According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal accidents involving tractor-trailers rose to the highest level in 29 years in 2017. This increase came despite a decrease in overall traffic fatalities. In raw numbers, 4,761 fatalities involved tractor trailers in 2017, a 9% increase over the previous year. About 1,300 of those deaths involved the drivers of the tractor trailers, equating to about 28%. The remaining 72% were victims in the other vehicles. Of the tractor-trailer drivers who died, approximately 40% were not wearing seat belts. These crashes have come even as safety improvements, like automatic braking, lane departure warnings, and backup cameras have become standard.
WPTV reports on an Okeechobee crash between a Honda CRV and a tractor-trailer loaded with produce that caused a fire.
On Saturday, a tractor-trailer loaded with produce collided with an SUV carrying several adults and Boy Scouts, destroying both vehicles.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2009 Honda CRV driven by 56-year-old Alexander Nestor Rojas was traveling southbound along the Florida Turnpike. At 11:37 a.m., near mile marker 187, the Honda, which was towing a trailer, was struck by the fully loaded tractor-trailer.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was identified as 28-year-old Carlos Tamayo Prevost. The trailer came disconnected from the Honda in the collision.
Both the Honda and the tractor-trailer continued southbound for a short distance before coming to rest.
Inside the Honda were four adults and seven Boy Scouts, who were returning from a camping trip. The driver and all occupants, as well as the driver of the tractor-trailer, were able to safely exit the vehicles prior to the vehicle catching fire.
The lanes of the roadway were damaged by the fire, requiring emergency repairs.