Keeping yourself informed about the issues that could affect your safety on the road is an important part of being a savvy driver. There are many issues that federal and state governments have been mulling over that could affect the risk of Coral Gables trucking accidents:
1) Maximum allowed truck weights. In 1995, there was a freeze on longer combination vehicles (LCVs) and limits have been set on the weight and size of commercial trucks. Numerous studies have shown that heavier and larger trucks may be at larger risk of collisions and may harm roads and infrastructure more than current trucks. However, truck companies and the industry sometimes advocate for larger trucks and larger weight limits, arguing that these limits would allow their businesses to be more cost-effective as it would allow more products to be shipped at a time.
2) Hours of Service (HoS) regulations. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and other agencies, driver fatigue is a contributor in many truck crashes. As a result, federal laws have limited the number of hours commercial truck drivers can work before taking a break. In 2003, rules were set so that drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive hours of break. This was actually an increase in the number of hours permitted on the road and many advocacy groups have tried to get these hours reduced. Truck drivers and companies, however, have a financial incentive to seek longer hours.
3) Insurance levels for truck companies. Motor coaches are required to carry a minimum of $5 million in insurance while trucks need to carry $750 000 in insurance. Many advocacy groups have been trying to increase these mandatory minimums, especially for commercial trucks carrying hazardous waste, noting that the minimums have not been updated in three decades. With the current rules about insurance, some advocates point out, victims of Coral Gables truck accidents who have sustained serious injuries such as Coral Gables head injuries, amputations, and other serious injuries may have trouble getting fair compensation for their injuries.
4) Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs). EOBRs are devices which automatically record information about trips – including distances driven. Truck safety groups have been trying to pass rules which would require all trucks to have these devices. Currently, commercial truck drivers must note hours driven and hours of rest in written log books, but these books are not as accurate as EOBRs.
5) Panels and impact guards to reduce underride accidents and injuries in rear impact collisions. According to the Truck Safety Coalition, half of all fatal truck accidents involve underrride accidents, where a smaller vehicle slides under a larger truck. Some experts believe that requiring all commercial trucks to be equipped with energy-absorbing, velocity-sensitive rear impact guards and low-mounted side panels would prevent a large number of these types of accidents.
6) Speed limits. Speeding is a major cause of many Coral Gables car accidents and truck accidents. Since trucks take longer to stop and brake than passenger vehicles, some experts believe that reducing speed on trucks would reduce the risk of accidents and would decrease the risk of fatalities and serious injury in collisions.
If you have been injured in a Coral Gables truck accident and are seeking a personal injury attorney, you can arrange for a free consultation with the Flaxman Law Group. The team at the Flaxman Law Group has more than 25 years of experience helping South Florida accident survivors.