These are just a few of the many accidents in Florida reported the past few weeks involving tractor trailers in Miami and elsewhere:
-The Miami Herald recently reported that a woman stepping out of her vehicle on Interstate 75 was hit by a tractor trailer. She was flown to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
–WSVN News reported a tractor trailer rollover on an Interstate 95 exit ramp.
–WSVN News also reported another incident on an Interstate 95 exit ramp involving a jack-knifed tractor trailer. The trucker reportedly applied too much pressure on the brakes, causing the truck to jack-knife.
Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers know the havoc that tractor trailers create on our highways. So we are following closely a bill proposing to raise truck weights. Safety advocates not only want the weight to remain the same but are pushing to lower truckers’ driving hours.
Two bills are going head to head in Congress – SETA vs. SHIPA.
SETA – Safe and Efficient Transportation Act is a bill that wants to give states the option to raise the maximum weight for a truck from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. The added weight would require adding a 6th axle to trucks wanting the extra weight. Groups for this bill, such as the Coalition for Transportation Productivity say that adding the extra weight is not a concern because the 6th axle would preserve braking capacity and weight distribution, as well as limit road wear. The group also feels adding the 6th axle would increase fees to users, and those added fees could go toward bridge repairs. Because trucks will be able to carry more cargo, they feel fewer trucks would be on the roadways, making the roads safer.
SHIPA – Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act is the bill that wants the maximum truck weight to stay at 80,000 pounds. Safety advocates and the Teamsters are concerned that our roads and bridges can’t handle the extra weight. Their bigger concern is the ability for these maxed-out trucks to stop in a timely manner. An 80,000-pound truck going 55 mph takes 400 feet to stop when road conditions are dry. That is almost the length of 1½ football fields.
Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a two-day forum in Washington D.C. earlier this month focusing on bus and truck safety. Driver fatigue was a topic up for discussion with a solution of permitting truckers to drive a maximum of 10 hours a day. Currently they can drive 11 hours in a 14 hour work day.
If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a trucking accident in Florida, contact our personal injury lawyers of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-529-2368.