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Changes in 2013 Florida Law May Reduce Risks of Trucking Accidents

Trucks are essential to getting the products you use to market, but their size and weight make them extremely dangerous to smaller vehicles that share the roads. While trucking accidents can happen because of anything from insufficient inspection and maintenance to improper loading of cargo, driver activities certainly play a major role.

The Florida legislature recently introduced new laws to address concerns about driver activities and health. In March 2013, the Florida Department of Transportation released a Summary of Transportation-Related Legislation Enacted by the 2013 Legislature. CS/CS/HB 7125, Section 14 of the Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles contains the following provisions pertaining to commercial drivers:

  • Medical certification requirements. The state adopted federal regulations requiring commercial drivers to carry a card showing that they are medically certified to operate within the specific laws pertaining to their type of commercial driving. The new certification requirements go into effect as of January 1, 2014 or whenever drivers’ licenses are up for renewal.
  • Graduated fines for the illegal use of hand-held phones and texting while driving. Drivers can be fined if they engage in these federally prohibited activities, and their employers can be fined if they require or allow holders of commercial driver’s licenses to flout the laws.

Commercial truckers must already operate within a complex set of state and federal laws, but the 2013 changes are designed to help improve public safety on Florida roads.

Still, nearly 3,000 crashes involving semi-tractor trailer occurred within the state in 2010 alone. If you or a loved one suffers injuries in an accident involving a commercial truck, it is essential to retain an experienced Florida truck accident attorney who has up-to-date knowledge of all laws. Your lawyer plays a vital role in helping level the balance of power between you and a powerful trucking company that has an army of skilled lawyers on staff.

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