The driver of a 2012 Freightliner tractor trailer tried to maneuver to the shoulder of Interstate 75 near Dade City after the big rig developed mechanical problems and inadvertently caused a multiple-vehicle accident Tuesday afternoon, according to a news report.

Yolanda Gooden of Samson, Alabama, who was driving a Ford Taurus northbound behind the truck, observed the changing traffic conditions and slowed to allow the disabled truck to change lanes and move to the shoulder.

However, the driver of another 2006 Freightliner semi, also headed north on I-75 behind the Ford Taurus, did not slow down and reared ended the Ford Taurus, according to news reports. The impact of the rear end collision pushed the Ford automobile across two lanes of traffic and into the disabled semi, which then caught fire.

Gooden and a passenger in her vehicle were transported to a regional medical center with serious injuries. Neither truck driver was injured.

Idalberto Cepero, the driver of the 2006 semi that struck the automobile in the rear, was cited for careless driving, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The accident near the Pasco-Hernando County line closed northbound lanes of I-75 for several hours.

Rear end collisions involving large trucks may occur when truck drivers are driving too fast for traffic conditions or following other vehicles too closely. Large trucks need much longer distances to stop than smaller vehicles.  Commercial truck drivers should take that fact into account and slow down to allow sufficient stopping distance to avoid accidents.

Any multiple vehicle accident at interstate speeds is potentially serious. When large trucks are involved in multiple vehicle collisions, the likelihood of serious injuries increases significantly. The occupants of the smaller vehicles typically sustain the brunt of the injuries in accidents involving big trucks, as occurred in this accident.

Accidents involving large trucks in Florida took the lives of 197 people in 2013 and most were occupants of other vehicles, the most recent year of complete data, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many more people were seriously injured.

Because of the potential of large trucks to cause serious harm in a collision, truck drivers and trucking companies are required to carry much higher amounts of liability insurance. The truck driver, trucking company, truck equipment manufacturer, and freight shipper may all have separate insurance companies and lawyers representing them after a serious accident.

The victim of a truck accident should have an experienced truck accident attorney advocating on their behalf to ensure that you receive full compensation from the at-fault driver.

An experienced Tampa truck accident attorney can obtain the truck driver’s cell phone records and driver logs to determine whether the truck driver was distracted by talking on the phone at the time of the accident or dangerously fatigued. Such evidence can strengthen the claim of an accident victim injured in a truck accident.