Trucking and traffic collisions in Homestead and other communities are a major concern, especially since big rigs and tractor trailers have the potential to cause massive devastation in crashes. A commercial truck carrying flammable materials, for example, can cause an explosion or a fire that can damage businesses and can injure bystanders over a large area. A truck rollover in Homestead or anywhere in Florida can be a multiple vehicle crash, resulting in lives lost and multiple injuries.
So what can we do to prevent trucking and multiple vehicle accidents in Homestead and other cities? According to industry experts, some of the solutions are already here and they include:
1) Electronic logging. Federal regulations require commercial truck drivers to keep track of miles driven and rests taken, but personal injury attorneys in Homestead and other cities know that these logs are far from reliable and can even be falsified (or forgotten). Electronic logs rely on an onboard computer linked to the engine to keep tabs on driving time and rest breaks. So far, about 25 percent of trucks use these devices but safety experts say that making e-logging devices universal could potentially cut down on fatigued driving in Homestead and other communities.
2) Better pay. Some industry advocates say that paying truckers more and especially paying them for time spent waiting while a truck is loaded would result in a safer and more professional workforce. Other safety experts say that currently drivers have a financial incentive to drive more and to meet deadlines at any cost, while a safer pay structure would financially reward drivers for driving without traffic violations or accidents.
3) Changing hours of service rules. While many agree that hours of service rules should change, there is much debate about how they should be changed. A current change in rules has meant that drivers can work no more than 14 hours a day, with up to 11 hours of that on the road. The new rules also require drivers to get 10 consecutive hours of rest between shifts and get at least one half an hour break during the first eight hours of a new shift. Long-distance truck drivers can have work weeks of up to 70 hours every eight days and must re-set their week by being off duty for at least 34 hours, with at least two blocks of time occurring consecutively between one in the morning and five in the morning. Safety experts say that these hours of work still put drivers at risk of fatigued driving, especially given how stressful and deadline-focused long-haul trucking is. The trucking industry, however, says that cutting hours of service rules does not make for safer drivers. Even with longer rest times, there is often no way to ensure that drivers manage their break times well to get maximum amounts of sleep. A driver can potentially obey all the rules and still be sleep deprived.
4) Giving drivers better access to health care. Driver health can have a big impact on collision rates. Drivers with heart conditions, sleep disorders, and other health conditions can be a danger on the roads, and trucking itself can put drivers at risk for a number of health issues, including obesity, heart disease, and some cancers. Giving drivers access to free screenings and offering more preventative medical advice could help address some of these concerns, although what is really needed is a change in attitudes about how the industry as a whole and how individual drivers address health risks.
If you have been injured in a trucking collision anywhere in South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free case assessment.