How the Harvest Season Affects Truck Drivers
September through December Has the Most Fatal Crashes
Florida’s consistent year-round temperatures and long interstate highways make it an ideal place for the $100 billion agricultural industry to thrive. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the state accounts for 44% of the country's citrus and 60% of fresh market tomato production.
While the harvest season spanning from September to December is a crucial time of year for the economy, truck drivers making interstate deliveries are at a higher risk of being in a fatal collision. Here's why.
Why Fatal Crashes Increase
About 36% of fatal truck collisions occur during this season, with September sharing the largest proportion of crashes overall (10%). During this period, drivers are faced with a varying amount of people on the roadways, time changes, and other factors that may make them more susceptible to dangerous roadway experiences. Along with this, the nature of their job requires accommodations in terms of delivery schedule and roadway use.
FMCSA Exemptions for Ag Deliveries
Compared to other times of the year, the demand for deliveries to be made on time during harvest season is much greater. So much so that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hours of service exemptions for drivers making agricultural pick-ups and deliveries. As long as the job is within a 150 air-mile radius, the driver abides by the state's harvest season regulations, and they're transporting farm supplies, agricultural commodities, or livestock, they do not have to adhere to the standard 11-hour drive time.
This seems doable within the 11-hour window for most drivers, but truckers have to take into account the time spent loading/unloading, passing through weigh stations, and if they are trying to fit multiple jobs in one day. All of this combined may cause the driver to become fatigued more quickly, and if they don't take their mandatory breaks, they could be more prone to accidents.
Another aspect that needs to be considered is the type of roadway on which many of these jobs are taking place. The National Safety Council estimates that 57% of fatal truck crashes occur on rural roads. During this season, when many more rural roadways are in use, this can become much more of a factor, especially at night.
Stay Protected This Season—We Can Help.
Our Broward County attorneys have decades of experience helping injured victims recover damages following truck crashes. If you or a loved one is seeking legal representation for one of these collisions, we can help.
Call (954) 833-1440 or fill out this form to get in touch with a member of our team.