Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

WalletHub named Tampa the 9th fastest growing city in the United States in 2020, which means tourism and revenue are up in the area, but this also means rush hour traffic can be a nightmare to contend with. 

At Whittel & Melton, our Tampa Bay Car and Truck Accident Lawyers know full well that there is no realistic way to completely avoid traffic. However, there are some tips we can offer to help you spend less time sitting in heavy traffic, which may help you have a better day.  

Steering clear of traffic reduces your chances of being involved in a car accident significantly, which is just one benefit. If you have been involved in a car accident in the Tampa Bay area then we urge you to get in touch with us to learn more about what we can do to help you file a personal injury claim for damages. 

miami-2690191_1920-300x200The good news is that there are some great strategies that you can implement when you are aware of the traffic patterns and can act accordingly. 

The more you understand about Tampa’s population growth, the more you can understand why traffic is such an issue. Interstate-275, I-4, I-75, SR 580, SR 582, SR 583, US 301, US 92, and Dale Mabry Highway are a few of the major highways that have become a bear to navigate during peak travel times throughout the day. While there are many benefits to minimizing your time spent in traffic and thus in your vehicle, the main one is that the less amount of time you are on the roads the less likely you are to be involved in a car accident. We know that it is not always possible to avoid a car accident, but we know that there are ways to reduce the odds of being involved in one. 

Read on to understand more about traffic in Tampa and how you can navigate it more effectively. 

Factors that Contribute to Growing Traffic in Tampa

Increasing Population

Florida dominates the growth trend as an entire state, and Tampa Bay is growing every single day with more people setting up residence here. Over the past 9 years Tampa’s population growth rate remains pretty consistent ranging from 0.63% to 2.45%, adding around 2,199 to 8,817 people every year. There are numerous workers and entrepreneurs moving here every year to take advantage of the many job opportunities, which contributes to the strong population growth. 

Construction Projects

Tampa has its fair share of construction projects that result in lane closures, street closures, etours, and of course, delays. You can register for alerts to be sent to your phone or email each day so that you can have an update about traffic patterns before you leave your house every morning. 

Some of the construction projects in Tampa include:

  • Dale Mabry Highway Roadway Lighting Maintenance at W. Humphrey Street
  • Hillsborough County Bridge Maintenance Repair US 41, SR 60 and US 301
  • I-275 (Howard Frankland Bridge) New southbound bridge between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties
  • I-275 Widening from I-4 to north of US 92 (Hillsborough Ave.)
  • I-275, I-4, I-75 Wrong-way Detection Installation in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties
  • I-75 Ramp Reconfiguration and Interchange Modification from south of MLK (exit 260) to I-4
  • Independence Parkway Repaving of SR 589 (Veterans Expressway) Ramps
  • SR 580 (Hillsborough Ave) Median Safety Improvements from Memorial Hwy/Sheldon Rd to Himes Ave
  • SR 582 (Fowler Avenue) Intersection Improvements (Multiple Locations)
  • SR 583 (56th St) Roadway Lighting Maintenance from Hillsborough Ave to Puritan Rd
  • SR 60 (Kennedy Blvd) Safety Enhancements and Pedestrian Improvements from West Shore Blvd to MacDill Ave
  • US 301 Median Safety Improvements from Falkenburg Road to Sligh Avenue
  • US 92 (Hillsborough Ave) Highway Lighting from 56th St and I-4
  • US 92 (Hillsborough Avenue) Mid-block Crosswalk between Central Ave and 56th Street

By knowing these locations and the traffic patterns, you can plan alternate routes and help yourself have a better commute. 

Learn Peak Traffic Times in Tampa 

When you are able to understand the peak times and traffic patterns, it can become a great deal easier to navigate Hillsborough and Pinellas County traffic. 

The “Rush Hour Rampage” in Tampa is from 7:30 and 9:30 am and again from 3:30 to 7:30 pm. During these times, it is best to avoid Hillsborough Ave and popular I-275 exits.

Back Roads Might Increase Your Travel Time 

While you might think that taking the back roads will shorten your commute, you’d be wrong. There are over 130 main roads in Pinellas County that have smart technology, like Ulmerton Rd. and U.S. 19, so if you are traveling with traffic the green lights actually last longer. Smaller roads like Belcher Rd. or Bellaire Rd. have shorter green lights, which means more time waiting.  

