Articles Tagged with truck carriers

The trucking industry in Hollywood and South Florida is responsible for significant economic contributions and creates many jobs in the area. Large trucks bring consumer products to stores, haul raw materials and products from the port of Miami, and otherwise transport the goods we all rely on across the state and around the country.

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While the trucking industry is important, there’s also no doubt it causes severe injuries each year. Truckers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and their rate of workplace injury is higher than that of most industries. In addition, more than 80,000 Americans are injured each year in trucking accidents and more than 4000 each year are killed in commercial truck collisions.

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Workers in Florida who are injured on the job are protected by workers’ compensation in Hollywood or their communities. Employers are required by law to pay premiums on this type of insurance. After a job-related injury, this coverage is meant to ensure that workers are able to get benefits and compensation quickly while employers are protected against lawsuits.

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One problem is that not all workers are protected by the insurance. Self-employed, freelance, temp, and contract workers are not covered by workers’ compensation coverage. Unfortunately, some workers with the most dangerous jobs fall into this category. Truck drivers, for example, who are at risk of traffic accidents, back injuries, and other job-related injuries, are often independent contractors and therefore not qualified to get workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured. Truckers who work as independent contractors also do not get other employee benefits and protections that full-time, traditional workers enjoy.

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There are many rules designed to keep unsafe trucks off the roads. Despite that, about 25% of the 14,000 truck-related fatalities that have occurred between 2009 and 2014 in this country have involved a truck that had safety violations on their record.

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Trucks are Becoming Safer

Trucks are in fact becoming safer, in part due to improved technology. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large trucks have a fatal accident rate of 1.42 crashes per 100 million miles driven. For these vehicles, the rate of fatal crashes declined by half in the 1994-2010 period. Safety experts say that improved training and improved truck safety has resulted in the lower rates.

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Drivers or big rigs and tractor trailers are subject to more rules than motorists operating passenger cars. Truck drivers also tend to drive across state lines as part of their job, and as a result they may encounter enforcement in different states. Traditionally, truckers have claimed that enforcement can vary widely by state, and now the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has published a study that investigates that.

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Enforcement of traffic rules and federal trucking laws is obviously essential in preventing truck crashes in Miami and other cities. The ATRI looked at states by examining 11 different metrics related to enforcement. These metrics involved fatal and serious crashes per million vehicle miles traveled, roadside inspections with and without violations million vehicle miles traveled, and state money spent per Motor Carrier Assistance funding.

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Many people involved in a trucking collision in Miami or another community expect that they will be able to get help from their insurance provider. After all, motorists pay their insurance premiums precisely so that they can enjoy help if they are ever in a motor vehicle collision. Unfortunately, due to the complexity and high costs of trucking accidents, insurance problems are not uncommon after a crash involving a tractor trailer or big rig. The most common insurance problems include:

1) “I can’t get an insurance offer.”

If you cannot complete a claim because your insurance carrier claims that you are not covered or because there are delays in the process, you will want to get legal advice. You may have an insurance dispute and an attorney can help you explore your options. You will also want to contact an attorney if you are accused of causing an accident you did not cause.

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Trucking companies are large organizations, and people who are injured in crashes involving commercial trucks sometimes report feeling overlooked in the face of legal departments and insurance adjusters. Many people who have been injured or have lost loved ones in traffic accidents, however, are changing laws and taking on the trucking industry in order to reduce the number of trucking fatalities in Miami and other cities. They are doing this by:

1) Using social media.

Entire communities are created through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. People use the sites to raise awareness about trucking accidents, to share information about resources, and to circulate petitions to send to lawmakers. Others use social media to discuss laws or to alert people about dangerous trucking companies or dangerous trucking industry practices. If you want to get involved, you can use your own social media accounts to send the message out or sign petitions online. Shining a spotlight on the issues makes them harder to ignore.

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On the surface, car and truck accidents in Davie and other Florida communities look very much alike. They both involve drivers and insurance companies and both take place on the roadways. In both cases, there are likely to be injuries or even fatalities. Even the laws are similar, in that if a driver was negligent they can be held liable under Florida law.

Despite these similarities, truck and car accidents in Davie differ in a few significant ways:

1) Truck accident injuries are far more likely to be severe.

A broadside collision between two passenger vehicles can be serious, but when one of the vehicles involved is a commercial truck the accident is even more likely to lead to devastating injury or fatalities. More severe injuries can mean more compensation required to pay for medical bills. Unfortunately, it can also mean that some insurance companies are more likely to balk at the cost.

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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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