Pennsylvania readers may have heard about the tragic Florida traffic accident that took the lives of seven people, including five children, as they were driving to Disney World in January. The victims’ vehicle was one of thousands that are struck by large trucks across the United States each year, and the problem is getting worse.
For example, in Florida, there were 23,515 truck accidents in 2014. By 2018, that number had jumped to 32,513. Furthermore, 72% of truck crash fatalities are people in vehicles other than the truck according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A 2017 report by the Florida Department of Transportation found that speeding is the top cause of large truck accidents linked to driver error. Traffic safety experts point out that the technology to prevent many speed-related accidents has been available for decades.
Since 1992, truck manufacturers have installed speed limiters on all large trucks, but many truck drivers don’t bother to activate the devices on their vehicles. One of the reasons for this is that most truck drivers are paid by the mile, not by the hour. This means that they have the incentive to speed to stay on schedule and pad their paycheck. For years, truck safety advocates have urged the NHTSA to mandate the use of speed limiters, but the agency has so far failed to act.
Truck accidents are often caused by speeding drivers, distracted drivers and drunk drivers. Individuals who are injured in truck crashes may find relief by contacting a personal injury attorney for assistance. The attorney may review police reports, investigate the crash scene and interview witnesses to build a claim against the at-fault truck driver. Legal counsel might then be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or litigate the claim in court.