Follow Speed Limits 

The “InSync” smart traffic signals are timed to work with speed limits, so if you are going too fast or too slow then you could hit more red lights. 

Talk to Your Boss About Working from Home 

Even if you can work a few days from home, this could help you avoid a few days of traffic. Start by asking your boss to work 1-2 days from home to show that you can be just as productive at your home office as at your work office. If you can show that you are able to be as productive, if not more, then they may be more inclined to let you work more days from home or even full time at home. 

You could even ask to work off peak hours so that you avoid rush hour traffic, like 10:00am to 7:00pm or 6:00am to 2:00pm.

Take Advantage of Public Transportation

Tampa boasts many different options for getting around, such as bikes and buses. Tampa has Coast Bikes available and numerous hubs to park them located around the city. Tampa also has various scooters to rent, such as Lime, Bird and Spin. Tampa also has a pirate water taxi, the Downtowner ride share service, the Hart bus, Zipcar, and the Teco Line Streetcar

Avoiding Traffic Means Hours of Your Life Back 

Rush hour traffic can add hundreds of wasted hours to your life. By taking advantage of some of the options we have outlined above, you will see lots of time saved and value added back to your life. You will also minimize your risk of being involved in a traffic accident.  Continue reading

A Tampa man was killed Monday after his van was involved in a crash with a semi truck on Fowler Avenue in Tampa Bay. 

The 58-year-old man behind the wheel of the van was travelling east on Fowler around 10:30 p.m. when he failed to navigate a curve in the road.  The Florida Highway Patrol said the van exited the roadway and crossed the median right into the path of a big rig that was heading north. 

The van became stuck under the semi truck and eventually came to a stop near the west shoulder of southbound 301. 

Three teens are dead after a head-on crash with a semi-tractor trailer on U.S. 92 early Saturday morning in Hillsborough County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

A 17-year-old from Dover and his 15-year-old passenger were killed in the crash.

A second passenger, 14, was transported to the hospital in critical condition but died on Sunday from his injuries. 

At around 12:38 a.m., the teen was driving a 2008 Ford Escape going westbound on U.S. 92, west of Turkey Creek Road, when for some unknown reason he crossed the centerline of the road and struck head-on with a 2005 semi-tractor trailer, driven by a 61-year-old man, according to FHP. 

The driver and the female passenger died at the scene and the 14-year-old passenger had to be airlift to Tampa General Hospital.

The semi-truck driver was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical in serious condition.

FHP stated that all involved in the crash were not under the influence of alcohol, however the teens were not wearing their seatbelts.

Currently, there are no charges pending.

This accident highlights just how critical it is to wear your seatbelt every time you get in a vehicle. Statistics show that seat belts save lives. When used correctly, wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45%, and risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%. For those riding in the back of a larger vehicle, like a truck or SUV, seat belts are shown to be 73% better at preventing fatalities. The sad reality is that victims are not properly restrained in more than one-half of all fatal car accidents. Likewise, children are likely to be buckled 92% of the time when adults in the car use seat belts, as opposed to 72% of the time when adults do not buckle up.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many Americans understand the lifesaving value of the seat belt as the national use rate was at 90.7% in 2019. Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017.

In 2017, 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. Of those, 47% were not wearing seat belts, according to the NHTSA. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts. 

seatbelt-1314338The consequences of not wearing a seat belt are pretty clear, but our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton would like to reiterate some key facts:

  • Buckling up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Not wearing a seatbelt can cause you to be completely ejected from a vehicle in a crash, which is almost always fatal. 
  • Air bags are not enough to protect you in a crash. In fact, the force of an airbag can seriously injure or even kill you if you’re not buckled up.
  • Not wearing a seat belt properly, such as putting the strap below your arm, puts you and your children at risk in a crash.

The benefits of buckling up are abundantly clear:

  • If you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 45% and your risk of moderate to critical injury by 50%. 
  • When you buckle up in a van or truck, you can reduce your risk of fatal injury by 60% and reduce your risk of moderate to critical injury by 65%. 

