Florida residents may know that federal rules are in place to restrict the amount of time that truck and bus drivers can spend behind the wheel without taking a rest break. The goal of the rules is to reduce the number of road users injured or killed each year in accidents caused by a fatigued truck or bus driver. Keeping track of the hours worked by drivers has traditionally been done using paper logs, but new rules introduced in December 2015 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration require commercial vehicles to have sophisticated electronic tracking devices installed within two years.
On Nov. 18, a crash on a Florida highway that left one person deceased was reported. The accident occurred on Interstate 75 near Southwest 40th Boulevard, causing traffic to become backed up.
Florida residents may remember the horrific accident that occurred in Oklahoma on Sept. 27, 2014. In the accident, a large truck crashed into a bus carrying a women's athletic team back to Texas to their college. Four women were killed in the accident, and the truck driver was charged with four manslaughter counts as a result.
Florida motorists often pay particular attention when in close proximity to large and heavy commercial vehicles. These trucks pose a serious threat to all road users when they are operated recklessly or inadequately maintained, and federal and state authorities work hard to ensure that trucks are safe and their drivers are properly rested and trained. The air-braking systems used by semi-tractor trailers are vital safety equipment, and defective brakes are the most common citation handed out at roadside truck checkpoints.
Florida motorists may want to learn more about the dangers associated with wrong-way collisions involving both passenger and commercial vehicles, as reported on by the National Transportation Safety Board. In 1990, the NTSB performed a study to evaluate the number of fatally injured truckers for drug and alcohol abuse. Results of the research compelled the agency to recommend that federal and state authorities increase toxicological collections after accidents and require all truckers who have been in fatal commercial collisions to submit to testing.
Driver fatigue has been conclusively linked to many motor vehicle accidents in Florida and around the country. Although there have been consistent attempts to fashion a legislative solution to this issue over the years, the real answer may be technological. There have been several recent innovations that may reduce the incidence of fatigued driving and its unfortunate consequences.
On May 6, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspectors checked the brakes on commercial vehicles in Florida as part of an unannounced inspection spree. Over 50,000 wheel ends on a total of 6,337 commercial vehicles in the U.S. and Canada were inspected during the daylong event. The CVSA put 14.2 percent of the inspected vehicles out of service for some type of brake violation.
Statistics that have been compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding cargo tank rollover accidents in Florida and around the country show that they do not occur for the reasons that most people think that they do. The ideas that rollovers happen more in bad weather, on bad roads or to new drivers appear to be incorrect. Instead, mechanical defects and mistakes in loading seem to be the culprits in the majority of situations.
Pulling out into the path of approaching traffic to pass a large truck is often a nerve-wracking experience for Florida drivers. A considerable amount of road must be covered to complete the maneuver, and the shape and size of semi-tractor trailers makes it difficult for motorists to see oncoming traffic. The electronics firm Samsung decided to tackle this problem, and engineers with the Korean company have developed a system that allows drivers to see the road ahead of a truck.
The Florida Highway Patrol says that drivers of two cars were killed in a multi-vehicle collision that happened in a construction zone on May 28. According to media sources, the deadly incident occurred shortly after 11:30 p.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 near the Pines Boulevard exit. Sources report that a female passenger who was traveling in one of the cars was hospitalized in serious condition following the crash but that the drivers of two semi-trucks that were involved in the accident were not hurt.