Overweight and speeding semis continue to present risks to every motorist on the road in South Florida.
The maximum weight that a big rig can weight in Florida is 80,000 pounds. Unfortunately, many companies around the country and right here in Florida are frequently exceeding weight restrictions. Although state officers continue to pull over trucks that they suspect are too heavy, companies continue to overload these rigs and thereby gambling with the safety of innocent motorists like you and I.
Our Fort Myers trucking accident attorneys understand that the penalties for these citations might not be enough to deter this kind of behavior. According to the report from FOX5, companies are getting fines of $300, $150 and even $75 for exceeding federal weight limits. And these were fines for exceeding the 80,000 limit by thousands of pounds. It’s so bad that officials estimate that about 30 percent of tractor-trailers and dump trucks are overweight on our roadways.
“Florida’s weight fines are so low that they were simply a nuisance to many truckers and considered a part of doing business,” according to an Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) report to the Florida Legislature.
Safety advocates have repeatedly suggested to lawmakers that the fines be tougher. A dump truck exceeding the weight limit by 600 pounds runs the risk of getting a mere $10 fine.
What’s even worse is that trucks that are over the limit, but over it by less than 6,000 pounds, are allowed to continue on to final destination. It’s up to the discretion of the officer.
In addition to these trucks running around with too much weight, they’re also speeding. For this reason, officials with Road Safe America (RSA) are pushing for federal officials to mandate speed limiters on commercial trucks.
Under this proposal, all heavy commercial vehicles would be required to use speed limiters and would have to set them at 65 miles per hour. According to RSA officials, this would help to make our roadways safer not only for these truckers, but for passenger car drivers as well.
The Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has even provided readers with a sample letter that you can personalize, print out and send to your elected officials. It helps to talk about the risks associated with these heavy, speeding trucks as well as ways that lawmakers can help to improve roadway safety for everyone.
In the state of Florida, there were close to 200 large vehicles involved in fatal accidents in 2010. Many of these accidents and fatalities could have been prevented or could have at least resulted in fewer injuries if truckers and companies simply followed stricter weight and speed restrictions.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 888-579-8699 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
More Blog Entries:
Florida Law Enforcement Targets Unsafe Drivers, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 15, 2012
New HOS Rule to Reduce Risks of Trucking Accidents in Fort Myers and Elsewhere, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, March 29, 2012