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Category: Truck Accidents

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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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/car-accidents/alabama-traffic-accidents-likely-to-increase-with-economic-recovery/ 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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Alcohol & Drug Use Common Cause of Alabama Trucking Accidents

Jul 20, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

The U.S. Department of Transportation took nearly 300 commercial truck drivers off the road in June for violating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s drug and alcohol policies. The two-week enforcement blitz targeted motor carriers in violation of federal drug and alcohol testing requirements. In all, 128 companies face enforcement action. The feds were also looking to identify commercial bus and truck drivers who jump from carrier to carrier in order to avoid drug testing and reporting requirements. “All drivers and their passengers deserve to be confident that bus and truck drivers are safe and sober,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. A total of 287 drivers face fines and may be barred from operating a commercial motor vehicle. A 2/car-accidents/alabama-traffic-accidents-likely-to-increase-with-economic-recovery/ study by FMCSA found drug use was the most common cause of trucking accidents — Prescription or illegal drug use was involved in 26 percent of trucking crashes.

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Fatal Truck Crash Reportedly Caused by Fatigued Driver

Jun 10, 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.

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Asklar v. Gilb – Jurisdictional Issues in Truck Accident Lawsuits May Impact Insurance Payouts

Jun 3, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

Every day, hundreds of thousands of large trucks traverse state lines to deliver cargo. When one of these vehicle is involved in a crash, it can raise a host of jurisdictional questions. The trucker could be from one state and the trucking company from another, while the accident occurred in a third state. There are even cases that are further complicated when an injured party is from yet another state. Tuscaloosa truck accident attorneys recognize that sorting through these jurisdictional issues is important not only for the purposes of deciding which court should hear them, as we recently discussed in the Alabama Supreme Court decision in Cruz v. J&W Enterprises, LLC. The question of jurisdiction can also have a great bearing on insurance issues. Basically, each state has differing requirements on what kinds of insurance must be carried and paid out and by whom.

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Bill to Ban Children in Alabama Truck Beds Stalls

Apr 29, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

Recently in Auburn, one university student was seriously injured and another charged with DUI following a crash that occurred when several youth were riding in the bed of a pickup truck near South College Street. The 22-year-old student is expected to survive, but accident lawyers in Tuscaloosa recognize it as only the latest in a long string of Alabama injuries resulting from passengers riding in truck beds. It’s exactly this kind of incident that a recent Alabama state bill was poised to address. Alabama is one of only a handful of states that still allow people to legally ride in truck cargo beds. State lawmakers have been trying since 1998 to pass a provision that would prohibit this activity, but have so far been unsuccessful. Now, it seems the wait may be even longer, meaning we can expect to see even more injuries and deaths resulting from people riding in truck beds.

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Deadly Truck Crash Has Feds Examining Bus Safety Regulations

Apr 22, 2014 - Truck Accidents by

A fiery, fatal crash involving a Fed-Ex truck and a tour bus carrying high school students has prompted at least one lawsuit so far and the launch of a federal investigation into safety regulations. Authorities are interested in learning whether more stringent laws regarding seat belts, fire suppression systems and better windows might have prevented the crash that left 10 dead in Northern California. Our Tuscaloosa injury lawyers know that the National Transportation Safety Board has long advocated such measures, but other federal agencies have been slow to heed that call. NTSB officials say that if there is anything to be gained from this tragedy, it could be a renewed sense of urgency in adopting safety measures to save lives.

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