A large metal bar protruding from the back of a truck put the driver of the vehicle behind it in critical condition in an accident on January 11, 2017 in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The accident occurred on westbound side of I-4 before 7:00 a.m. when a truck with the object protruding from the rear was stopped in traffic. It is unclear whether the truck itself was impacted in the collision. The driver of the car that struck the metal bar was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with injuries described as serious.
It Is Illegal In Florida To Have An Object That Protrudes More Than 4 Feet Without Lights And Flags
Considering that this accident happened before 7 a.m. in winter, the truck involved was likely on the roadway before dawn and should have had the lights as required by section 316.228, Fla. Stat. below. During the day, objects protruding more than 4 feet from the rear of a vehicle are required to be marked by red flags.
316.228 Lamps or flags on projecting load.—
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), whenever the load upon any vehicle extends to the rear 4 feet or more beyond the bed or body of such vehicle, there shall be displayed at the extreme rear end of the load, at the times specified in s. 316.217, two red lamps visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear, two red reflectors visible at night from all distances within 600 feet to 100 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps and located so as to indicate maximum width, and on each side one red lamp visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the side and located so as to indicate maximum overhang. There shall be displayed at all other times on any vehicle having a load which extends beyond its sides or more than 4 feet beyond its rear, red flags, not less than 18 inches square, marking the extremities of such load, at each point where a lamp would otherwise be required by this section.
From the photograph, it looks like the metal bar that went through the driver’s windshield had to be sticking out more than 4 feet and should have been marked with either lights or flags. FHP states that there were orange flags on the metal beams, however, FHP fails to mention that the truck may have been required to have lights if truck was on the roadway before sunrise. The reason why protruding loads should be marked is because many drivers are used to judging distances based on their perception of the lights. Likewise, if a pole or bar is protruding from the rear of a truck, a driver may not be able to appreciate how far it is sticking out until getting close to it. Further, a pole or bar sticking out the back of a truck is likely to be at about the same height as the driver’s face. Therefore, an impact with a pole or a heavy bar protruding off the back of a truck presents a serious risk of injury even if there is no collision with the truck itself.
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