Drivers should know the risks of operating a vehicle when they get inside. Cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs can be dangerous, whether you are buckled up or not. Just because you’re wearing a seat belt doesn’t mean you will survive a car crash. However, using a seat belt as an added safety measure, along with defensive driving skills and basic safety can ultimately help reduce your risk of suffering a serious injury or fatality in the event of a car accident.

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Sharing the road with large trucks can be frightening, and also very dangerous. Large trucks, including semis and tractor trailers, are particularly dangerous when they are traveling too close to the cars in front of them at a high rate of speed. If you have ever experienced this while driving on a highway then you know exactly how terrifying it can be, especially when you are in a smaller vehicle. When trucks are travelling along side you it is crucial to avoid the truck’s blind spots and to make sure that you keep a safe distance from the truck. However, sometimes there are no warning signs that a truck is driving too fast or too closely to your vehicle and there is no way to avoid being struck by one of these large vehicles. Sadly, this is exactly what happened on I-75 in Hillsborough County in a truck crash where two people were killed. 

The northbound lanes of Interstate 75 just past Bruce B. Downs Boulevard were reopened Thursday morning after a fiery semi truck crash that left two people dead and five others injured Wednesday night. 

The lanes were reopened just before 8 a.m., more than 12 hours after the crash, which happened just before 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

At least eight vehicles were involved in the crash.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver of the semi could not slow down in time to avoid the traffic ahead that had slowed to an almost stop. The semi plowed into multiple vehicles and collided with a pillar for an overhead roadway sign on the outside shoulder. 

The semi and another vehicle became engulfed in flames. Both those drivers died. Troopers have not released the names of the people killed. 

Crews were finally able to remove the semi just after 7 a.m. and reopened the lanes. Cleanup has continued along the side of the roadway.

The crash remains under investigation.

Truck accidents can lead to devastating injuries that require expensive medical care and could prevent you from working for days, weeks or even permanently. Due to the severity of the injuries that result from truck accidents, it is absolutely vital that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. Our Tampa Bay Truck Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can conduct an investigation into your crash to build a strong case on your behalf.

In order to successfully prove fault in your case, we must show that someone else’s negligence caused the truck accident. We will gather all of the evidence necessary to help you obtain maximum financial compensation. We will start by reconstructing the accident scene and reviewing the police and accident reports. We can then analyze any photos or video footage of the crash site. We will look into the truck driver’s driving history and figure out how many hours the trucker had driven and when their break was before the accident. We will also work with industry experts to investigate and build your case. This includes making sure that the truck trailer did not exceed weight restrictions and was loaded properly, as well as verifying the truck drivers’ background, driving records and criminal background. 

While some truck accident cases are easy to find where the fault lies, others can be more complex. This is why we utilize the latest technology and expert guidance to uncover what was happening in the moments leading up to, during, and after the collision. This helps us piece together the entire picture of what caused the accident.

The victims who are killed in truck accidents leave behind their spouses and children. Close relatives can be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and/or the trucking company for the death of their loved one. Wrongful death suits can be tricky, which is why it is best to have our experienced Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton on your side. We are a team of caring and compassionate legal professionals who will guide you through the process of recovering from your injuries or losses and recover the full and fair monetary damages to which you are entitled. We know that nothing we do can replace a lost loved one or minimize your injuries, but we can make sure that your financial reward is just so that you can focus on moving on from your pain. 

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A 24-year-old man is in serious condition after a multi-vehicle crash on I-4 in Hillsborough County Tuesday morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol believes a truck traveling northbound on the crosstown connector entered the ramp to travel eastbound on I-4 and spilled a large amount of gravel onto the roadway, causing two vehicles to lose control and collide with the barrier wall.

According to the FHP report, the 24-year-old man got out of his vehicle to inspect the damage and was hit by a third vehicle. The impact caused the man to fall over the wall 33 feet to the ground below. He is in serious condition at Tampa General Hospital.

The other two drivers did not suffer any injuries.

Due to the accidents and spilled gravel, the ramp was closed for several hours.

FHP is asking anyone with information on the truck that spilled the gravel to call 813-631-4020.

