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Large Truck Accidents Increase, NHTSA Reports

The overall number of traffic accidents and roadway deaths is climbing. This in itself is troubling. But our trucking accident lawyers in Orlando are especially concerned about the uptick in crashes involving large trucks. 

These vehicles are massive. The damage they cause is substantial. Though they may occur less frequently than crashes involving smaller passenger cars, that’s really only because there are statistically fewer of them than smaller cars. When large trucks are involved in a crash, the injuries tend to be more severe. Fatalities are more likely.

Recently just outside of Orlando, one person died and another was left severely injured following a dump truck crash resulting in a fuel leak on a Thursday morning. The large truck was driven by a 56-year-old who made a U-turn at Fort Jefferson Boulevard from South Goldenrod Road. According to the highway patrol, a 30-year-old driver of a passenger vehicle, who had a 33-year-old passenger with him, was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. He slammed into the dump truck. Both passenger vehicle occupants were rushed to the hospital, where the driver died. 

As a result of the crash, approximately 30 gallons of fuel leaked onto the road, according to the Orlando Sentinel. This created a Hazmat situation prompting safety officials to shut down the road so the area could be properly cleaned and cleared. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its newest report on large truck accidents. For purposes of the research, large trucks were defined as medium-to-heavy trucks, excluding buses or motor homes, that have a gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more.

The data, which focuses on information from 2015, indicated that 86 percent of large trucks involved in fatal crashes were heavy trucks, which means they had a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more.

That year, there were 4,067 people who lost their lives and another 116,000 people seriously injured in large truck accidents. Researchers learned more than 433,000 large trucks were involved in crashes reported to police that year.

This 4,000+ figure represents a 4 percent uptick in the number of people who died in crashes with large trucks. The number of people injured also rose by 4 percent.

The vast majority of people killed in these collisions? People in other vehicles. That means the occupants of smaller vehicles, such as passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. We simply are not as protected in these vehicles when they crash into a behemoth truck.

Truck accident injury claims can be more complicated than your typical car accident case for a number of reasons. These include:

  • Injuries tend to be more severe.
  • Drivers working as independent contractors/ no vicarious liability of trucking company.
  • Multiple companies (i.e., carriers, vehicle owners, drivers, etc.) and multiple insurers may be involved.

The trucking industry has structured itself largely to shield large companies from litigation. This does not mean it’s impossible to hold them accountable, but it does mean it might not be easy. You will need an experienced truck accident attorney to explore the facts of your case and help you formulate an effective legal strategy.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Large Trucks, February 2017, NHTSA

More Blog Entries:

Broward Teen Run Over By City Bus Settles County Lawsuit for $850,000, Feb. 16, 2017, Truck Injury Lawyer Blog

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