Accidents involving tractor trailer trucks have claimed so many lives over the years all across the United States. As we approach the traveling season for college football fans, the lawyers at the South Florida Injury and Accident Law Firm of Berman and Tsombanakis, LLC are reminded of the deadly multi car and truck accident near Gainesville, Florida, that claimed the lives of at least 10 people. This tragic multi-car and truck accident occurred on a very foggy morning. Not only were the drivers dealing with fog, but the highway had been closed earlier that night because of forest fires. The highway was later opened and within hours this accident occurred. South Florida residents are all to familiar with truck accidents and car accidents, however this accident struck really close to home because of our ties to the University of Florida.
January 28, 2012, would have been just a normal winter morning in North Central Florida. This day was far from normal and will forever be embedded in the minds of the Gator Nation, North Central Floridians and people all over the country as the news flooded the national and international news markets. The accident involved at least a dozen cars and six tractor trailer trucks. The drivers described the visibility as blinding and that when they came upon the smoke and haze, they were instantly blinded. When the rescuers and other civilians tried to help the injured, they had to rely on screams and moans to locate the victims.
This massive car pile up has left questions concerning the way the State of Florida, Florida Department of Highway & Safety Motor Vehicles respond to emergency situations that require that roads be closed and the decision to reopen them. Many wondered and still wonder if the correct decision was made to open the interstate back up to traffic. When interstates are closed for any length of time, there are complaints from the public and for that reasons the authorities involved try to move efficiently, yet cautiously when making those types of decisions.
Florida Highway Patrol Officers, recommend when and if a road should be closed or opened. This case sparked the attention of the National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) and they in turn launched an investigation to determine if a uniform method should be adopted when making such decisions. The NTSB determined that the no one acted with any criminal intent but better communication and fixed signs, but overall they feel the Florida Highway Patrol Officers “acted in a manner which they believed was appropriate and in the best interest of restoring the safe and orderly flow of traffic to the roadways.”
This time of year many parents and college students travel interstate 75 to take their children to college for the very first time and many returning students are traveling back to colleges and universities all over Florida and out of state as well. This stretch is a very popular stretch, especially for University of Florida, Florida A & M University and Florida State University students. Highway Safety is very important an many young people are not abreast of all of the laws and safe practices when traveling. Unfortunately, on the morning of this accident, even the most skilled and careful driver would not have been safe.
Some of the most dangerous conditions for any driver and especially for many truck drivers, is driving in what is referred to as the wee hours of the morning. The time period from about 2:00 a.m. to sunrise. Night driving, according to weather.com, is the most dangerous time of the day to drive. Tragic accidents involving death are three times more likely at night than at any other time of the day. During this time, many drivers both truck drivers and car drivers become fatigue and their vision is not quite as clear. Also and in some cases more importantly, during the fall and winter times of the year the fog is heavy, thus creating difficult driving conditions.
Truck drivers are also faced with difficulty seeing vehicles that are in their blind spots, driving trucks that are over weight, driving in and around mountains, and difficulty handling trucks during in-climate weather. Truck and car drivers, according to weather.com, are faced with an array of challenges when driving at night. First their vision is impaired, fatigue, in some cases alcohol, and if the driver is older the vision and fatigue factors become even more of an issue.