In Wake of Fatal Accident, Florida Trucking Regulations Need Updating

Law Firm Newswire



Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) April 9, 2014 – Florida’s commercial trucking regulations are under scrutiny in the wake of a fatal accident involving a semitrailer.

A collision between a semitrailer and a sedan on Interstate 75 resulted in the sedan driver’s death. Although the truck driver’s commercial license (CDL) was nearly free of violations, his total driving history included 27 violations. That personal history did not prevent him from lawfully obtaining a commercial driver’s license. Now, a Florida legislator wants to pass a law that would prevent such circumstances.

“It’s common sense that at some point, a history of infractions on your personal license should prevent you from getting a commercial driver’s license,” said Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney David Lietz. “But that is not the case in Florida. The law should be changed, and it’s a shame it took a fatal accident to bring this shortcoming of the law to light.”

The accident occurred in the early morning hours of February 12, 2014. Wayne Damari Waldon, 30, was driving an ABC Fine Wine & Spirits truck southbound on I-75 over the Alafia River, just south of Tampa. He changed lanes to pass a slower-moving BMW driven by James Dylan Proctor, 42. The truck clipped the bumper of the car, causing it to veer off the bridge between the northbound and southbound lanes and to plunge into the river, killing Proctor.

Waldon had just two infractions — both non-moving violations — on his commercial license. But another 25, including driving on a suspended license and speeding, applied to his personal license. According to Lt. Jeff Frost of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, only a written test and vehicle skills test are required to obtain a CDL. Applicants cannot be denied the license due to previous driving history.

Florida Sen. Jeff Brandes wants the Senate Transportation Committee, which he chairs, to schedule hearings on the issue, saying that a driver with as many offenses as Waldon “shouldn’t be driving at all.”

A subsequent editorial in the Tampa Bay Times came out in favor of changing the law to factor in a CDL applicant’s total driving history.