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Holiday Shopping Season Boosts Risk of Commercial Truck Accidents, Attorneys in Orlando Say
Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving dinnerware, Hanukkah and Christmas decorations and gifts - they're all showing up in stores already and will only increase in volume over the next few months. Much of that new holiday season merchandise will make its way to the store shelves by way of tractor trailers - and that places you and your family at higher risk of injury in commercial truck accidents, attorneys with Orlando's Todd E. Copeland says.
Orlando is a top shopping destination for residents throughout Florida and elsewhere, so locals and visitors see an even higher influx of commercial truck traffic during the holiday season than do other cities. Consider that while you read these statistics:
- Loads on freight trucks on America's highways can reach as high as 22 tons, a weight that can easily kill multiple people with one accident;
- The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act being debated in Congress right now could make way for heavier loads via heavier trucks, allowing states to grant interstate access to six-axle trucks weighing up to 97,000 pounds, up from the current limit of 80,000 pounds;
- Roughly 12 percent of all auto-related fatalities on America’s highways involve crashes with commercial vehicles, and this percentage may be slightly higher within Central Florida;
- According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, there is a 23 percent travel increase over the holiday season;
- From 2009 to 2010 there was a 9.1-percent increase in fatalities to the occupants of other vehicles involved in accidents with a freight truck;
- For each truck driver fatality, another three to four people in passenger vehicles traveling nearby also are killed.
Driver fatigue is a major contributing factor to the seasonal rise in commercial truck accidents. Attorneys specializing in representing truck crash victims often can prove that hired truckers take on extra hours and additional gigs to cash in on the extra available work. A congressionally mandated study of 80 long-haul truck drivers in the U.S. and Canada found that drivers averaged less than five hours of sleep per day, and the National Transportation Safety Board reports that drowsy driving was likely the cause of more than half of crashes leading to a truck driver’s death.
However, research shows that the fault for most collisions involving tractor-trailers lies in part with the driver of the passenger vehicle. Mistakes include driving in a commercial truck's blind spot and following too closely. Heavy tractor-trailer trucks require more stopping time and must begin braking far ahead of the next stop or turn.
Take extra care when traveling the highways during holiday season. If you or your dependents are victims in a commercial truck accident, get medical treatment immediately, then contact an experienced attorney. Todd E. Copeland & Associates can be reached in Orlando at 407-999-8995, or Kissimmee at 407-847-7277.