Every person on the road has to be wary of other drivers, especially those drivers who are fatigued and may not be safely operating a vehicle. A recent news article highlights the dangers associated with the transportation of agricultural workers, a danger all Florida drivers face.
In a Florida auto accident involving a truck and a bus, four people were killed in an early morning collision near St. Marks. According to federal investigators, the crash highlighted problems with safety regulations concerning the transportation of migrant farmworkers. The crash occurred at around 5:00 AM and was deemed to be the fault of the bus driver. The bus was being driven by a migrant farmworker who had finished a day’s work picking crops.
Investigators determined that the bus company failed to adequately oversee the driver. It also found there was a lack of effective oversight by the Department of Labor and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In addition to the four people killed in the crash, 29 others were injured. The investigation thus far shows that the driver failed to stop at a blinking red light and stop sign at an intersection.
The National Transportation Safety Board found similar issues with migrant farmworker transportation in crashes in Little Rock, Arkansas and Ruther Glen, Virginia. In the Arkansas crash, six passengers were killed. According to investigators, the bus drivers also worked in the fields, and driver fatigue was cited in each of the three crashes.
The investigators also noted the risks of intersection crashes. From 2010 through 2015, there were around 45,000 traffic fatalities at intersections. Around 30,000 of those occurred at intersections that were not controlled by traffic lights. Those include the Florida crash because a blinking light does not count as a traffic control. A few months before the Florida crash, the Florida Department of Transportation had done a repaving project on that road and removed rumble strips, which are strips that vibrate under vehicles to warn drivers of intersections. The strips were not replaced until six days after the crash.
Ineffective Enforcement of Agricultural Safety Laws
The crashes have demonstrated the lack of effective enforcement of agricultural transportation safety laws. A review by the Associated Press found over a dozen similar crashes that left at least 38 people dead and almost 200 injured since January 2015. Federal and state safety regulations exist to protect farmworkers, but they continue to be transported in unsafe buses and vans with drivers who are not well rested. The NTSB found that the Department of Labor and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration need to find a way to share data and develop approaches to enforce safety regulations.
Consult a Motor Vehicle Collision Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida auto accident, you may have a right to seek compensation for your emotional, financial, and physical harm. The Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at Cecere Santana Castrillon have significant experience dealing with automobile crashes and can help you protect your rights. We can handle your claim from beginning to end, allowing you to focus on your recovery. We are committed to providing dedicated representation to South Florida residents and others throughout the region. For a free consultation, fill out our online form or call us at 800-753-5529.
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Is the Jury’s Verdict Final in a Florida Personal Injury Case?, Cecere Santana Castrillon Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 9, 2017.