Truck Accident

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Semi-Truck Crash Trends in Florida

By | Florida, Truck Accident | No Comments

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, between the years 2004 – 2014, the state of Florida experienced a downtrend in accidents involving semi-trucks. Fatal crashes involving large trucks dropped to 168 in 2014 from 322 in 2004. While the number for injuries is higher, that decreased as well throughout the years. The downtrend in fatal crashes is not particularly unique to Florida and many other states decreased in fatal crashes as well, with only a few increasing, most notably in Texas. However, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, despite the growth in population since 1975, the rate of crash deaths declined nationwide.

Although Florida’s number declined throughout the years, the state still has a higher fatal crash rate than most other states, likely due to its rural landscape. According to the FMCSA, Approximately 61 percent of fatal crashes across the United States involving large trucks occurred on rural roads. Given that the state is primarily composed of rural areas, this explains its higher crash rates compared to other states with a large concentration of urban regions.

At Vanguard Attorneys, we handle a wide range of cases and have over 50 years of collective experience in many areas, including accidents involving trucks. Some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents in Florida occur when a truck driver is operating under the influence, sleep deprived, speeding, or even due to poor truck maintenance. Such accidents lead to tragic results, but justice is achievable and they can be held accountable. With our legal team of seasoned trial lawyers, we can help secure compensation needed to aid your recovery, so you can focus on your health while we take care of the paperwork.

For a free consultation, contact Vanguard Attorneys at (813) 471-4444

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Commercial Motor Vehicle Terms and Common Truck Accident Statistics

By | Distracted Driving, Truck Accident | No Comments

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
  • Buses
  • 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 following factors:

  • 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

  1. 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.
  2. Semi-trucks are involved in nearly 500,000 motor vehicle accidents each year.
  3. 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.
  4. On average, a trucking accident occurs at least every 16 minutes in the US
  5. A fully-loaded tractor trailer travelling at 55mph requires 300 ft. (length of a football field) to come to a complete stop.
  6. About 65% of fatal commercial truck accidents occur in the hours just after sunrise.
  7. Almost 70% of Americans surveyed strongly feel that automated data recorders on large trucks should be mandatory.
  8. The total number of accidents resulting in injuries for 2009, 2010, and 2011 were 60,000, 67,000, and 73,000, respectively.
  9. There were 4,018 fatalities and 112,000 total injuries in 2011 related to large truck and bus accidents.
  10. 2% of trucking accident fatalities are drivers/operators, 98% are occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists.


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Orlando Pedestrian Hit by Semi-Truck

By | Truck Accident | No Comments

On Tuesday, January 14th, a pedestrian walking along Orlando’s Orange Blossom Trail lost his life after being struck by a tractor trailer. The victim’s name was not released, but he was identified only as a 33-year-old resident of Orlando, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The deadly accident took place just around 10:22pm near the North Park Commerce Center near Clarcona Ocoee Road. The pedestrian was walking in the right lane approaching the entrance to the business park. The truck driver was identified as 44-year-old Luis Carrasquillo Rivera of Orlando. Rivera told troopers he did not see the man walking because the area was very dark.

The critically injured pedestrian was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead a short while after. The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured in the accident. Troopers did not release any further details about the accident.

  • A fully-loaded tractor trailer travelling at 55mph requires 300 ft. (length of a football field) to reach a complete stop.
  • Driver fatigue is the leading cause of all trucking accidents and trucking-related fatalities. Driver distraction is the second leading cause.
  • Semi-trucks are involved in an average of 500,000 motor vehicle accidents each year, according to trends recorded by the US DOT

6-year-old Cyclist Struck and Killed by Semi Truck near Orlando

By | Truck Accident | No Comments

On Wednesday, February 5th, a 6-year-old boy passed away after being struck by a tractor trailer as he rode his bicycle to school in Orange County. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Jaden Vasquez Vallejo, of Orlando, was riding to Meadow Woods Elementary School when the semi truck, an 18-wheeler flatbed truck hauling a load of construction lumber hit the 6-year-old on Landstar Boulevard near State Road 417.

Vallejo was riding bicycles with his older brother, a fifth grader, at the time of the fatal accident. His brother explained to police investigators that they had both been walking their bikes across the street when the tractor trailer hit Vallejo, dragging him underneath it. Before state troopers arrived at the scene, Vallejo’s brother and mother, who live close by, had attempted to start CPR on him.

