Motorists in 2022 are facing a perfect storm of factors that make collisions with semis and large commercial trucks more likely than ever before. This is a particularly critical safety issue because of the extreme risks faced by occupants of passenger vehicles, many of whom are seriously injured or killed when a collision occurs with a tractor-trailer or other large commercial truck. Bicyclists and pedestrians are even more imperiled, as their size disadvantage and lack of a safety cage leave them especially vulnerable during impact.
Despite the well-known risks, trucking collisions are occurring at record levels. Several elements are to blame:
- The supply-chain constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic have put record numbers of overworked truckers on the road.
- A nationwide shortage of 100,000 truckers continues to grow as industry consolidation reduces pay and degrades working conditions.
- Emergency orders meant to ease supply chains have permitted younger, less experienced truckers to cross state lines.
- Large trucking companies are attempting to address the shortage by offering their own training programs and forcing new truckers to work off the debt.
- Regulators in the United States have failed to keep pace with some life-saving safety mandates already enforced throughout much of the developed world, including the use of improved underride guards, side underride guards, speed limiters, date recorders, and electronic log books.
- The internet economy continues to push an increasing number of large delivery vehicles into local neighborhoods, where streets are not designed for such traffic and bicyclists and pedestrians face additional risks.
By the Numbers: Truck Crashes Trend Upward
Pandemic-era conditions aren’t the only culprits. Our trucking accident lawyers know the number of fatal trucking accidents was on the rise even before COVID: from 3,211 in 2009 to 4,842 in 2020, according to the National Safety Council. About 85 percent of those killed were bicyclists, pedestrians, or occupants of passenger vehicles. Serious injuries from trucking accidents top 100,000 each year.
Even more alarming is how Florida factors into these figures. The Institute for Safer Trucking reports the number of deadly Florida trucking accidents increased by 93 percent over a recent 10-year period, the seventh largest increase nationwide. As a result, our state is now the third-highest in the US for large truck collision fatalities.
Truck Accident Injury Claims
Our Florida trucking accident lawyers know that these collisions are among the most complex personal injury and wrongful death claims a law firm can handle. Typically, very serious or fatal injuries result when a victim is involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer, dump truck, or other large commercial vehicle. Accordingly, your chosen legal team must possess the medical expertise required to assess the full extent of injuries and the likelihood of long-term medical complications or disability.
Because commercial truckers are governed by a complex array of regulations, it is just as important to select a law firm with adequate investigative resources to look into all of the facts and circumstances of your accident, including compliance with state and federal trucking rules. Trucking companies are well aware of the risks and liabilities and have developed a wide variety of strategies to shield themselves from injury and wrongful death claims, including operating under numerous limited liability companies (LLCs), leasing trucks and trailers, hiring drivers as independent contractors, and utilizing outside vendors for maintenance and repairs. Identifying and holding accountable each responsible party, as well as their insurance carrier, is critical to winning all of the compensation to which victims and their families are entitled.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.