A Broward County judge sentenced Southwest Florida gasoline tanker truck driver Flavio Santisteban to 36 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter resulting from a horrible accident that left 4 people dead.

The explosive crash occurred on Feb. 11, 2005 as Santisteban was heading off Florida I 595 onto an interstate 95 onramp. His tanker truck carrying 9,000 gallons of fuel skidded out of control and flipped onto a passenger vehicle carrying four people. The truck exploded. Three people trapped in the car burned to death and a fourth escaped but drowned in a pond near the Florida Turnpike 95 ramp where this car truck crash occurred.

According to prosecutors in this wrongful death lawsuit brought by the victims’ family, Santisteban was traveling over the speed limit and showed “reckless disregard for human life.” The truck driver had been cited before for driving violations. Prosecutors alleged that Santisteban was driving at excessive speed and without adequate rest in an effort to earn more money from his employer.

Driving without enough rest breaks and sufficient sleep is among the top causes of truck accidents in Florida and the United States. Federal regulations state that commercial truck drivers may drive up to a maximum of 11 hours after they have taken an off-duty break of 10 consecutive hours, and may not drive more than 14 hours in one day.

Unfortunately, the pressures on commercial truck drivers to “make good time” on the highway can cloud their better judgment and lead to fatal car truck accidents, such as this terrible incident on a Florida I-95 onramp that claimed four lives.

Truck driver gets 36-year prison term for crash that killed 4
MiamiHerald.com Dec. 16, 2008
Related Web Resource
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Hours-of-Service Regulations