck manufacturer, employers and insurance companies.
Truck driver fatigue, maintenance issues or other negligent behavior could be to blame for the accident. An attorney will look at driver logs and maintenance records to pinpoint a cause and get the compensation you deserve in court, or through a negotiated settlement.