Many truck accidents happen as a result of exhausted drivers
August 22, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- New Florida laws focus on truck driver safety
Article provided by Dell & Schaefer Chartered
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Motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks can be some of the most serious of all crashes. Due to the size and weight of larger vehicles, the level of injury that can be sustained is great.
Broward County had the second worst rating for accident fatalites in the state of Florida for the years 2010 and 2011, following only Miami-Dade County. In both years, Broward County had seven percent of the state's deaths from vehicular accidents.When it comes to tractor-trailer accidents specifically, the county saw 21 deaths in 2010 and nine in 2011.
While fatalities are extremely serious, the majority of accidents involving all types of large vehicles do not result in deaths.
In 2010, there were 144 fatal accidents, 4,402 injury accidents and 3,657 vehicle or property-only damage accidents involving vehicles classified as either heavy trucks, truck-tractors, cargo vans or buses rated for a driver and 15 or more passengers statewide.
Roughly 54 percent of all large vehicle accidents in the state in 2010 left at least one person injured or dead. This should make all people on Florida roads take note.
New law to combat driver exhaustion
Many truck accidents happen as a result of exhausted drivers. The state of Florida passed a new law that went into effect July 1, 2013. Known as the Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule, it governs the number of hours a truck driver may operate a vehicle in a given timeframe and when breaks should be taken. The goal of the law is to ultimately reduce the instance of truck accidents by preventing unnecessary exhaustion on the part of truck drivers. Key elements in the law include:
-Drivers are limited to a maximum of 70 driving hours in one work week (the previous limit was 82 hours)
-Drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes for every eight hours of driving
-A minimum of 34 hours off is required before commencing a new 70-hour driving week; only one such "break" is allowed per work week
-The 34 hour break must include a minimum of two periods between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
These laws apply to all large vehicles over 10,001 pounds, with a weight rating of at least 10,001 pounds, that is designed for nine or more passengers or that will transport quantitites of hazardous materials that require placards.
Truckers first in state to have ban on texting while driving
In addition to the laws regarding hours of service, the state of Florida enacted a ban on handheld cell phone use by truck drivers in 2013. The law for all other motorists is a secondary law, which means that a police officer cannot pull a driver over for that purpose only. A citation can be issued for handheld use of a cell phone only if a driver is first stopped for another reason.
For truck drivers, however, the new law is a primary law, which allows law enforcement to stop a trucker for that purpose alone.
Clearly, the state of Florida is making an effort to improve safety on the roadways and reduce the number of truck accidents. If you are involved in a truck accident, you should contact an attorneyto ensure you get help from someone who fully knows the applicable laws and how to get you the compensation you deserve.
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