After investigating three recent fatal crashes involving trucks and buses transporting migrant farmworkers, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the government has been ineffective in its enforcement of agricultural transportation safety laws.
The board issued these findings, along with recommendations for improvement, after analyzing a 2016 accident near St. Marks, Florida, that resulted in four deaths and dozens of injuries.
The accident in question involved a bus carrying migrant workers. After running a stop sign, the bus was hit by a tractor-trailer that had the right of way. The 56-year-old bus driver was likely suffering from sleep deprivation, according to the board’s findings. It also added the driver failed to obey signs at the intersection where roadwork was being done, and that an otherwise alert and attentive driver would have noticed and obeyed the signs.
The NTSB also determined the bus’s owner, Billy R. Evans Harvesting, Inc., failed to properly oversee its drivers and the safety of its vehicles. The board ordered the company to cease all operations.
Drowsy driving was also a factor in the other two crashes investigated the NTSB investigated.
Enforcement to tighten after these findings
After the NTSB’s findings, it’s likely the government will tighten its enforcement of agricultural transportation safety laws. Part of this involves ensuring all drivers and the companies that oversee them obey the regulations in place regarding hours of service. Truck and bus drivers are subject to federal rules that dictate how many hours they can spend on the road within a 24-hour or seven-day period, and how often they must rest.
For further information on these regulations and how you can proceed with a personal injury claim after a bus or truck accident, work with a knowledgeable Bradenton attorney at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.