As a major port city for commercial shipping, the city of Tampa experiences a much higher occurrence of trucking accidents than most metropolises. But you don’t have to be near Ybor City to run into commercial traffic—or to be hit by a heavy truck.

Being involved in an accident with a commercial truck, such as a semi truck, is a serious matter that normally leads to severe injuries or death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 4,317 fatalities occured due to car accidents involving a large truck in 2016, and 72% of the the deaths that occurred were occupants of vehicles other than the large truck. The NHTSA defines a large truck as a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVRW) of greater than 10,000 pounds, and 80% of the accidents that occured that year involved heavy trucks with a GVRW of greater than 26,000 pounds. In Florida specifically, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles estimates that over four thousand accidents occurred in 2016 involving commercial trucks. These accidents resulted in four fatalities and 22 incapacitating injuries.

Many people are cautious around large trucks, and thus, believe they will not get involved in a commercial vehicle accident. However, a large majority of the vehicles involved in a commercial vehicle accident become involved indirectly due to a multi-vehicle crash, and roughly 80% of the multi-vehicle crashes that occured in 2016 were fatal. The NHTSA has indicated that there are a host of reasons why commercial truck accident can occur. Some of these reasons are more common than others, and they might surprise you.

Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in Tampa, FL

The data gathered by the NHTSA reveals some trends that should be considered if you are involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle. Moreover, you and your car accident attorney should always investigate whether or any of these common factors played a role in how your accident occurred.

Drunk Commercial Vehicle Driver Accidents in Tampa, FL

Individuals operating commercial vehicles are held to a different standard than their non-commercial counterparts. Under F.S.322.61, the driver of a commercial vehicle can be charged with DUI if they are operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04% or higher, whereas non-commercial drivers must have a BAC of .08% or higher to be charged with DUI under F.S.316.193. According to the NHTSA, about 2% of the fatal accidents that occured in 2016 involved a commercial truck driver with a BAC of .08% or higher, which equals about 86 fatalities involving a drunk commercial driver.

This number may seem relatively low. However, the amount of fatalities involving drunk commercial truck drivers has been on the rise from 2014 to 2016 with 78 fatalities occurring in 2014, 81 in 2015,  and 86 in 2016. Moreover, the NHTSA only quantifies the percentage of drunk commercial drivers involved in fatal accidents, but 116,000 people were injured in large truck accidents across the U.S. in 2015. Thus, the number of intoxicated commercial drivers involved in accidents in the U.S. is likely higher than that of the fatal accident statistic.

Speeding in a Commercial Vehicle Accidents in Tampa, FL

Florida had the third highest number, 275, of fatal accidents involving commercial vehicles in the country in 2016. Although these accidents can occur for a number of reasons, a commercial driver’s ticket history can be an indicator of factors that might have contributed to your accident. The driving history of commercial drivers involved in a fatal accidents indicated that 22.1% of these drivers received previous tickets for speeding, and 20.3% had previous crashes reported on their driving record.

So, although these factors do not indicate why an accident occurred, they can be indicative of a history of reckless driving. As such, you should always consult with your car accident attorney to determine if the commercial driver had history of speeding, DUI, or past accidents, because the company that employs the driver has an obligation to ensure that their employee operates these large vehicles in a safe responsible manner. Failure to do so could be considered negligence in certain instances.

Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa, FL

Being involved in a commercial vehicle accident can be devastating and leave you feeling scared, angry, and overwhelmed, which is why you should never initiate your claim without the assistance of a car accident attorney. 1-800-INJURED is a lawyer and medical referral service with a network of personal injury attorneys that focus their practice on car accident cases throughout the state of Florida. Don’t let a car accident ruin your life. Call 1-800-INJURED today to be connected with a car accident attorney near you.

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