Due to their sheer size and weight, it can be intimidating to share the road with large commercial vehicles in Florida. For instance, a typical passenger car is only about 16 feet long and weighs around 3,500 pounds. A standard five-axle semi-truck, on the other hand, is about 74 feet long and can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds.
Sharing the road with big rigs is not only intimidating – it can be dangerous, too. According to the most recent Florida traffic crash facts, there were 43,190 commercial vehicle accidents in the state in 2017, including 586 truck crashes in Alachua County. Because of the size and weight disparity, many of these collisions result in catastrophic and deadly injuries for those in the passenger vehicles.
A recent series of articles by Consumer Reports points out that a focus on safety technology could help to prevent these accidents and avoid serious injuries and deaths.
Many Large Trucks Today Lack Advanced Safety Technology Features
Manufacturers have made great strides in recent years in developing advanced safety technology for passenger vehicles. The technology includes systems that:
- Warn drivers about imminent dangers – Examples include forward-collision warning (FCW), lane-departure warning (LDW) and blind spot warning (BSW) systems
- Help to prevent collisions – Automatic emergency braking (AEB), electronic stability control (ESC) and lane-keeping assist (LKA) systems are examples.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that an estimated 107,000 large truck crashes each year – or about roughly one-quarter of accidents that involve large trucks – could be avoided (or the injuries caused by them greatly reduced) if the commercial vehicles had those safety technology features. However, according to Consumer Reports, many large trucks on the road today lack the technology. The trucking industry has fought the idea of regulations that would require such technology.
“Industry experts, regulators and safety advocates … say that big-rig truck manufacturers and operators must do a better job adding these systems to new trucks and retrofitting older models,” according to Consumer Reports.
Even a low-tech safety upgrade such as adding underride guards to semi-trucks could help to prevent injuries and deaths in trucking accidents, the organization notes. In 2016 alone, there were 552 fatalities which involved cars hitting the rear or striking the side of a trailer, the IIHS reports. Underride guards basically act like bumpers and help to prevent smaller passenger cars from sliding beneath tractor-trailers in collisions.
Get Help from an Experienced Gainesville Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one recently was involved in a collision with a large commercial vehicle in Gainesville or elsewhere in Florida, you should seek help from an experienced truck accident attorney right away. It is important to begin an immediate investigation of these crashes in order to preserve, gather and analyze important evidence that may otherwise become lost or destroyed.
At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, PA, our lawyers are focused on helping those injured in truck accidents in Gainesville and surrounding areas of Florida. Contact us today to discuss your case in a timely, free and confidential consultation.