Dump trucks pose dangerous threat on SWFL roads


FORT MYERS, Fla. Authorities are blaming dump trucks for several recent crashes, including Thursday’s crash on Immokalee Road.

While those involved in the crash only suffered minor injuries, others weren’t so lucky.

Ryan Wendler, a 20-year-old student at Florida Gulf Coast University, was killed last September after he was rear-ended by a dump truck while sitting at a red light.

Robert Bauer, the Wendler family’s attorney, believes the industry needs to conduct more routine checks on these trucks and is questioning whether they belong on certain roads.

“These trucks cannot respond as quickly as a car can do,” he said. “There’s nothing that we can do about that, but what we can do is increase our awareness, increase the vehicle safety, and just our attention on this issue.”

Bauer attributes the increase in dump trucks to the growing population in Florida and the booming construction industry.

But the deadly crashes are not something that can be ignored, Bauer said.

There have been several fatal dump truck crashes throughout Southwest Florida within the last few months. In January, a man was killed in Lehigh Acres after a dump truck slammed into him at the intersection of Williams Avenue and West Sixth Street. Last December, a woman died in south Fort Myers after she turned into the path of a dump truck on Daniels Parkway. Two other dump-truck related deaths were also reported in Collier and DeSoto counties in September and October.

“We need to remember that these are events that are life-changing, catastrophic events for individuals,” Bauer said.

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