• Lisa Brown

Fatal I-75 Trucking Accident is a Grim Reminder of the Dangers of Tractor-Trailers

On Thursday, January 3, 2019, a multi-vehicle accident occurred on I-75 near Gainesville.   The accident involved four vehicles, two of which were tractor-trailers.    The accident killed 6 people and injured many more.  Although the facts of this accident have yet to be developed, it serves as a reminder of the dangers of tractor-trailers, with whom we share the road with every day.

Each year there are approximately 450,000 accidents that occur between tractor-trailers and other vehicles, with 90% of these accidents resulting in at least one fatality.  Florida ranked as one of the top three states in the United States for the greatest number of truck accidents over a four-year period. But what makes a tractor-trailer so dangerous?  Here a just a couple of reasons:

  1. Tractor-trailers are longer and heavier, making them much more difficult to maneuver and handle;

  2. Tractor-trailers have much larger blind spots;

  3. It takes much longer for a tractor-trailer to stop and/or slow down;

  4. Poor Maintenance – tractor-trailers are subject to heavy usage;

  5. Tractor-trailer drivers are more likely to suffer driver fatigue; and

  6. Accidents involving tractor-trailers are much more serious, and often catastrophic

Because of the dangers that these trucks pose, special laws and other rules and regulations have been enacted that govern both the drivers of these trucks and their employers.  One such set of rules are the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  These rules govern commercial vehicles involved in interstate commerce and cover a variety of safety concerns, such as:

  1. Requirements for truck maintenance;

  2. The hiring and training of drivers;

  3. Hours of service for drivers;

  4. Driver record keeping (log books); and

  5. Drug and alcohol testing

There are also certain states that have enacted their own rules and regulations in an attempt to deal with the dangers of these trucks.  A violation of any of these rules can be significant evidence of negligence in a case involving a trucking accident.

Who Can be Held Responsible If I Am Injured in a Florida Trucking Accident?

Trucking accidents can be very complex, and determining liability can be challenging.  Unlike a car accident, when you’re injured in a trucking accident, there are often a number of parties involved who may be responsible for causing and/or contributing to the crash.

For example, the truck driver may be liable if it can be shown that the driver was speeding, driving distracted, fatigued, or otherwise driving unsafe.  The driver’s employer may also be responsible.  An employer can be held responsible for such things as the maintenance of the truck, or the hiring and training of the driver.  There is also the owner of the trailer, if the trailer was leased, which is often the case.   The owner of the trailer may be held responsible for such things as the improper maintenance of the trailer.  Finally, depending on the cause of the accident, there could also be a defective parts issue, which would then involve a parts manufacturer.

Because of the number of parties that can potentially be liable for your injuries after a trucking accident, it is important to make sure that you hire an attorney who knows what evidence will be needed to prove your case.  Things such as electronic logbooks and maintenance records must be preserved.  In addition, the attorney must also be familiar with all applicable safety regulations, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Free Information

If you have questions about your Florida accident case, you can download our Free Reports:

  1. What You Must Know if You Were in a Car Accident;

  2. The Ultimate Guide to Florida Slip and Fall Cases; and

  3. 5 Medical Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Personal Injury Case

which are available on our website, or you can click the link provided.  You can also contact us at (813)419-3866 to talk directly to an Apollo Beach personal injury attorney now.

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