The Florida Department of Transportation identified overturned trucks as a serious problem affecting the state’s highways. State officials decided to address these truck accidents in two ways, both focusing on keeping traffic moving in an orderly and safe manner. First, the state attempted to improve safety and reduce the number of rollovers by posting new signs and by committing to new construction where rollovers were commonly occurring, including ramps connecting I-595 to Florida’s Turnpike. Second, the state decided to implement a system of bonuses to towing companies that could clear overturned semis in 90 minutes or less.
The efforts to reduce semi rollovers have been successful to date. In 2005, there were 708 accidents involved truck rollovers. In 2009, that number had been reduced to 296. The bonuses for clearing accidents had slightly reduced the time it took for lanes to be completely cleared. In addition to reducing the truck accidents, themselves, this reduces congestion and makes the roads safer for everyone.
Driver error is the cause of most semi-truck rollovers, but those errors are often due to an absence of information. Drivers who are unfamiliar with the roads on which they drive may not realize that a cloverleaf ramp is particularly tight or that an on-ramp requires two sharp turns in order to merge with traffic. By making the transitions smoother when new construction is done or by posting clear signs indicating safe on-ramp speeds, drivers may make the necessary adjustments to avoid a rollover.
Semi rollovers can cause serious injury or death and often lead to massive congestion which also contributes to personal injury accidents. A reduction in rollovers can save lives and help taxpayers avoid the massive expenses involved in major cleanup of state highways. Any efforts the state can make to improve safety and avoid unnecessary expense should be applauded.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “State works to ease South Florida’s truck rollover hotspots ,” by Michael Turnbell, 15 June 2012