Vallejo was rushed by ambulance to Nemours Children’s Hospital, where he later died as a result of his injuries.

FHP said the truck driver, 47-year-old Raiford Reynolds, of Winter Haven, failed to yield at the intersection and claimed that he did not see the boy. Charges are currently pending against Reynolds, and he has three minor traffic offenses on his motor-vehicle record.

The crash remains under police investigation. FHP is asking anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact them at (407) 737-2213.

Teacher, Students Injured in Crash with Semi-Truck

By | Car Accident, Truck Accident | No Comments

On the morning of Tuesday, January 28th, a grade school teacher and two Blake High School students were injured in a traffic accident as a tractor trailer collided with their automobile on Van Dyke Road.

Merritt Tilson, age 40, is a music teacher at Lake Magdalene Elementary School. Tilson was travelling southbound right around 6:28 am onto Van Dyke Road from a private driveway just across from Tobacco Road, according to Hillsborough County deputies. The car pulled out into the path of an approaching semi-truck that was proceeding east on Van Dyke Road.

The commercial truck crashed into the car, according to deputies. Tilson was driving with two passengers in the car, one of them his daughter. The two passengers, Alex Tilson and Katherine Stairs, both age 15, were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital and treated for injuries. The truck driver was not injured. Deputies were continuing to investigate the crash. It was not made clear whether either of the drivers were cited in the accident.

Trucking Accident Statistics

  • Semi-trucks are involved in nearly 500,000 motor vehicle accidents each year, according to the US DOT.
  • 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.

Two Killed in Collision with Semi-Truck in Plant City

By | Truck Accident | No Comments

On Monday, January 13th, two people riding in a passenger vehicle were killed following a catastrophic collision with a semi-truck. The accident between the car and a tractor trailer closed down the James L. Redman Parkway for several hours as rescue crews and investigators worked the scene, according to Plant City police.

The fatal traffic accident occurred right around 3:45 p.m. A driver and one passenger were headed east in a 2009 Hyundai sedan. At the intersection of the parkway in Plant City, the driver of the Hyundai turned right, crossing directly into the path of a 2002 Sterling semi-truck traveling southbound on the parkway. Both the driver and a passenger in the Hyundai died at the accident scene from severe injuries. The names of the victim and the truck driver have not yet been released.

The commercial truck driver was not injured in the accident. Police did not provide any further details on the accident and it was not made clear whether any citations were issued in connection with the crash.

  • Driver fatigue is the leading cause of all trucking accidents and trucking-related fatalities. Driver distraction is the second leading cause
  • Semi-trucks are involved in an average of 500,000 motor vehicle accidents each year, according to trends recorded by the US DOT.
  • The majority of fatal accidents in which the truck driver is not at-fault involve a passenger vehicle that turns or pulls out in front an approaching truck.
  • A fully-loaded tractor trailer travelling at 55mph requires 300 ft. to reach a complete stop

Port Charlotte Man Killed in Industrial Tractor Accident

By | Truck Accident | No Comments

On Thursday, January 9th, a man died in the morning hours after an industrial accident in which he was run over by the same tractor he had been operating.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, EMS and Fire Department rescue units were dispatched at 9:15 a.m. to the Auto Barn Wholesale Building on Packinghouse Road, near Cattlemen Road and Palmer Boulevard. When the accident was first reported, authorities were not sure what caused the tractor’s operator to end up beneath the piece of equipment.

The victim was eventually identified as Garry Miller, age 49 of Port Charlotte. Miller was apparently operating the piece of heavy machinery on private property. He attempted to climb down from the tractor, but mistakenly left it in gear, according to the sheriff’s office. As he jumped down from the driver’s seat to the ground, the tractor somehow lurched forward and ran Miller over with its open rear wheels.

A passerby saw the tractor stuck up against a fence stopped to have a closer look. He then saw the victim lying on the ground just behind the tractor and called 911. Miller’s family was notified shortly after medics pronounced him dead at the scene. The incident has been classified as an accidental death. This is the second regional death involving an accident with a small industrial tractor this year. A Leesburg man was crushed to death by the front bucket of his own small tractor on January 4th.