Kissimmee Truck Accident Lawyer
In its annual traffic crash report, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles defines a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as a bus, truck, vehicle transporting hazardous materials, or a vehicle weighing over 10,000 pounds. According to the latest data, 654 CMV crashes occurred in Osceola County in 2018, resulting in 315 injuries and ten fatalities. That’s nearly two crashes a day in this county alone, resulting in injury or death nearly half the time. Truck accidents are traumatic and have the potential to cause the most severe injuries, and they are often caused by negligent truck drivers or trucking companies.
Under Florida personal injury law, if you suffered a permanent injury in a truck crash or lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident, you can recover compensation for all your medical bills and lost wages, plus mental or emotional pain and suffering and other legal damages. Draper Law Office can help you in this process. Our Kissimmee truck accident lawyers have been helping Osceola County crash victims for decades. Our lawyers have the knowledge, skill, dedication and resources to go up against the biggest national trucking companies and hold them accountable for their failure to train or supervise their drivers or maintain their fleet in a safe condition. Call our office for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer crash in Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Davenport, Celebration or surrounding areas.
What Makes Truck Accidents so Dangerous?
Call them trucks, tractor-trailers, semis, big rigs or 18-wheelers; these behemoths rule the state routes and highways of Osceola County. Clocking in at up to 80,000 pounds, these rigs outweigh even the heaviest SUV by a factor of more than ten to one. At highway speeds, the force delivered on impact is enormous and more than enough to overcome the crashworthiness of the strongest and safest passenger vehicle.
Because of their immense weight, semi-trucks need more reaction time and stopping distance than the average passenger vehicle. Unless the trucker is driving at a safe speed and allowing plenty of room between the truck and other vehicles, a sudden change in traffic patterns or an object in the road can lead to a catastrophic accident. The size and shape of tractor-trailers also create numerous dangerous blind spots for the driver. All cars have blind spots that drivers must check before changing lanes, but in the case of 18-wheelers, these blind spots extend outward across several lanes on both sides of the trailer, as well as continuing for several car lengths behind the trailer and in front of the cab. Drivers of passenger vehicles in the vicinity of these big rigs have difficulty seeing around the trucks as well. Though we all know that hanging out in a truck driver’s blind spots (the “no-zone”) is dangerous, it’s not always possible to avoid in heavy traffic or when passing a truck. Truckers who fail to check their mirrors before changing lanes risk causing a serious accident.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Trucking accidents can be the fault of the truck driver, the trucking company, or both. Below are some of the most common reasons for truck crashes in Kissimmee:
Fatigued and Drowsy Driving
Truck drivers are limited in how long they can be on duty by the “hours of service” rules put forward by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These rules are much more generous than the typical 40-hour, five-day work week most of us are used to. Under the FMCSA regulations, truckers can be on duty up to 14 hours a day, including 11 hours of driving time, before taking as little as ten hours off. They can lawfully put in 60 hours over a seven-day week or 70 hours over an eight-day “week.” After all that, truckers can start a new workweek after as little as 34 hours off-duty,
After learning about how long truck drivers are allowed to work without rest, it’s no wonder they are notorious for drowsy driving accidents or falling asleep at the wheel. What may still shock you to learn is that despite these generous hours of service rules, truck drivers frequently flout the regulations and drive even longer than the law allows. This fact is continually revealed in annual roadside inspections that find truck drivers falsifying records and logs to hide their noncompliance.
Unbalanced or Overloaded Trailers
Trucks have to be carefully loaded and balanced to operate safely. If a load shifts or becomes unbalanced, the driver can lose control of the vehicle and veer off the road, tip over or jackknife. An overloaded truck is more prone to tire or brake failure, which can cause a tragic crash.
Lack of Proper Maintenance
Large trucks have more complicated systems that require more maintenance than the average vehicle, and they need more frequent maintenance for simple fact that they are driven so much more. FMCSA rules require pre-trip inspections and routine maintenance, yet roadside inspectors find themselves pulling thousands of 18-wheelers out of service immediately due to bad tires, bad brakes or missing system components, lack of safety equipment, non-working signals and other critical safety issues.
Speeding, Drinking and Distracted Driving
Truck drivers are like other drivers in that they are susceptible to speeding, drinking and driving and texting while driving. These problems may even be worse among truckers who have a financial incentive to get to their destination quickly, and who may pass the time on long, boring stretches of road with dangerous or distracting behaviors.
Help Is Available After a Truck Accident in Kissimmee or Osceola County
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Osceola County, call the compassionate and dedicated Kissimmee truck accident lawyers at Draper Law Office for a free and confidential consultation.