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Category: Truck Accidents

Weather Conditions Can Have a Major Impact on Trucks

May 19, 2017 - Truck Accidents by

Weather conditions affect all motor vehicles. Often those effects are most pronounced for big rigs. While truck drivers generally benefit from a low risk of major injuries, any Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyer can confirm that other motorists who share the roads with them are not always as lucky. To help reduce the chance of serious truck accidents, drivers of smaller vehicles need to recognize how weather conditions can affect their own vehicles — and how neighboring trucks can pose greater risks. Weather-Related Road Conditions Can Have Unexpected Effects on Motorists The results of certain weather conditions are obvious, but those results may be more extensive than most drivers realize. And when they affect massive vehicles weighing upwards of 80,000 pounds, the risks are even more pronounced. The Federal Highway Administration’s Road Weather Management Program offers a list of weather events that impact roads, which includes the following: Wind speed reduces visibility by blowing dust and debris, which reduces truck drivers’ abilities to see smaller vehicles. It also affects the stability of top-heavy vehicles, making drivers more likely to lose control or even tip over. Other drivers should be aware of the risks and give semis a wide berth. Precipitation makes roads slippery, affecting braking distances for trucks more than for other vehicles. However, it can also create lane obstructions, requiring truckers to react more quickly than their vehicles allow. Other drivers can reduce the risks by maintaining a greater distance between their vehicles and all four sides of trucks. Fog […]

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Sleep Apnea in Truckers Places Motorists at Risk

Oct 21, 2016 - Truck Accidents by

Many drivers have nodded off for a split second behind the wheel. This experience is as terrifying as having no memory of driving the last 5 or 10 miles. Drowsy drivers take real risks with their own lives and those of others. Place the drowsy driver in control of a massive tractor trailer truck, and the risks increase dramatically. Each Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyer at our firm is pleased that hours of service laws help ensure that truckers take the time for the rest they need. Unfortunately, the right number of hours of sleep does not necessarily create enough rest when medical conditions affect the quality of sleep. One Study Shows Sleep Apnea to Be a Notable Issue for Truckers Simply stated, sleep apnea is a breathing-related disorder that interrupts breathing during sleep. In its extreme forms, this condition can be life-threatening. Since just about any level of severity can interrupt restful sleep, however, it leaves many individuals drowsy even after they believe they had a good night’s sleep. An article published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cites one study that states that 28 percent of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea. The article goes on to list a wide array of factors that places individuals at higher risk for this disorder, including (but not limited to) the following: A family history of sleep apnea Overweight Certain physical attributes, such as a large neck, recessed chin and others Smoking and alcohol use Age over 40 […]

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Electronic Logging Now Required for Most Truckers – Cross and Smith

Jun 30, 2016 - Truck Accidents by

No one wants to share the roads with drowsy drivers. However, each Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyer at our firm has seen the dangers increase almost exponentially when someone nods off behind the wheel of a commercial semi truck weighing in at 80,000 pounds or more. Federal law has required truckers to maintain paper records of their hours of service for nearly three decades, but those requirements have only been marginally effective in helping truck drivers remain alert on the road. Hopefully, new laws that require electronic record-keeping will prove to keep more motorists safe. New Law Moves Forward in Spite of Some Trucker Protests According to one report from CBS News, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) finalized requirements for a system that replaces paper records with electronic hours reporting. They predict that the new requirements will help prevent records tampering, save about 26 lives per year and prevent 562 injuries annually. Some of the key points of the new law are as follows: With some exceptions, the law requires truckers to transition into the use of approved electronic recording devices over a two-year period. Truckers who use previously-approved devices that do not meet the new requirements have four years to replace their current devices. Smart phones and other electronic devices that satisfy technical requirements can be used, provided they are FMCSA-approved. At least one trucker advocacy group has argued that the use of unproven technology does not guarantee increased safety or hours-of-service compliance so much as it increases […]

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Tuscaloosa Truck Wreck Lawyer Warns: Truckers Retain Certain Cell Phone Rights

