A 6-year-old Florida boy lost his life in a semi-truck accident recently as he was riding his bicycle to school. The incident reportedly happened at around 8 a.m., as a flatbed truck hauling wood frames left an exit ramp and made a turn. Some part of the truck struck and killed the child, but the driver indicates he did not see the boy. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
The collision was one of thousands of truck accidents that occur in Florida each year. Statistics show that medium or heavy trucks were involved in accidents causing 438 possible injuries; 289 non-incapacitating injuries; 103 serious injuries and 20 fatalities statewide in 2012. Nationally, the number of truck collision injuries and deaths increased significantly in 2013 as compared with prior years.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has passed regulations and instituted programs in recent years designed to reduce the number of deaths and injuries. Unfortunately, the effect of these efforts is limited. Only truckers can stop truck crashes, and they must do so by driving safely. When they are careless, victims can take legal action with the help of truck accident lawyers in West Palm Beach. Contact David J. Glatthorn for help after your truck collision.
Truck Accident Death Toll Increasing
In 2012, 18 percent more people were injured in truck accidents than in the prior year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also reported a 4 percent increase in truck accident deaths in 2012. Around ¾ of the victims in these collisions were not truck occupants but instead were other motorists. The specific cause of this increase is not clear, but trucker shortages are one possibility.
Understanding the reasons for the increase is important so steps can be taken to reduce the truck accident risk. The FMCSA has passed numerous regulations and instituted many programs on the federal level that are designed to make the roads safer, yet accidents and injuries still increase.
Recently, the FMCSA touted its change to rules setting maximum on-duty time as part of its successful efforts to save lives. The agency claims its new limits will prevent 1,400 crashes, 19 deaths and 560 injuries each year by reducing drowsy driving among truckers. However, many professional trucking groups question whether the new requirements will help or hinder safety. One of the new FMCSA rules requires drivers to take certain rest breaks between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. When drivers must rest at this time, they are more likely to be on the roads during peak hours when there is more traffic.
The FMCSA has also promoted its pre-employment screening as a way to save lives by letting employers check the records of drivers before they hire them. However, the program is voluntary and it is unclear the extent to which it provides useful information on truckers that companies would otherwise be unable to obtain.
These safety efforts may sound like they are saving lives, but identifying and addressing specific causes of truck accidents is key to actually making the roads safer. Truckers also need to make a commitment to safety and to following all regulations if accidents are to be avoided.
Truck accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help victims of collisions. Contact David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 or visit www.davidglatthornlaw.com to schedule a free consultation.