An auto accident involving a dump truck can be quite serious, as this case shows. Dump trucks are primarily used for transporting materials like gravel, sand, or dirt for construction purposes. A car accident can easily occur when dump trucks spill materials on the roadway. Gravel can break windshields, blow out tires and cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash.

Auto accidents involving trucks can end in serious and sometime fatal injuries. If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident in Hillsborough County, our Tampa Bay Truck Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help with your personal injury or wrongful death claim. We firmly believe the at-fault driver should be held responsible for their actions.

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There were more than 1,400 wrong way crashes in FL in 2015, resulting in 1,454 injuries & 96 fatalities, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Wrong way driving collisions occur when a vehicle has failed to observe a posted traffic sign or pavement marking and proceeds in a lane travelling in the wrong direction.

Motorists are encouraged to stay in the right lane to avoid a crash with a wrong way driver, especially at night and during transitional light times such as dawn and dusk. In most wrong way wrecks, vehicles are hit head-on, resulting in 81 percent of all wrong way fatalities. Head-on collisions are some of the most dangerous crashes, and sadly, result in the most fatalities.

The FLHSMV offers the following safety tips for drivers to avoid a wrong way driving crash:

  • Stay Right at Night to avoid crashes with wrong way drivers.
  • Call 911 right away to report wrong way drivers. If you see a wrong way driver approaching, you should reduce your speed right away and pull off the roadway.
  • Stay alert. Do not drive distracted and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Learn and obey all traffic signs. If you drive past a wrong way sign, turn around immediately. When you see a posted red sign, think about what red traffic sign colors are for: “Stop.” “Do Not Enter.” “Wrong Way.” Orange is used for construction and maintenance warnings. Yellow is for a general warning and advisory of unexpected roadways conditions. Fluorescent Yellow Green is for added emphasis warnings of school, pedestrian and bicycling activities. White/Black are regulatory signs, such as “Left Lane Must Turn Left.” Green signs are for guide or directional information. Blue signs are for motorist services guidance and to identify parking spaces or disabled drivers. Brown signs are reserved for areas of public recreation, cultural and historical significance.

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After a day spent with family and friends feasting and watching football, many Americans will head out for a day filled with holiday shopping, better known these days as Black Friday. Stores throughout the Tampa Bay area have been advertising deals for weeks, and many shoppers will start lining up outside the stores after Thanksgiving dinner is finished.  Some stores have special deals that start on Thanksgiving night.

Black Friday often results in an increased risk of accidents and injuries. Mall parking lots will be crowded with pedestrians, shopping carts, drivers searching for parking spots, and children of all ages and sizes. According to Progressive Insurance, parking lot related accidents increase 36.5 percent on Black Friday. Progressive also reports that rear-end collisions account for 12.57 percent of claims. Hitting a parked car or having your parked car hit by someone else accounts for 11.13 percent of claims. Backing into another car or having your car backed into accounts for 7.68 percent of claims.  

When stores first open on Thanksgiving evening or Black Friday, there is the risk of overly enthusiastic shoppers to stampede to get to the special sale items. Be aware of your surroundings so that you can avoid any accidents. Slip and fall accidents can also happen inside stores quite easily. Wet floors, large crowds, pushing and shoving can all lead to slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. Head and other bodily injuries from falling merchandise or careless customers can be serious and ruin the holidays.

Shopping cart injuries are also becoming more common on Black Friday. Shoppers should be overly cautious to make sure their carts do not tip over and that small children are properly secured. According to reports, nearly 24,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for accidents related to shopping carts every year. While falls from the shopping cart are the most common injuries, injuries from running into or falling over the cart, cart tip-overs and entrapment of extremities in the cart are also common. Always pay attention to children when shopping, and pay special mind to the potential for accidents when it comes to shopping carts.

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For most, Labor Day weekend symbolizes the unofficial end of summer. As a three-day weekend, this gives many Americans the chance to celebrate with friends and family one more time before fall comes around and the weather gets cooler. Whether you plan on taking one last road trip for a weekend getaway or staying home and celebrating with family and friends, the Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you and your loved ones to stay safe!

