In June 2009, a Miami truck driver who was fatigued caused a severe truck accidents that resulted in a multiple-vehicle pileup, ten deaths, and six injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the accident was caused by fatigued driving, with the driver suffering from mild sleep apnea as well as “circadian disruption” caused by the driver’s shift schedule.
Unfortunately, the incident was not isolated. Every year, Florida truck accidents as well as car and truck accidents across the entire country, are caused by fatigued drivers. According to Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the NTSB, the 2009 crash shows that three new federal rules are needed to help prevent these types of truck accidents:
1) A fatigue management system. According to the NTSB, such a system would include set scheduling practices, attendance rules, education of truck drivers and the public about warning signs, medical screening and treatment for sleep apnea and other sleep-related conditions, the creation of rest environments for drivers, and new commuting policies. This comprehensive system would address some of the more common causes for driver fatigue.
2) Event recorders. The NTSB has also recommended recorders such as video cameras in cabs. While these might not help prevent accidents, the NTSB notes that such devices would help investigate accidents. The NTSB also believes that event recorders would help carriers evaluate driver performance and this might ostensibly help prevent Florida trucking accidents as well as accidents across the country.
3) A collision warning system. Airplanes in Florida use Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) to help prevent Florida aviation accidents and the NTSB believes that similar technology can help prevent truck accidents. The systems work by providing auditory warning signals when other vehicles are close.
If you have been in a Florida truck accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The Flaxman Law Group has worked with thousands of plaintiffs in Miami, Homestead, and the surrounding South Florida area. Call us today to put our experience to work for you.