In Florida and throughout the U.S., state roads, highways, and interstates
are commonly populated by large commercial trucks, also known as semi-trucks
or tractor trailers. A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is defined as any
large truck or vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of more than
26,000 pounds or any bus designed to carry 16 or more passengers. Commercial
motor vehicles require an active Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
for lawful operation in any state.
Types of Commercial Trucks
Commercial trucks and commercial motor vehicles may include, but are not
necessarily limited to, any of the following specific types of vehicles:
- 18-wheelers (tractor trailers / semi-trucks / big rigs)
- Car Haulers
- Stake Trucks
- Flatbeds/Straight Trucks
- Cement Trucks
- Box trucks/Parcel-Delivery Vans
- Dump Trucks/Tandems
- Special Equipment (cranes, earth movers, utility trucks)
Tractor trailers and other types of mobile heavy equipment can weigh in
excess of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. When any truck or other type
of commercial motor vehicle is involved in a traffic accident with a smaller
automobile, the damage done to the smaller vehicle and its occupants can
be catastrophic or even deadly. Truck drivers and trucking companies are
responsible for the safety of their equipment and their actions on the
open road at all times.
Primary Causes of Trucking Accidents
There are a few common causes of
truck accidents in the US. In addition to inspecting their equipment and negotiating challenging
road conditions on a daily basis, truckers are among the groups of drivers
most susceptible to driver fatigue, also referred to as “drowsy
driving”. Studies have proven that driver fatigue is the number
one cause of trucking accidents and truck accident fatalities in the US.
Commercial truck accidents commonly result from any one or more of the
- Driver Fatigue / Drowsy Driving
- Driver Distraction (Cell phones)
- Inexperienced or Improperly Trained Operators
- Inadequate Equipment Maintenance / Lax Safety Inspections
- Improperly Secured Cargo / Loads
- Excessive Speed
- Poor Road / Weather Conditions
10 Common Truck Accident Statistics
- Cognitive impairment after approximately 18 hours awake is similar to that
of someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.05% – after
being awake for 24 hours, a driver’s impairment is similar to a
BAC of 0.10%, which is over the legal limit in all 50 states.
- Semi-trucks are involved in nearly 500,000 motor vehicle accidents each year.
- Approximately 20,000 accident-related injuries are officially linked to
truck driver fatigue each year, but experts feel that many more cases
go unreported or unconfirmed.
- On average, a trucking accident occurs at least every 16 minutes in the US
- A fully-loaded tractor trailer travelling at 55mph requires 300 ft. (length
of a football field) to come to a complete stop.
- About 65% of fatal commercial truck accidents occur in the hours just after sunrise.
- Almost 70% of Americans surveyed strongly feel that automated data recorders
on large trucks should be mandatory.
- The total number of accidents resulting in injuries for 2009, 2010, and
2011 were 60,000, 67,000, and 73,000, respectively.
- There were 4,018 fatalities and 112,000 total injuries in 2011 related
to large truck and bus accidents.
- 2% of trucking accident fatalities are drivers/operators, 98% are occupants
of other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
US DOT FMCSA