Should Florida Have Tougher Standards for Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL)?
Accidents involving commercial vehicles, like semi-trailers and big rigs, account for a large number of traffic accidents in the US. These catastrophic accidents are far more dangerous and deadly than accidents involving other motor vehicles because of their dramatically larger size and nature. Due to their increased size and weight, accidents involving these kinds of vehicles can easily result in devastating paralysis due to spinal injuries, brain injuries and death.
In fact, people who drive these kinds of vehicles must obtain a special kind of license, called a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
Earlier this year in Florida, an auto collision between a semitrailer and a sedan on I-75 just south of Tampa killed the sedan driver. The truck driver changed lanes to try to pass the BMW sedan, clipped the sedan’s bumper, caused it to veer off the bridge and finally to plunge into the river, killing the driver.
Did the Truck Driver Have Prior Violations on His Record?
The truck driver, Wayne Waldon, had only two non-moving infractions on his commercial license. However, he had another 25 infractions spanning six states on his personal license, including violations such as driving on a suspended license, driving with out-of-order equipment and speeding.
In fact, records show that his license had been suspended six times.
Applicants cannot be denied a CDL due to their past driving records, because there is no Florida law that forbids a person from getting a CDL due to infractions on their personal driver’s license. To obtain a CDL, all Waldon had to do was pass a written test and a vehicle skills test.
What Is Being Done to Improve This Gap in the Law?
According to Florida Senator Jeff Brandes, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, says that a driver with as many infractions as Waldon, quote, “shouldn’t be driving at all.”
“It’s definitely something that we should review,” he added, “and see what ultimately should be the standards for a commercial driver’s license.”
If Waldon is charged and found guilty in the crash on I-75, his penalty under Florida law would be a 60-day suspension of his CDL.
Shapiro Law Group – Catastrophic Personal Injury Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area