Sharing the road with a commercial vehicle should be -- and often is -- an uneventful reality of driving. We see massive trucks and buses all around us transporting animals, products and people every day. And typically, we think nothing of it.
However, commercial vehicle accidents can and do happen in Florida. When they do, they can cause catastrophic property damage and fatal injuries for the victims involved in a crash. Unfortunately, this risk of accident is only getting worse.
According to recent reports from subject-matter experts, the number of truck accidents continued to rise in 2018.
Reasons behind the increase
Experts believe that the rate of accidents is increasing for at least a few different reasons.
First, there is the ever-pressing demand on drivers and fleet managers to deliver goods on time.
Another factor likely contributing to the increase is the fact that trucks are driving more miles, particularly medium-duty vehicles. There has also been an increase in the size of these medium-duty commercial fleets.
A third factor could stem from the ongoing trucker shortage. With tens of thousands of positions open, companies must get creative with hiring enough drivers. Some might resort to hiring untrained, unsafe or unqualified drivers to operate their trucks, which could increase the risk of accidents.
What about safety improvements?
Unfortunately, the accident rate continues to increase despite growing efforts to make vehicles and drivers safer. Trucks are equipped with safer equipment; Hours of Service regulations are in place to prevent drivers from spending too many hours behind the wheel and becoming drowsy; newer vehicles come with crash-avoidance technology.
While these efforts have curbed some types of accidents, they are not perfect. Drivers still make bad decisions (especially when they are overworked or untrained) and not all trucking companies can or will adopt new solutions.
Staying safe around trucks
It is impossible to prevent every serious truck accident in Florida. However, drivers can reduce their risk by giving trucks plenty of space, staying out their blind spots and remaining alert. Doing so can help you get to where you're going safely.