I-75 Tractor-Trailer Crash Highlights Trucking Dangers

I-75 Tractor-Trailer Crash Highlights Trucking Dangers
A recent tractor-trailer accident that temporarily closed Interstate 75 during rush hour and injured the truck’s driver is a reminder of the dangers motorists face each day on Tampa area roadways.
A 43-year-old truck driver from St. Petersburg was hauling a load of used vegetable oil southbound on I-75 on Sept. 18 when he changed lanes and hit a 2001 Audi A6 driven by a 77-year-old Venice resident, according to a Tampa Bay Times article. Police reported that the truck driver over-corrected during the incident, causing the semi to overturn.
The trucker, who was hospitalized with serious injuries, received a ticket for improper lane change that caused the crash. Fortunately, the driver of the automobile and his passenger were not injured in the collision.
Causes of Crashes Involving Tractor-Trailers
Improper lane changes are a common cause of tractor-trailer crashes. Making illegal maneuvers and inattention were among the top 10 contributing factors for trucks involved in crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s large truck crash causation study.
Lack of recognition, or inattention, was cited 35 percent of the time as the cause for crashes involving semis and cars. Poor decisions, or speed and aggressiveness, were cited 42 percent of the time as the cause of large truck crashes.
Because of the sheer size and weight of semis, usually more than 10,000 pounds, the people riding in passenger vehicles are much more likely to be hurt or killed in accidents when they collide.
Accidents involving large trucks claimed the lives of 214 people in Florida in 2012, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures.
Hillsborough and Pasco counties are among the most dangerous counties in Florida, too. In 2007, there were more than 1,500 crashes with 16 fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles in Hillsborough County, although that number fell to 830 crashes and 10 deaths in 2011, according to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In 2012, Hillsborough County had 14 fatalities in accidents involving large trucks. Pasco County reported 379 crashes involving commercial motor vehicles in 2007 with 7 fatalities, and that number dropped to 192 and 4 deaths in 2011. Pasco County had five fatalities in accidents involving large trucks in 2012.
Avoiding Semi Truck Accidents
Motorists should remember that tractor-trailer trucks have large blind spots, Consumer Affairs writer Mark Huffman notes in a blog suggesting ways to avoid crashes with big trucks.
A good rule of thumb: If the driver in a passenger vehicle is unable to see the driver in a truck’s side mirrors, then the driver probably can’t see the vehicle either.
Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the rig when trailing it. Trucking industry experts suggest 20 car lengths.
Don’t “draft” behind trucks because if the tractor-trailer stops suddenly, it will be more difficult to avoid hitting it in the rear end.
When passing a truck, travel a safe distance before getting back in front of it.
Trucks are heavy, especially if they’re carrying a full load, so don’t cut in front of them unexpectedly. Traveling at highway speeds, a truck carrying a full load can take 120 yards to fully stop.
When driving on crowded interstates, simply try to avoid traveling close to tractor-trailer trucks.
Of course, semis play an important role in the nation’s economy and it is practically impossible to stay away from them on the interstate system. That’s why it’s important to be alert at all times and drive defensively when you get close to a big truck.
How We Can Help
If you, a friend or a family member find themselves in a situation such as this, please call the Law Office of Scott A. Ferris, P.A. at 305 670-3330 right away.  Scott A. Ferris, Esq. is a licensed civil law attorney who has been practicing law since 1987.  He is available whenever you need him to pursue your rights.  Please learn about our firm at www.FerrisLawFirm.com.