Florida Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog
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While some truck companies and carriers have a good reputation for safety and take steps to protect their drivers and other motorists on the road, others are not so conscientious. Unfortunately, some of the unsafe tactics used by a small number of trucking companies in Florida and Fort Lauderdale result in serious trucking collisions and car crashes each year. According to safety experts, there are a few practices that trucking companies use that can be especially unsafe:

Fly-By-Night Carriers

According to the Truck Safety Coalition and other groups, some truck carriers re-register with a new name with the Department of Transportation to avoid violations, charges, and safety rules. Essentially, the companies will violate safety rules and then change their company name and re-open as a new company to avoid facing the consequences. These truck companies can be extremely unsafe because they know the legal loopholes that help them avoid liability while continuing to avoid basic safety procedures. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has started a crackdown on carriers who change names and corporate structure to avoid the law, but these companies can be hard to spot – especially if they change addresses as well as names.

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Moving truck accidents in Hialeah and other communities lead to devastating accidents each year. Unfortunately, these types of collisions can be especially common at this time of year, as this tends to be a busy season for movers and moving truck rentals. Most safety experts agree that hiring movers or at least moving truck drivers is safer than trying to move yourself. This is because most people simply don’t have the experience and skills to handle a large moving truck with many blind spots. If movers are not an option for you, however, you may be able to minimize your risks by packing your moving truck. To do that, be sure to use these tips:

1) Use boxes, aiming to keep boxes the same size.

Using boxes rather than keeping items loose or using bags helps keep possessions from moving around. Using uniformly-sized boxes also makes the boxes easier to stack so that the load can be distributed evenly. Keeping your truck packed evenly and weight distributed evenly is important in helping you maintain control of the truck so that you can prevent a traffic collision.

2) Use padding on fragile items and large items that cannot be boxed.

This helps prevent your furniture and other items from being damaged, but can also help prevent injuries. A broken mirror or framed picture can create broken glass on the floor of your moving truck and during a busy move this can be a serious hazard.

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Just how concerned should we be about trucking collisions in Hollywood and other Florida communities? According to recent statistics and safety experts, there may be reason for worry. Accidents involving semitrailers, big rigs, and other large trucks not only tend to be more serious than accidents involving smaller vehicles, but they tend to occur with troubling frequency. In many cases, these collisions are caused by tire blowouts in Hollywood and other communities as well as by other preventable causes.

Statistics released by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show that fatal truck crashes occur about 11 times, on average, across the country each day. This means that these collisions cause about 4,000 deaths each year. In addition to the fatalities, there are about 100,000 injuries – some of them permanent and devastating – occurring because of these roadway crashes each year. Even more troubling is the fact that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has stated that the number of fatalities caused by commercial trucks has increased since 2009. In fact, the agencies reports that the number of fatal truck accidents increased by 18% between 2009 and 2012. What is even more troubling is that in the same time frame, fatal car crashes declined 1.74 percent and the number of commercial trucks decreased 2.86%, which means that we might expect to see fewer trucking crashes, not more.

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When there are too few qualified truck drivers on the roads, could that increase the risk of trucking collisions in Hollywood or your community? Some safety experts think so.

A recent New York Times article pointed out that truck driver shortages are notable. Even with an overall unemployment rate of 6 percent across all sectors, there is a qualified driver shortage of about 30,000 drivers – and the amount of drivers needed is only expected to increase. A large part of the problem, as the article points out, is because wages for truck drivers are actually lower today than they were in 2003, once we adjust for inflation.

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If you have a recent high school grad in your household moving on to college this year, you may be making plans to help your child move into their dorm room or college apartment. Unfortunately, moving truck accidents in Miami and other cities can easily happen during a move to college. To help prevent this from happening to your family, follow these simple tips:

1) Consider hiring professional movers rather than renting a moving truck.

Renting a truck may seem like a budget friendly option, but do-it-yourself moving does come with certain risks. Investigative reports have found that some moving truck rental companies do not maintain their fleets in a responsible manner. In addition, someone who is experienced with driving a passenger car may find the added blind spots and added size of a large truck overwhelming. You may increase your chances of being in a traffic accident in Miami or at your destination by driving a truck that you are not used to.

2) Keep moving costs low by combining moves.

Many people choose to rent a moving truck rather than hire movers because of cost concerns. If this is true for you, you may be able to afford movers by keeping your costs low. For example, have your child take only the absolute minimum when they move – this should be easy since most dorm rooms only have limited space for possessions anyway. In addition, if two or three students are moving to the same college, they can pool their possessions and use one moving company together to enjoy a discount.

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Many laws have been passed over the past twenty years to address the issue of fatigue driving and truck accidents. However, what these laws do not address is the fact that truck driving as a job creates some risk factors that contribute to fatigued driving in Homestead and other communities. For example, truck drivers need to contend with:

1) Deadline-focused work. Truck drivers need to deliver their cargo by a specific time, and sometimes deadlines are tight.

