U.S. Highway 301 in Florida was closed early in the day on January 5, 2012, after a fatal truck accident. The driver of a pickup truck was killed and three of his passengers were seriously injured in the crash. The crash occurred when the driver tried to make a U-Turn and was hit by a cement truck that was trailing close behind. The driver's side of the pickup was hit by the front of the cement truck after the cement truck's driver's attempts to hit his brakes and swerve were unsuccessful.
Collisions between vehicles and commercial trucks are especially dangerous due to disparity in size between the semitrailer and the smaller passenger vehicles. Commercial trucks need more distance for braking and larger openings than other cars in order to change lanes. The very operation of trucking can also cause more accidents because many drivers are paid per mile which makes them want to driver at higher speeds and take less time for sleeping breaks.
However, out of the 41,000 to 45,000 traffic deaths occurring yearly, only nine percent of these accidents involve commercial trucks. Of that nine percent, over 80 percent of the collisions are the fault of the driver of the smaller vehicle, not the driver of the commercial truck. Common problems in many of these accidents are fatigue, driving under the influence and distracted driving.
Collisions between a non-commercial vehicle and commercial trucks are very dangerous. Approximately 5,000 people are killed in truck accidents each year, with 98 percent of those killed being the driver of the noncommercial vehicle. The majority of accidents occur in rural areas and on the weekend. Sadly, Florida has one of the highest levels of truck accidents in the country.
It is important that both commercial truck drivers and non-commercial vehicle drivers pay attention on the roads. Being alert and aware of your surroundings is very important to keep the roads safe for everyone. No matter when or where they happen, collisions between commercial trucks and non-commercial vehicles can be very dangerous. Everyone who shares the road needs to do what they can to help avoid these costly accidents.
Source: Tampa Bay Online, "U.S. 201 reopens after fatal crash east of I-75," 1/5/2012