drowsy driving truck accidentPinellas County’s proximity to Tampa and Interstate 275 means that there is a large number of trucks and tractor-trailers passing through. When trucks and cars share the same space, accidents often occur.

Florida and truck accidents

A 2010 report from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that heavy trucks were involved in 3,329 accidents. Over 1,800 resulted in injury, and 58 were fatal. When trucks are involved in accidents, the worst injuries are sustained by passengers of the smaller vehicle. For example, national statistics from 2011 show that 16% of fatalities were occupants of the truck, while 66% were occupants of other vehicles.

Truckers’ Responsibility

Truckers have a responsibility to others on the road with them. It is important for truckers to avoid risky behavior. This includes eating and drinking, reading maps, or using a cell phone while driving. It also includes speeding, drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs, or not paying attention to the roads. Trucking companies have an obligation to make sure their loads are secure and that the vehicles are mechanically sound.

Drivers’ Responsibility

Likewise, drivers can also act in a responsible manner when in the proximity of tractor-trailers. To be safe around trucks, follow these tips:

  • Do not squeeze by a semi that is making a right-hand turn. Semis often have to turn from the left lane onto a new road and trying this maneuver can be disastrous.
  • Give tractor-trailers room to merge onto the road or change lanes to avoid an unnecessary accident.
  • Don’t cut in front of a semi. A fully-loaded semis weighs up to 80,000 pounds and this means that needs a lot more room.
  • Avoid riding in the no zones – a truck’s blind spots are quite large. Drivers should avoid staying directly behind the truck, to either side of the cab or directly in front as truckers are unable to see them there.
  • Keep in mind that tractor-trailers may need to change gears while traveling up a hill and this can cause them to slow down and even drift backwards.

In addition, drivers can avoid accidents by obeying existing traffic laws and showing courtesy to truckers. Doing so can keep them safe as well as other drivers, pedestrians and passengers around them.

When a person is injured due to negligence on the part of a truck driver or a trucking company, it is important to speak with a qualified attorney for legal guidance.