The Numbers on Trucking Accidents

Sep 09

With its intricate system of highways covering vast swaths of the country, it is no surprise that the number of car accidents that happen each day in The United States is staggering. It is an oft quoted statistic that traveling by car is the most dangerous way to travel, but when the accident involves a semi truck, many more people can be affected. There are a number of reasons why a huge trailer may cause an accident, but many of these could be prevented by proper government or company responses.

According to ABC news in Wisconsin, a few weeks ago an 18-wheeler crashed into an overpass in Milwaukee that was not tall enough for the truck to safely pass under. Even though the overpass was marked with how tall it was, the driver of the trailer noticed too late that he was not going to clear it. The semi-truck driver was from Indiana, but he had made a wrong turn from his planned route and slammed into the overpass, missing his mark by over a foot. The driver of the truck, Curtis Stevenson, says that he did not notice the eight low clearance signs as they were crushed by the truck. The article states, however, that this was not the first time someone had hit that particular overpass. In 2012, there was a crash there involving a semi-truck that just barely wedged itself under the bridge and eventually drove off. Luckily, it seems like this accident did not cause any fatalities or serious injuries to the driver or others on the road.

Thankfully, no one was harmed in this incident, but it is not difficult to imagine that it could have easily caused a few fatalities. It is good that companies have routes pre-planned from the start, to make sure their drivers will be able to clear any obstacles, but local governments can help in this case by making the signage more visible above overpasses so that the truck drivers have time to respond properly. Adding more signs is not going to do much if none of them can be seen from far away. In addition, the driver who made the wrong turn ought to have particularly vigilant about overpasses. It could have been that he was sleepy or distracted, but regardless of what party was at fault, it always a good idea to contact a truck driving accident lawyer in the event of any crash.

Considering how dangerous highway accidents can be, particularly when a huge vehicle is involved, truck drivers should be highly trained professionals. Knowing where to look for clearance signage and being aware of the dimensions of your vehicle should be emphasized in training to prevent future accidents of this sort. State governments could also update the signage already there to ensure truck drivers can see it from a long enough distance away to be able to brake in time. Since this has happened before, it was not a freak accident; something needs to change.

Read More

Wrongful Death

May 13

Five Georgia Southern University students who comprised of Savannah resident Abbie DeLoach, Millen resident Caitlyn Baggett, Leesburg resident Morgan Bass, Alpharetta resident Catherine Mckay Pittman, and Powder Springs resident Emily Clark, died on April 22, 2015 when a tractor trailer rig hit their vehicle as it was sitting in traffic on Interstate 16 in Bryan County.

The families of the victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit in May 2015 against U.S. Express Entities, the parent company of Mississipi-based Total Transportation and its subsidiaries, as well as Pooler-based Graywolf Logistics and the truck driver, who is Shreveport, Louisiana resident John Wayne Johnson.

According to investigations made by the Georgia State Patrol, the tractor trailer rig-car collision caused a seven-vehicle pileup.

The lawsuit stated that the truck that Johnson was driving should have contained a collision avoidance system that is designed to provide the driver with visual and auditory warnings that there are objects that are blocking the truck’s path. It claimed that the truck had been traveling at around 70 miles per hour and did not slow when it hit a Toyota Corolla that was occupied by Clark, Pittman, and Baggett and the Ford Escape that was directly in front of the Corolla that was occupied by Bass, Loganville resident Megan Richards, and Reidsville resident Brittany McDaniels. Richards and McDaniels survived the crash.

The lawsuit also said that people involved in the accident saw the “explosion of the fuel tank [that] engulfed the Toyota”. It also claims that there had been no bad weather, and that there had been no possible hindrances to Johnson’s seeing that there was traffic in front of him, noting “because he was drowsy or some other inexplicable reason, Johnson did not slow or stop…never applied brakes, never made any move to avoid a collision, before slamming into the rear of the Toyota at high speed”.

Read More

Distracted Driving

Aug 06

Driving requires you to focus intently on multiple, constantly changing factors at the same time. You have to pay attention to not only your vehicle’s location, speed, and direction, but also the actions and intentions of vehicles, pedestrians, and bikers around you. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the US. Distractions increase your chance of being involved in an accident, so it is important to be aware of the different forms of distracted driving in order to keep yourself, your passengers, and the drivers around you safe while on the road.

The first type of distracted driving is cognitive distraction. This is where you might be looking at the road and there does not appear to be any distractions involved, but you are not focused mentally on driving. You could be thinking about what you need at the grocery store, something that happened earlier that day, or even just day dreaming about nothing in particular. If your mind is not focused specifically on the road, you’re distracted.

The second type of distracted driving is visual distraction. This is where your eyes are not focused directly on the road but rather something else. This could be something that is outside of the car such as signs or buildings, but it can also be inside of the car such as rambunctious children or a talkative passenger. Without your eyes focused on the road you will not be aware of sudden changes in the conditions, and an accident could be the result.

The last type of distracted driving is physical distraction. This is when your hands are not actually on the wheel or there is some other physical contact made on you that alters your driving. You could be reaching behind you for something in your purse, handing a drink to someone else in the car, or someone could have bumped your arm or pushed the back of your seat. Physical distraction is the reason why you should never eat, put on your makeup, or do any other activity in the car while driving, or else the distractions can result in a serious collision.

Read More

The Car / Truck Accidents: Disasters on the Road

Mar 06

Being caught in a major road accident can result to life-changing injuries, such as a permanent disability, or even death. In the US, millions of individuals are injured in car accidents every year, while a thousand others lose their lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified drunk-driving, over speeding, reckless driving and driver distractions, as the four major causes of car accidents all across the US. Speed, especially, has a great effect on the extent of damage to property, as well as severity of the injury. However, though a driver may follow the speed limit and drive with care, if it is an 18-wheeler that will ram his/her vehicle, then the effects will surely be more devastating.

A 70-foot long truck that weighs, at least, 40 tons can easily crush smaller vehicles along its path. In fact, its size alone already makes its presence a threat to other motorists, as well as pedestrians, on the road. This is why the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which governs the commercial trucking industry, continues to strictly enforce laws that will make the motor carrier transportation system much safer.

Besides the quality standards on truck parts, like brakes and tires, the FMCSA has also designed programs, tests and training for applicants of commercial vehicle license which should be implemented by each state’s commercial licensing agency plus guidelines on the hours of service (HOS), which determine the maximum number of hours a truck driver may be allowed to drive.

One firm, Spiros Law, P.C., clearly explains in an article posted in its website, how a car accident, much more a truck accident, can render innocent victims feeling hopeless as they end up facing long term and costly medical bills, time off from work and the possibility of becoming disabled. It also mentions, however, that with the help of a highly qualified car/truck accident attorney, you may just be able to receive a substantial amount of compensation from the party responsible for the accident, which caused your injury – an amount enough to keep you on the path to recovery and which will help keep your family from sinking into financial burden.

Read More