Could the tragic accident between a firefighter and a JEA truck been avoided?

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Firefighter crashed into JEA Truck

News4Jax reports that a tragic accident which occurred several months ago between a firefighter and a JEA truck working on Arlington Expressway has new details.  The firefighter who died after hitting a JEA truck working on Arlington Expressway on Feb. 2 had a blood alcohol level of .224, nearly three times the legal limit for driving, according to the Florida Highway Patrol released last week.  The deceased was driving his Chevrolet Tahoe west about 11 p.m. He was approaching Cesery Boulevard at about 34 mph when his SUV crashed into the back of a JEA vacuum truck. Investigators said the 43-year-old was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.  According to the impact of the crash, the deceased had traumatic injuries to his head, neck, torso and extremities. The report says the leading edge of the dump bed on the vacuum truck had gone through and into the driver seat of the SUV and the vehicle caught fire. He also had burns over 90 percent of his body.

Other notes in the report:

  • FHP says there were no tire marks in the roadway showing that the firefighter had not tried to brake before the crash.
  • The JEA truck was stopped in the roadway so the passenger could remove some cones.
  • Emergency lights on that truck were activated at the time, but the rear arrow board was not activated, something troopers learned from nearby surveillance video.
  • The driver of the JEA was given a non-criminal citation for stopping in an area where stopping, standing or parking is prohibited.
  • Both drivers contributed to this crash.

FHP said it will not release surveillance video of the crash because it shows the impact causing the deceased’s death.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who died in this accident.

What is a driver’s duty to highway construction.  Florida Statute §316.079 sets forth the duty to yield to highway construction workers.—

(1) Every driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian worker and flag-person engaged in maintenance or construction work on a highway whenever the driver is reasonably and lawfully notified of the presence of such worker by a flag-person and a warning sign or device.

(2) Every driver of a vehicle on public roadways shall yield the right-of-way to an escort vehicle or pedestrian flag-person that is engaged in the management of highway movements of an oversize vehicle permitted pursuant to s. 316.550, provided the driver is reasonably and lawfully notified of the presence of such vehicle or flag-person.

What should construction crews have to notify drivers of roadwork at night?

Florida Statutes §316.224 gives us the color of clearance lamps, identification lamps, side marker lamps, backup lamps, reflectors, and deceleration lights.—

(1) Front clearance lamps, identification lamps, and those marker lamps and reflectors mounted on the front or on the side near the front of a vehicle shall display or reflect an amber color.

(2) Rear clearance lamps, identification lamps, and those marker lamps and reflectors mounted on the rear or on the sides near the rear of a vehicle shall display or reflect a red color.

(3) All lighting devices and reflectors mounted on the rear of any vehicle shall display or reflect a red color, except the stop light or other signal device, which may be red, amber, or yellow, and except that the light illuminating the license plate shall be white and the light emitted by a backup lamp shall be white or amber. Deceleration lights as authorized by s. 316.235(5) shall display an amber color.

(4) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

This seems to be a tragic accident that could have been avoided by both parties.

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