Jan 22, 2016 - Truck Accidents by

Considering that thousands of drivers across the country operate electronic devices while driving, it is not surprising that many people are injured in distracted driving accidents every day. When large commercial trucks are involved, the chances for serious injuries and fatalities increases exponentially due to the weight of these vehicles. In spite of this risk, however, federal trucking regulations do not impose any additional electronic device restrictions on truck drivers than the ones commonly imposed by the states for drivers of passenger vehicles. Proposed Ban Fails, but Limited Ban Takes Hold Asserting that distracted driving was approaching the risks of DUI driving back in 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) proposed a full ban on the use of even hands-free devices for novice drivers, school bus drivers and commercial truckers. While that ban failed, the NTSB tried repeating the hands-free ban recommendation in 2014 after cell phone use by a truck driver appeared to be the direct cause of a massive truck-versus-train collision in Maryland. Regrettably, federal legislators have not recognized the wisdom of the NTSB recommendations. Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued the following restrictions for interstate truck and bus drivers, as well as for anyone who transports certain hazardous materials: No texting while driving: The restriction clearly defines texting as anything that requires more than a single button-press. Hands-free talking: Commercial motor vehicle drivers cannot hold a phone to talk, and the rule includes anything that amounts to reaching for a phone for positioning […]

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Truck Drivers Tend to Extend the Concept of Distracted Driving

Sep 25, 2015 - Truck Accidents by

Anything from adjusting the radio to grabbing some pretzels is common behavior for many drivers, especially when commute times are long. Of course, any behavior that takes a driver’s attention from the road or hands off the wheel can lead to accidents. However, it is not uncommon for a Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyer to see cases of severe injuries caused by behind-the-wheel activities that only semi drivers are likely to do. Living Life Behind the Wheel Can Lead to Unusual Distractions Most people engage in countless activities every day, but they perform a limited number of tasks while driving. While typical driver distractions probably involve cell phones, food or drink, truck drivers generally have hands-free devices and other equipment in their semis to help keep their hands on the wheel. That said, however, long-haul truck drivers may be in the cabs of their massive vehicles for more hours than they spend anywhere else. They still have to get things done, so they sometimes find creative ways to accomplish those tasks while on the road. In addition to using cell phones and CB radios, the following are some of the more common trucker activities: • Reaching in a pocket or reaching to the floor • Looking at paperwork • Smoking-related activities • Looking in mirror while using a toothpick • Making grooming and clothing adjustments Of course the list does not stop there. In January 2015, Reuter’s reported a massive traffic shutdown near Tuscaloosa after a trucker veered off the road, […]

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Tuscaloosa Truck Wreck Lawyer Explains Why Large Trucks Pose Significant Accident Risks in Work Zones

Aug 14, 2015 - Truck Accidents by

Sudden lane shifts and unexpected road debris pose challenges for any motorist maneuvering through roadway work zones. However, such challenges are immeasurably more difficult when behind the wheel of a big rig. Every motorist on the road affects everyone’s safety. To best maintain control, it is essential to obey all work zone laws — and understand the special considerations faced by truckers in these areas. Why Trucks are More Prone to Work Zone Accidents According to the Federal Highway Administration, almost 30 percent of all crashes in roadway work zones involve large trucks. The number of fatalities from these accidents continues to increase, with over 1,000 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occurring in recent years. Semi-tractor trailer trucks are at greater risk than smaller passenger vehicles for a number of reasons, including the following: • Increased stopping distance: Any driver must stop suddenly for road debris or after a vehicle in front of him or her comes to a quick stop. However, smaller vehicles can stop much more quickly than a big truck. Even at reduced speeds, being rear-ended by a truck can result in severe injuries or even fatalities. • Reduced steering control: A sudden lane change can be challenging for passenger car drivers. Truck drivers pulling one or more trailers cannot always make this type of maneuver safely. As cargo shifts and trailers swing, they can hit nearby vehicles or even jackknife. • Tire blowouts: Anyone who has ever seen blown tire parts on the road can imagine that […]

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Truck Wreck Lawyers Advise Drivers on How to Remain Safe Around Trucks

May 8, 2015 - Truck Accidents by

Truck drivers generally go through extensive training to learn how to handle massive vehicles. Unfortunately, even though the Alabama Driver Manual provides information on sharing the roads with trucks, many drivers do not truly understand why they pose dangers to smaller passenger vehicles. The average car is simply no match against semi-tractor trailer trucks. Considering that truck drivers can usually walk away from accidents that leave passengers of small cars severely injured or worse, every driver should learn some basic procedures that can protect them on Alabama roads. Five Tips That Can Help Reduce the Risk of Truck Accidents Commercial trucks are vital to our lives. They get the products we use every day to market, but many people think it would be nice if all large vehicles used separate roadways. Barring that unlikely scenario, drivers can be much safer by observing the following tips: Recognize the “no zone:” Understand that driving anywhere around trucks or buses is dangerous. Drivers cannot avoid them, but there is no reason to linger near them for any significant length of time. A helpful online brochure, Don’t Hang Out in the NO-ZONE, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, clearly illustrates the areas where other drivers are at risk for accidents. Pass properly: The best chance of being seen by a truck driver is to pass on the left side. Keep in mind that trucks cannot react quickly, so give as much room as possible while passing and avoid cutting directly in front of […]

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Proposed Electronic Log Rules Might Help Tuscaloosa Truck Wreck Lawyers Protect Victim Rights

Nov 14, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

If a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule proposed in March 2014 moves forward, truckers will be required to monitor their hours of service using electronic devices. Many drivers use these devices already, but others still rely on paper logs. Our truck wreck lawyers believe the proposed change will help ensure greater accuracy in trucking records. More accurate evidence would help level the playing field for individuals who sustain serious injuries at the hands of drowsy truck drivers. How the Proposed Law Would Work The proposed law has received overall support from many trucking companies, as well as the American Trucking Association, According to TruckingInfo.com, the law would require truckers to switch from paper logging to electronic logging devices (ELDs). These devices would comply with many standards, such as the following: In-vehicle devices would record basic information about truck use, including date, time, location, engine hours and other information about the driver, vehicle and carrier. Each ELD would be synchronized with the engine to record activity. The devices would also record pertinent information when a truck is moving. Tampering protection would prevent anyone from changing original information while providing the ability to check information integrity. Reliable Tracking May Facilitate Legal Cases for Accident Victims In spite of detailed logging requirements set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service, hand-written records are more error-prone than electronic information. Even more important, these records are easy to falsify. When our Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyers […]

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Fatal Truck Crash Reportedly Caused by Fatigued Driver

Aug 25, 2014 - Birmingham by

A truck driver’s lack of sleep is blamed for a crash that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian in New Jersey. Authorities say the 35-year-old Georgia driver hadn’t slept for 24 hours before the crash, which occurred when he failed to stop for slowed traffic on the highway. Federal law limits driving to 11 hours in a 14-hour period, followed by 10 hours of rest, although the driver’s employer, Wal-Mart, insists he was operating within those guidelines. The truck was equipped with safety systems designed to slow the rig’s speed and notify the driver of stopped traffic ahead, but it’s unclear whether the technology was activated or that the system was operational at the time of the crash. Birmingham truck accident attorneys recognize that while this case is under investigation, truck driver fatigue continues to be a serious ongoing problem throughout the country despite recent legislation. Every year, truck crashes kill more than 5,000 people and injure nearly 150,000. And yet, just days before that deadly crash, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved to weaken safety rules pertaining to truck standards. Last summer, officials passed a number of “restart” regulations requiring truckers to rest for at least 34 straight hours from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., prior to their next work week. The primary goal was to reduce the amount of driver fatigue. The new rules also limited the maximum work week from a maximum of 82 hours down to 70 hours, and drivers were also mandated to […]

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Harris v. FedEx – Truck Crash Injury Case Intersects With Employment Law

Aug 12, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

Our Birmingham truck accident lawyers recognize that many of these cases involve claims brought against the driver’s employer, usually for negligent training, negligent supervision, and violations of various standards set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These theories of liability ensure that trucking agencies will be held accountable when they hire drivers who aren’t qualified, don’t properly supervise them on the road, encourage overloaded vehicles, or push for drivers to work long, uninterrupted shifts to make delivery deadlines. All of these are often cited as contributing factors in tractor-trailer crashes. Since we are dealing with the responsibilities of an employer, employment law sometimes intersects with injury law in these cases. Usually, in order for an employer to be held accountable for a trucker’s negligent actions, it must first be established that an employer-employee relationship existed. In some instances, this is a straightforward matter. However, larger firms routinely contract with various trucking agencies to provide delivery services, and this can complicate matters where the injury case is concerned.   The recent case of Harris, et al. v. FedEx National LTL, Inc. is a prime example. This appeal stemmed from an earlier summary judgment in favor of FedEx, the firm that the plaintiff alleged was responsible for injuries sustained when a driver hauling FedEx goods slammed into them on a highway in Missouri. The 2/?p=1007 crash occurred when the commercial truck driver lost control of his rig on the interstate, resulting in the tractor-trailer blocking both lanes of the highway. Another driver […]

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