Truck Driver Rear Ends and Kills Florida Woman

An April 13 crash involving two big rigs and a car killed a 24 year old woman from Crescent Beach, Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported that Brittany N. Fortner died when a tractor trailer behind her on I-95 failed to slow down for traffic at 10:25 pm. It slammed into her Toyota Corolla at high speed.

Sideswipe truck accident kills 1.
Rear end truck wreck kills FL woman.

The highway patrol also stated that the Toyota was behind another tractor trailer. When the truck rear ended her vehicle, it pushed Fortner’s car under the trailer of the truck in front of her.

Her family told the police that when she did not come home after a movie, they found her at a local hospital. They were able to be with her for two hours and say goodbye before she died.

Our View

Our tractor trailer accident attorneys send our deepest condolences to the family of this young woman. It is always tragic to lose a loved one in an accident, but it is especially terrible for someone to die in such a preventable tractor trailer accident.

All tractor trailer drivers have an obligation to obey the rules of the road and to focus on their driving and nothing else when behind the wheel. Tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and hitting a passenger vehicle at high speed leads to catastrophic injuries and death in many cases.

While we can only speculate about why the truck driver failed to slow down for traffic, it is possible that he was distracted by something in the truck such as a cell phone. Distracted driving is especially dangerous for big rigs. That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA has prohibited all US commercial truck drivers from texting while driving. 

What qualifies as ‘texting’? The FMCSA states that texting means entering alphanumeric text into or reading text from any type of electronic device. This means the following are prohibited for truck drivers while they are driving: emailing, short message services, instant messaging, accessing web pages, or pressing more than one button  to initiate or terminate a voice communication with a mobile device.

The FMCSA warns that it will fine drivers up to $2750 for violations of this rule, and drivers can be suspended for repeated violations. The agency also notes that truck crashes are 23.2 times greater for commercial drivers who text while driving.

Truck drivers who are distracted for any reason while driving and are found responsible for the death of another person can also be sued in civil court in a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit may provide the grieving family with millions of dollars in much needed funds after the loss of their loved one and breadwinner. Our hope as experienced personal injury attorneys in North Carolina and Virginia is that this story will serve as a warning to truck drivers to pay attenion to their driving, and perhaps lives will be saved.

However, if you have been injured by a truck driver or lost a loved one in a truck crash, you may be interested to learn about who you should sue in a tractor trailer accident. Our truck accident attorneys Richard Shapiro and Randy Appleton answer this question briefly in a recent radio interview: