Florida Safety Laws for Truckers
Since Florida is home to some of the largest cities in America, trucks are an essential component to interstate commerce and transportation. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 400 trucker-related deaths in 2013, with 43 such deaths occurring in Florida. Commercial truckers, in particular, pose a serious risk to other drivers on the road. Being that commercial trucks are very large, they can block other drivers’ views. Moreover, the truck’s large mass and weight make it very difficult for truckers to stop in time to avoid accidents.
The Florida Legislature has taken steps to promote safer trucking. As of July 2013, truckers and other commercial vehicle operations are prohibited from texting or talking on their cell phones while driving. Unlike Florida’s regular automobile ban on texting while driving, the ban on cellphone use for truckers constitutes a primary offense. In other words, truckers can be pulled over and cited for talking on their phones in the absence of any other traffic violation. This law not only addresses the dangers that semi-trucks pose to other drivers but it also deters drivers from being distracted by their cellphones.
In addition to the ban on cellphone use for truck drivers, Florida Legislature is also seeking to implement new safety laws pertaining to commercial trucks. Currently, Florida law requires that semi-trucks have an underride bar. An underride bar is a bar, which is typically lower to the ground, that is installed on the rear of a semi-truck in order to prevent cars from going underneath the truck. In April of 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) proposed several safety recommendations of tractor trailers. According to the NTSB, there were 15,329 police-reported collisions in which passenger vehicles collided with the rears of tractor-trailers between 2005 and 2009. Rear underride may occur during the passenger vehicle collisions with the rears of trailers which substantially increases the risk of fatal injury to the occupants of the vehicle. The NTSB recommends that the current underride bars should be replaced with newer and stronger bars available on the market. The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) backs the idea of stronger guards on the rear of semi-trucks. However, the TSC recommends that semi-trucks should also be required to install underride bars on the sides and front of the trucks.
It is evident that Florida drivers should be aware of semi-trucks on the roads. However, the Florida Legislature can only do so much in preventing these type of accidents. Drivers should exercise extreme diligence while operating near and around large trucks. Drivers should provide truckers additional space in order to avoid a collision or from being caught underneath the trucks.
If you have been involved in a collision with a truck, you should contact the Dolman Law Group. The Dolman Law Group regularly represents the interests of Clearwater and Tampa Bay automobile drivers who have been injured in an accident with truckers and may be treated unfairly by an insurance company. Their experienced personal injury attorneys handle claims for both automobile drivers and passengers, and will advance the case into litigation if necessary. If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, call 727-451-6900 to arrange a case evaluation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765/