In some cases, drivers may have a financial incentive to get to their destination on time or may even be worried about their jobs if they fail to make deadlines (no matter how unreasonable those deadlines are). If truck drivers are keeping an eye on the clock, they may not take the time to rest properly and may push themselves to keep going, even when they are tired.

2) Changing shift work. Some studies have shown that shift work can lead to fatigued driving and car collisions.

Truck drivers may be at risk because they may need to drive at different times of the day, even at night, when roadway crashes are more common. Drivers of bid rigs and tractor trailers may also need to work different shifts throughout the month, which creates an additional risk as drivers get used to a new schedule.

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Local businesses in Hollywood and across Florida rely on delivery trucks to bring in inventory, distribute products, and deliver items to customers. While big rigs, tractor trailers, and delivery vans help the economy, they also pose a serious challenge for businesses. No business wants a truck carrying their products to be involved in a serious crash. Fortunately, there are things that businesses can do to prevent this from happening:

1) Hire the right trucking company.

Businesses vote with their dollars, just like customers do. When hiring a truck carrier or delivery service, business owners have every right to choose a truck carrier with an excellent safety record. This not only can protect a company legally, but it can reduce the risk of a trucking accident. Before hiring a truck carrier or entrusting company products with a trucking company, ask questions. What is the company’s safety record? Which drivers will be delivering the products? What screening processes are in place to select and hire the right drivers?

2) Create a written policy for truck safety.

Preventing traffic crashes in Hollywood or your city is not just luck. Having a plan ensures that delivery drivers and others working for your company understand what they need to do in order to drive safely. Your written plan for your truck drivers may include a “no cell phone use while driving” rule or may require drivers to get additional training before starting work.

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How safe are your delivery trucks?

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A current debate about hours of service regulation rules is really a long-standing argument about how to best reduce the number of fatigued drivers on Fort Lauderdale roads and other roadways across the country. Earlier this year, new federal hours of service rules were passed which reduced the weekly hours long-haul truck drivers worked. The same changes also requires truck drivers to take nighttime rest breaks.

Some safety advocates say that the nighttime breaks are crucial to help prevent fatigued driving and resulting traffic crashes in Fort Lauderdale and other cities. They point to research that has shown shift work can lead to sleep issues and greater fatigue when compared with work that allows employees to sleep during regular night hours.

Critics Slam New Hours of Service Rules

Opponents of the hours of service changes, however, say that the mandatory nighttime rest breaks put too many commercial truck drivers on the road during rush hour – an increase in traffic that could contribute to roadway accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other cities. They also say that drivers should ultimately decide when they should rest.

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Fatigued driving leads to traffic crashes

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There are far fewer school bus accidents in Homestead and other communities than car accidents. One reason for that is that most drivers are much more careful around school buses than around average cars. In fact, there are laws in place to ensure that drivers use extra caution around vehicles transporting school children.

Now, a new law may help prevent waste truck accidents in Homestead and other Florida cities by getting motorists to slow down and show more caution around waste and recycling trucks. The new Florida law covers waste and recycling trucks under the same law that covers emergency vehicles.

Across the country, more than 135,000 men and women work with waste and recycling trucks, keeping streets and communities clean. These workers are especially vulnerable to workplace accidents in Homestead and other communities across the country, and one of the big risks in this industry has to do with pedestrian accidents. Waste and recycling trucks make frequent stops and when they do, trucking collisions can occur. In addition, workers from these trucks need to approach the curb and cross the street in order to pick up items from the curb. This puts these workers at risk, especially if drivers around them are distracted or try to drive around a stopped waste or recycling truck. The new law aims to address this common cause of injury.

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New Florida laws intended to prevent waste truck collisions

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Trade groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have spoken out against the new Hours of Service rules, saying that the new rules will not help fight fatigued driving and may actually contribute to the problem.

The new rules, among other things, limit commercial truck drivers to working no more than 14 hours per workday and also set limits on weekly work hours. On the surface, this seems like a good way to prevent fatigued driving in Davie and in communities across the country. The problem, according to OOIDA and other groups, is that the new rules are less flexible than previous regulations, which allowed drivers to take breaks when they needed to. Under the new rules, the groups say, drivers may have to max out their workday in bad weather or heavy traffic, preventing them from taking rests as needed because the 14-hour day cannot be extended.

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According to transportation officials, however, the problem is not with the new Hours of Service regulations, but rather with commercial drivers and transportation companies. When truck carriers create strict deadlines that no not allow for any breaks within 14 hour days or do not account for situations such as traffic or weather, they create problems because drivers do not have time to rest if they want to make their deadlines. Federal officials, however, have given no statements as to how this problem might be dealt with.

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