Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

Hours-of-service rules for truck drivers in the U.S. went virtually unchanged for more than 60 years, until they were revised in 2013. But two of those provisions were short-lived, thanks to lobbying by the trucking industry and the business community. An amendment tacked on to the FY 2015 omnibus appropriations bill, signed into law on December 16, suspends at least until October 1 changes made in 2013 that limit use of the “34-hour restart” to once in a seven-day period and require that it include two off-duty periods between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The restart rules have now been rolled back to the pre-2013 status.

FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said in 2013, “With robust input from all areas of the trucking community, coupled with the latest scientific research, we carefully crafted a rule acknowledging that when truckers are rested, alert and focused on safety, it makes our roadways safer.”

Entire Article

Shopping for a used car or truck? You probably assume that the dealer will have fixed any recalled parts and that it’s safe to drive off the lot. If that’s what you think, you’re probably wrong.

Already in 2014, 39.85 million vehicles have been recalled. How many of those do you think are sitting on used-car lots? And the dealer is not required to fix a recall defect on a used car before selling it. In fact, they don’t even have to tell you about the outstanding recall. Federal law prohibits auto dealers from selling new cars that are under a safety recall, but there is no similar law to protect used car buyers.

This is why nearly a dozen consumer safety groups have filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission urging the FTC to investigate and take enforcement action against CarMax, the used-car superstore chain. The groups allege that CarMax uses deceptive advertising and sales practices when it characterizes its used vehicles as “CarMax Quality Certified” and assures consumers that each used vehicle has passed a rigorous inspection. Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), said, “CarMax is playing recalled used car roulette with its customers’ lives.”

Women & Disability in SC

“Man may work from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done.” You’ve probably heard this before . . . maybe from the mouth of your mother or wife. For personal injury lawyers, this is more than an adage. It becomes a real factor in quantifying the value of women’s unpaid work when computing damages for loss of income due to disability in South Carolina or wrongful death.

In a civil action alleging injury due to someone’s negligence – a car accident caused by a drunk driver, for example – a plaintiff may seek compensation for loss of income and loss of future income caused by a reduced ability to work. In a wrongful death action, survivors may seek damages for the financial support lost by the victim’s death. The intent of the law is to allow survivors to attain the same standard of living that they would have enjoyed if the accident or death had not occurred.

Entire Article

Researchers in Europe say that commercial drivers, such as those who drive buses and trucks, may deny or underreport serious sleep trouble in order to protect their jobs. At a recent meeting of the European Lung Foundation, researchers presented the results of a study focused on daytime sleepiness levels in commercial drivers versus the general public. According to a MedlinePlus review, the study focused on people with a condition known as sleep apnea, often targeted as a serious risk factor for auto accidents.

Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes sufferers to have trouble breathing when asleep. People with the illness can be left with depression, headaches and high levels of sleepiness. As the MedlinePlus article points out, bus and truck drivers who have sleep apnea can have their licenses or jobs revoked if their employers think the medical condition will affect their ability to stay alert behind the wheel. Fear of losing their jobs may cause professional drivers who suffer from the illness to underestimate or hold back about how sleepy they really are — which may lead to serious, even fatal, auto accidents.

The researchers in Switzerland looked at two groups of sleep apnea sufferers — a group of 34 commercial drivers and a group of 74 people who don’t drive for a living. The study looked at actual levels of sleep disturbance versus the level of sleepiness that each person reported feeling. At the beginning, each group had the same level of problems sleeping. The commercial drivers, however, only reported an average sleepiness level of around 8, compared to the other group, which reported an average sleepiness of 11. (Higher scores mean higher feelings of sleepiness.)

In a recent opinion item in the Charleston Post and Courier, North Charleston city councilman Ron Brinson urged South Carolina authorities to support much-needed upgrades to Interstate 26, the main route connecting the Charleston area to the rest of the state and nation.

Brinson rightly points out that I-26 is already over capacity and in generally poor condition, and that situation will only get worse as the Port of Charleston grows and more trucks take to the highway. “Congestion and outdated designs engender unsafe conditions. Accident rates are generally high, and there’s a well-documented disproportionate fatality rate, especially in the Orangeburg to Summerville segment,” he writes.

Motorists who frequently travel I-26 between Charleston and Columbia are aware of the road’s inadequacies, and Brinson suggests that conditions will deteriorate as traffic increases — unless the state gets serious about upgrading its infrastructure. With the potential for a doubling of truck traffic related to the port within 10-12 years, sufficient modernization of I-26 would cost at least $1 billion and take about a decade, according to Brinson.

South Carolina may soon create a truck-only lane along the far left side on a seven-mile stretch on I-26 in Charleston, South Carolina. Legislators cite the growing port in Charleston as the cause of increased tractor-trailer presence and accidents between Cosgrove Avenue to Ashley Phosphate Road on I-26.

“If we can save a life, it is our responsibility to act. The only way to be proactive is to go ahead and try something that would be feasible for that area,” Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston), the sponsor of the bill, said. “It’s a safety issue. You don’t want trucks in the middle lane or the far right. In that scenario, you end up having lanes blocked near exits. With trucks to the far left, cars can proceed around them..

The value of truck-only lanes has long been debated by urban planners and traffic safety officials. In theory, truck-only lanes ensure that trucks do not intermingle with passenger vehicles and, thus, present less likelihood of collision. These lanes, however, effectively reduce road and highway size and thereby represent an added cost to the state. Some states have proposed special truck-only tolls, but such moves are strongly resisted by the trucking industry especially in a time when truck-related fatalities are decreasing. The cause of the decrease in accidents–whether because of the recession or increased safety– is still being debated.

After only twenty minutes into a car accident trial last week, a recess was called and the two parties came to agreement on a $10 million settlement to be paid by the Port Authority Transit Corp. (PATCO). The transit authority had admitted before trial that its truck driver was liable for the collision.

The 55-year-old Berlin, NJ man was driving to work in July 2007 when he was struck by a PATCO truck in Philadelphia, PA. The man had just crossed a bridge into Philadelphia when the PATCO driver ran a red light and shoved the man’s vehicle into a median strip. The accident resulted in shattered bones and a broken ankle to the driver.

The man has since undergone 12 surgeries and a painful debriding procedure to try to rid the leg of a serious infection which had begun to cause his flesh to rot. Unable to do anything else to save his leg, the doctors were forced to amputate.

A Chilton County, Alabama jury has awarded $3.5 million to the family of a man killed when the van he was driving was crushed between two logging trucks, reports the Montgomery Advertiser.

Ken Gorum Trucking and Gary Fruge, the driver of the logging truck, were held responsible for the accident and have been ordered to pay the award. The jury found Fruge was speeding, and the truck had defective brakes, when it crashed into the victim’s van.

The victim’s car was pushed into the logs on the truck in front of him, causing the logs to come through his windshield – one went through his head and killed him. Although the driver claims he was going only 45 miles per hour, evidence suggests he was traveling between 65 and 75 mph.