Labor Day Weekend has a high rate of preventable accidents, injuries, and deaths, both on the roadways and at homes across Tampa Bay and the rest of the country. To help you and your loved ones stay safe this holiday weekend, our Tampa Bay Injury Lawyers have compiled a few helpful safety tips:

  • Roadway Safety AAA anticipates that nearly 35 million Americans will travel this Labor Day weekend. With this many people on the road, it is very important to remember roadway safety, obey traffic laws and to always stay alert and avoid distractions when behind the wheel.
  • Vehicle Safety – Along with obeying the rules of the road, it is equally important to make sure your vehicle is safe for travel. Check your vehicle’s fluids, brakes and lights before going on a trip. It is recommended to take your vehicle in for a quick inspection before you head out of town. If you have an older vehicle, you may want to consider renting a car with up-to-date safety features for your road trip.
  • Water & Pool Safety Because Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer, pool parties and water activities are common. Make sure that all children are always supervised around and in the water.
  • BBQ Safety Tips – Labor Day weekend and barbecues go hand in hand. If you are planning on an outdoor grilling party, make sure that your grille is properly cleaned to avoid grease fires. Also, make sure to grill in a safe area away from structures, furniture and other flammable hazards. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and have a safety plan ready in place your barbecue goes awry.
  • Drink Responsibly – Holiday weekends, like Labor Day, see some of the highest rates of alcohol-related accidents and injuries than any other time of year, especially on roads and highways. If you plan on drinking, please do so responsibly and plan a safe ride home. Remember, police will be on high alert for motorists driving under the influence, so do not drink and drive.

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Slick roads are what caused a semi-truck to travel over a bridge in Manatee County and dive into the water.

Fortunately, a Good Samaritan saw the whole thing and came to the driver’s rescue.

After the crash, the truck was crushed, sinking and leaking diesel fluid.

The 29-year-old New Jersey driver survived the crash with minor injuries.

The Good Samaritan was on his boat during the mishap and managed to get the driver out of the truck right in time.

6304888398_e40c4ebcb2_zThe truck’s cab is completely crushed and the entire vehicle remains submerged in the Manatee River.

Florida Highway Patrol does not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Millions of cars and trucks travel throughout Florida’s roadways and the rest of the country each year, resulting in thousands of accidents that cause serious injury or death. Many factors can contribute to auto accidents, and wet and slippery roads are a major contributor.

The following are a few easy steps drivers can take to avoid driving errors that lead to accidents and property damage.

  • Reduce Speed:  Reducing your speed to below the speed limit can help prevent loss of traction from water, or even ice on the roadways. This is especially important to do on winding roads, inclines and declines.
  • Increase Braking Distance: When roads are slick or wet, braking distance must be increased. Hard braking can result in loss of traction as well as loss of control. This effect is heightened in larger, heavier vehicles, like tractor trailers and semis.
  • Stay Alert: Drivers must pay attention to road problems, traffic signals and signs, especially when facing poor road conditions. When there is inclement weather, it is important to avoid sudden steering or braking.

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Two lanes of northbound I-75 were blocked off this morning just south of Riverview after there was an accident involving a semi.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 37-year-old Tampa man was driving a 2013 semi north on I-75 at 5:39 a.m. when he lost control of the truck.

The semi exited the roadway and collided with a 2014 Volkswagen Passat driven by a 42-year-old woman, according to troopers. The semi and the car both hit the outside guardrail, then slid down the shoulder embankment.

Both individuals were taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Traffic was backed up for several miles while crews pulled the vehicles up from the embankment..

The truck driver was ticketed for failure to use due care.

Troopers also believe heavy rains and wet conditions played a role in the crash as well.

The results can be devastating when a semi driver loses control of the vehicle or the tractor detaches from its trailer and spins out of control. These accidents are usually severe and cause significant property damage, injury or even death to the truck driver or other drivers and passengers involved in the accident.

Numerous things can cause a semi truck driver to lose control, from driver error to equipment malfunction. These cases can be quite complex, so it is best to consult with an injury lawyer as soon as possible. A Tampa Bay Truck Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can investigate your case to determine what caused the crash and who is liable. The at-fault party may not be just one person, in fact it can include a number of different parties from the truck driver to the trucking company or other parties.

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