Miami, FL- In July of this year, Florida Governor, Rick Scott, signed a sweeping highway safety bill, H.B. 7125, which was aimed at making Florida roadways less dangerous for millions of motorists and reduce truck accidents. The new legislation included numerous measures and was heavily focused on curbing distracted driving accidents, especially those involving commercial truck drivers.
Because distracted driving is the cause of two-thirds of traffic accidents, the new legislation prohibits commercial drivers, semi-truck drivers, and bus drivers from texting and talking on their cellphones while driving. It is still legal for truck drivers to talk on their cellphones as long as they are using a hands-free device.
The legislation makes texting or talking a primary offense, meaning police are allowed to pull a commercial truck driver over if they are caught using their cell phones behind the wheel. Police no longer need to observe other traffic violations in order to pull a truck driver over. When cited, the driver and the company they work for will be hit with costly fines.
This provision of the law will help cut down semi-truck collisions in Florida since distracted commercial truck drivers are 23 times more likely to cause a traffic accident. Recent available data shows that in 2010, 5,000 people were killed, and an additional 100,000 motorists were injured in commercial truck accidents nationwide.
“Not only are we penalizing the drivers if they’re texting and driving. We’re penalizing the companies. And the companies are behind us,” Florida Representative Irving Slosberg said in a statement, according to WPTV.
Commercial drivers face tougher laws under the latest highway safety bill than other motorists because they are in command of very large and heavy vehicles which can weigh up to 100,000 lbs. When these enormous trucks are involved in an accident, the resulting injuries can be severe, deadly and costly.
Another provision requires that highway motorists traveling 10 miles under the posted speed limit must move out of the far left fast lanes. Drivers who fail to do so face a fine, this will help reduce the number of truck rear-end accidents.
While the new trucking regulations will reduce incidents of distracted driving involving cell phones, it won’t completely eliminate these types of accidents.
Truckers spend some time on the road, their front cabs become their homes. They eat, conduct business and communicate with their family while they are on the road and sometimes behind the wheel so it should come as no surprise that they occasionally take their eyes of the road. They might be able to avoid an accident the majority of the time, but it is inevitable that one day they could cause a devastating accident while they are distracted.
There are many activities that truckers engage in which takes their attention of the roads like eating, conducting business, or using their cell phone. If you have been injured by a distracted truck driver, you could be eligible for significant compensation. A Florida truck accident attorney can determine if you have a sound case and guide you through the process of obtaining compensation.