Dump Trucks Can Pose A Danger to Florida Drivers
Floridians rely on truck drivers to safely and efficiently move materials from one place to another. For the most part, trucking professionals are able to go about their business without incident, allowing the Florida highways to remain a relatively safe place for both commuters and other professional drivers. But unfortunately, safety is not always guaranteed on our roads as some drivers either operate their vehicles in an unsafe manner or they neglect to properly maintain the vehicle that they drive.
Recent Trucking Accident
Earlier this month, 75-year-old Karen Lucas was involved in an accident with a dump truck in Daytona Beach. The dump truck, operated by Claudio Coppola, merged into the westbound lanes of International Speedway Boulevard and navigated directly into the path of Lucas and her two passengers, Donna Miller and Dorothy Livingston, both in their 50s. The pickup truck that Lucas was driving was struck on the front-left corner and caused Lucas’s truck to enter other lanes of traffic. Although Miller and Livingston suffered only minor injuries, Lucas was killed in the collision.
Collisions in Florida
It is undeniable that large trucks have a significant influence on the amount of accidents that occur on Florida highways as well as the amount of deaths involving motor vehicles in the Sunshine State. According to statistics released by the National Transportation Safety Administration, Florida was home to 197 deaths that resulted from 187 trucking accidents that involved fatalities in 2013. That same year, six percent of accidents that resulted in fatalities involved a large truck. There are several factors that can cause fatal accidents like the one that killed Karen Lucas earlier this month, but the truly tragic truth is that most of these accidents can be avoided.
Like many truck drivers around the nation, dump truck operators are not paid by the hour, but are rather paid by the load. This reality incentivizes drivers to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. And although many truck drivers are able to strike a balance between safety and efficiency, careless errors can be made when drivers are too focused on speed. In fact, a Florida dump truck driver lost control of his rig and was killed in May. Authorities said that the vehicle’s tires left the ground and the dump truck smashed into a tree, finally coming to rest at the intersection of Lake Minneola Shores and Jalarmy Road. The driver of the dump truck was the only victim of the crash. Although it was not clear as to whether speed played a role in the incident, one could easily imagine how time pressures that truck drivers face could create extremely dangerous environments for both commercial drivers and motorists.
In order to prevent accidents like the ones detailed above, federal and state laws provide certain mandates to truck drivers and trucking companies. Among others, truck drivers are limited to a 14-hour workday, of which only 11 of those hours may be spent driving. There are also extensive maintenance and inspection requirements that aim to ensure that trucks and their equipment remain in excellent operating condition. Lastly, truck drivers must undergo physical testing to ensure that they are capable of handling an 80,000-pound vehicle traveling at high rates of speed.
Have You Been Injured?
When truck drivers or trucking companies fail to abide by the rules that are set out by the state and federal government, death or serious injuries can and do result. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident involving a dump truck or any type of large commercial vehicle, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney immediately. The skilled professionals at the Tallahassee law firm of Barrett, Fasig & Brooks have decades of experience getting injured clients just like you what they deserve. Give us a call today to set up your free initial consultation at (866) 346-4186 or (850) 224-3310.