A recent accident site on I-95 was something of a familiar scene, at least to emergency responders. There were two trucks – a box truck and a tractor trailer – as well as a van that had collided on the highway near the Miami-Dade/ Broward County line. The truck accident happened shortly after noon near the Miami Gardens Drive exit, according to 7 News Miami.
Officials told news crews the driver of the van was traveling south in an express lane while the two trucks – the box truck in front of the semi – were in the general purpose lanes. The van driver, in exiting the express lane, cut off the box truck, whose driver swerved, lost control, went over a guardrail and down an embankment. The semi-truck hit the van. Amazingly, there were no serious injuries, but traffic slowed to a crawl for several hours.
The reason these kinds of incidents are becoming more prevalent has to do with a number of factors: Economic improvement leading to more traffic, an increase in distraction and persistent and worsening poor road conditions. According to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES), the number of commercial vehicle accidents statewide spiked from 32,087 in 2013 up to 38,265 in 2015 – an increase of more than 19 percent. From 2014 to 2015, the number of truck accidents rose by 11 percent, while the overall number of car accidents was up by 8.7 percent.
These figures may only get worse, at least according to the results of a recent TRIP study on our nation’s roads, highways and bridges. The Washington, D.C. national transportation research group opined that approximately $740 billion is needed to spend on crumbling roadway infrastructure across the country.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that nearly 17 percent – or 2,044 out of 12,070 – of Florida’s bridges are considered structurally deficient. What’s more, the percentage of Florida’s roads that are considered to be in poor or mediocre condition is at about 26 percent (which is actually better than many of the states in the North, which have older infrastructure that is weathered by the yearly freeze-thaw cycle). Still, it would take $1.8 billion – or $128 per driver – to make those repairs. And that would only just get us to a break-even point. It doesn’t account for the additional ongoing maintenance that is necessary.
Road conditions have a direct effect on truck accidents – and visa versa, actually. Trucks do far more damage to the roads than other smaller vehicles, and they can accelerate the need for repairs, particularly because truck drivers tend to utilize the roads more frequently than those in smaller vehicles. That also means there is more opportunity for truckers to encounter poor road conditions.
The TRIP report indicates commercial vehicle traffic has increased by 26 percent between 2000 and 2015. What’s more, heavy truck travel in the U.S. is expected to go up by 72 percent between 2015 and 2030. But if our infrastructure doesn’t keep pace with the number of vehicle miles traveled, we’re going to continue to see an uptick in the number of truck accident fatalities and injuries.
It’s worth noting the average motorist loses about $523 each year on repairs and additional operating expenses caused by bad roads.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.
U.S. has a $740 Billion Backlog of Roads and Bridges Repairs, Nov. 9, 2016, By Clarissa Hawes, Trucks.com
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Snapchat Video Shows Florida Driver Going 115MPH Just Before Crash Killed 5, Nov. 5, 2016, Truck Accident Lawyer Blog