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Distracted Truck Driver Hits Florida School Bus

Fatal truck accidents have increased in Florida in recent years, many due to fatigue or driver distractions.

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There can hardly be a more terrifying and helpless feeling for parents than watching a large truck plow into the back of a school bus carrying their children. That's exactly what some parents experienced in September as they waited at the bus stop, when a tractor-trailer traveling at about 60 miles per hour rear-ended a school bus in Lawtey, Florida.

According to News 4 Jax, seven children and the bus driver went to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. However, the truck driver and his passenger were hospitalized in critical condition. Authorities said speed and distraction were likely factors that caused the crash - especially since the female passenger of the truck was completely unclothed. Witnesses said the bus had deployed its crossing arms and the lights were flashing, but the truck driver did not slow down or apply his brakes. Fortunately, the bus driver saw the truck approaching and sped up, which may have saved lives.

Distraction Just One of Many Common Truck Accident Causes

Fatal truck crashes have increased in Florida over the past few years, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 29 fatalities due to large truck crashes in the state in 2012. Each year, says Insurance News Net, about 100,000 people are injured in the U.S. and more than 4,000 are killed in large truck accidents.

Although serious, distraction is only one of numerous factors that can cause truck accidents. Other common causes, according to State Farm, include:

  • Improper weight distribution, including load shifting while the truck is in movement
  • Adverse road, traffic or weather conditions
  • Alcohol, substance or medication use
  • Driver illness or sudden onset of a medical condition

At the top of the list of trucking accident causes is driver fatigue. Truck drivers have been known for decades for driving long hours on flat, uneventful stretches. These conditions can challenge even the most well-rested driver to keep his or her eyes open, and they can be disastrous for those who are going on little sleep. With the average truck driver logging in more than 80 hours in a work week, it may come as no surprise that drowsy driving is the cause of a majority of truck accidents across the country.

Getting Help From an Attorney

Fortunately, it is rare for a school bus to be in the path of a speeding, inattentive semi-truck driver. However, there is always a risk for anyone sharing the road with truckers to be involved in a crash. If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident caused by a negligent, distracted or impaired driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.

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