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The Florida Senate

2005 Florida Statutes

Transportation of migrant farm workers.
Section 316.620, Florida Statutes 2005

316.620  Transportation of migrant farm workers.--Every carrier of migrant farm workers shall systematically inspect and maintain, or cause to be systematically maintained, all motor vehicles and their accessories subject to its control to ensure that such motor vehicles and accessories are in safe and proper operating condition in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(1)  COMPLIANCE.--Every carrier of migrant farm workers, and its officers, agents, drivers, representatives and employees directly concerned with the installation and maintenance of equipment and accessories, shall comply and be conversant with the requirements and specifications of this section, and no carrier of migrant farm workers shall operate any motor vehicle over the public highways of this state, or cause or permit it to be operated, unless it is equipped in accordance with said requirements and specifications.

(2)  COUPLING DEVICES; FIFTH WHEEL MOUNTING AND LOCKING.--The lower half of every fifth wheel mounted on any truck tractor or dolly shall be securely affixed to the frame thereof by U-bolts of adequate size, securely tightened, or by other means providing at least equivalent security. Such U-bolts shall not be of welded construction. The installation shall be such as not to cause cracking, warping, or deformation of the frames. Adequate means shall be provided positively to prevent the shifting of the lower half of a fifth wheel on the frame to which it is attached. The upper half of every fifth wheel shall be fastened to the motor vehicle with at least the security required for the securing of the lower half to a truck tractor or dolly. Locking means shall be provided in every fifth wheel mechanism including adaptors when used, so that the upper and lower halves may not be separated without the operation of a positive manual release. A release mechanism operated by the driver from the cab shall be deemed to meet this requirement. On fifth wheels designed and constructed as to be readily separable, the fifth wheel locking devices shall apply automatically on coupling for any motor vehicle the date of manufacture of which is subsequent to December 31, 1952.

(3)  TIRES.--Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with tires of adequate capacity to support its gross weight. No motor vehicle shall be operated on tires which have been worn so smooth as to expose any tread fabric or which have any other defect likely to cause failure. No vehicle shall be operated while transporting passengers while using any tire which does not have tread configurations on that part of the tire which is in contact with the road surface. No vehicle transporting passengers shall be operated with regrooved, recapped, or retreaded tires on front wheels.

(4)  PASSENGER COMPARTMENT.--Every motor vehicle transporting passengers, other than a bus, shall have a passenger compartment meeting the following requirements:

(a)  Floors.--There shall be a substantially smooth floor, without protruding obstructions more than 2 inches high, except as are necessary for securing seats or other devices to the floor, and without cracks or holes.

(b)  Sides.--Sidewalls and ends shall be above the floor at least 60 inches high, by attachment of sideboards to the permanent body construction if necessary. Stake body construction shall be construed to comply with this requirement only if all 6-inch or larger spaces between stakes are suitably closed to prevent passengers from falling off the vehicle.

(c)  Nails, screws, splinters.--The floor and the interior of the sides and ends of the passenger-carrying space shall be free of inwardly protruding nails, screws, splinters, or other projecting objects, likely to be injurious to passengers or their apparel.

(d)  Seats.--A seat shall be provided for each worker transported. The seats shall be securely attached to the vehicle during the course of transportation; not less than 16 inches nor more than 19 inches above the floor; at least 13 inches deep; equipped with back rests extending to a height of at least 36 inches above the floor, with at least 24 inches of space between the back rests or between the edges of the opposite seats when face-to-face; designed to provide at least 18 inches of seat for each passenger; without cracks more than 1/4-inch wide, and the back rest, if slatted, without cracks more than 2 inches wide; and the exposed surfaces, if made of wood, planed or sanded smooth and free of splinters.

(e)  Protection from the weather.--Whenever necessary to protect the passengers from inclement weather conditions, the passenger compartment shall be equipped with a top at least 80 inches high above the floor and facilities for closing the sides and ends of the passenger-carrying compartment. Tarpaulins or other such removable devices for protection from the weather shall be secured in place.

(f)  Exit.--Adequate means of ingress and egress to and from the passenger space shall be provided on the rear or at the right side Such means of ingress and egress shall be at least 18 inches wide. The top and the clear opening shall be at least 60 inches high, or as high as the sidewall of the passenger space if less than 60 inches. The bottom shall be at the floor of the passenger space.

(g)  Gates or doors.--Gates or doors shall be provided to close the means of ingress and egress, and each such gate or door shall be equipped with at least one latch or other fastening device of such construction as to keep the gate or door securely closed during the course of transportation and readily operative without the use of tools.

(h)  Ladders or steps.--Ladders or steps for the purpose of ingress or egress shall be used when necessary. The maximum vertical spacing of footholes shall not exceed 12 inches, except that the lowest step may be not more than 18 inches above the ground when the vehicle is empty.

(i)  Handholds.--Handholds or devices for similar purpose shall be provided to permit ingress and egress without hazard to passengers.

(j)  Emergency exit.--Vehicles with permanently affixed roofs shall be equipped with at least one emergency exit having a gate or door, latch, and handhold as prescribed in paragraphs (g) and (i) and located on a side or rear not equipped with the exit prescribed in paragraph (f).

(k)  Communication with driver.--Means shall be provided to enable the passengers to communicate with the driver. Such means may include telephone, speaker tubes, buzzers, pull cords, or other mechanical or electrical means.

(5)  PROTECTION FROM COLD.--Every motor vehicle shall be provided with a safe means of protecting passengers from cold or undue exposure, but in no event shall heaters of the following types be used:

(a)  Exhaust heaters.--Any type of exhaust heater in which the engine exhaust gases are conducted into or through any space occupied by persons or any heater which conducts engine compartment air into such space.

(b)  Unenclosed flame heaters.--Any type of heater employing a flame which is not fully enclosed.

(c)  Heaters permitting fuel leakage.--Any type of heater from the burner of which there could be spillage or leakage of fuel from the tilting or overturning of the vehicle in which it is mounted.

(d)  Heaters permitting air contamination.--Any heater taking air, heated or to be heated, from the engine compartment or from direct contact with any portion of the exhaust system; or any heater taking air in ducts from the outside atmosphere to be conveyed through the engine compartment, unless said ducts are so constructed and installed as to prevent contamination of the air so conveyed by exhaust or engine compartment gases.

(e)  Heaters not attached.--Any heater not securely fastened to the vehicle.

(6)  NOT APPLICABLE TO COMMON CARRIERS.--This section shall not apply to common carriers of passengers.

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

History.--s. 1, ch. 71-135; s. 1, ch. 76-31; s. 243, ch. 99-248.

Note.--Former s. 316.289.