Most auto accidents can be attributed to driver error, but commercial Tampa trucking accidents are especially notable for their high rate of driver negligence. Careless driving is particularly terrifying in the context of commercial trucking because the vehicles are so enormous, so top-heavy, and capable of so much destruction in the blink of an eye.
So, why do trucking accidents happen?
A lot of it comes down to working conditions. Truck drivers are often asked to drive long hours along unfamiliar routes. It isn’t unusual for them to work an entire shift overnight, when the rhythm of the road and the darkness in the sky has a lulling effect. Many of them find themselves growing tired, weary, and distracted. The drivers’ employers are a major factor too. Always focused on the bottom line, many of these employers engage in business practices that push their workers too far. Florida and federal law tightly regulate the conditions under which truck drivers can operate, including a limit on the number of hours they can work during a shift and the amount of time they’re given for rest in between.
If you’ve been injured in one of these incidents, the Tampa trucking accident attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can help you investigate the cause of the crash, including any relevant employment conditions.
We’ll examine a few specific causes of trucking accidents below.
Alcohol and Illicit Drugs
One of the most surprising revelations in the federal government’s 2007 investigation of national trucking crashes, the largest study of its kind, was the prevalence of alcohol and drug use in these accidents. In fact, the feds now say that alcohol or drugs play a role in approximately 26% of the nation’s commercial trucking accidents. That is an unacceptably high rate, and we hope to see employers do more to ensure that their drivers remain safe and sober.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
Also surprising is the role of prescription and over-the-counter medications in many of America’s truck crashes. The federal government found that otherwise-legitimate uses of over-the-counter medication had an impairing effect on truck drivers in 18% of all trucking accidents. Truck drivers must realize that they have a responsibility to read and follow the safety instructions for any medications they take, even if a doctor prescribed them. A prescription is not a license to operate a vehicle while under the effects of medication.
Truck driver fatigue is a crisis in this country. As you can imagine from your own experiences on road trips or late night drives, a particularly long drive lends itself to sleepiness. But driving while drowsy is a dangerous game. In fact, several studies have shown that it is at least as dangerous as drunk driving. Innocent motorists have little defense against an enormous truck that suddenly veers from its path because the driver has drifted to sleep. Drivers have a responsibility to get adequate rest to avoid falling asleep at the wheel. If they are drowsy, they should pull over until it is safe for them to drive. Meeting a deadline does not justify endangering the public. Employers are responsible for making sure their drivers do not drive while drowsy.
Teenagers aren’t the only ones who text and drive. The problem has manifested itself inside commercial trucks too, where too many drivers are turning to their tablets and phones to pass the time. Other distractions pose problems as well: eating, reading, adjusting the radio, using a GPS, etc. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road can lead to collision.
It probably goes without saying, but speeding always increases the likelihood of getting into a serious accident. Many truck drivers accelerate beyond the posted limit, and speeding is consistently one of the most commonly cited fault factors in commercial trucking accidents.
Talk to Our Experienced Tampa Trucking Accident Attorneys
Every truck accident is different. No matter how serious or unusual your suffering has been, after 30 years as Tampa trucking accident attorneys, the Abrahamson & Uiterwyk team is up to the challenge. We have worked with over 20,000 people to fight for justice. We know how to approach injury cases and we are prepared to take on the biggest companies in the world if that’s what it takes.
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There is nothing to lose. We only charge costs or fees for our services if we win. You can count on us to work tirelessly for you. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to help you better understand your rights under the law. Time limits do apply under Florida law, so it is in your best interest to take your next steps as soon as possible. Please call us right away.