Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

Motorists in 2022 are facing a perfect storm of factors that make collisions with semis and large commercial trucks more likely than ever before. This is a particularly critical safety issue because of the extreme risks faced by occupants of passenger vehicles, many of whom are seriously injured or killed when a collision occurs with a tractor-trailer or other large commercial truck. Bicyclists and pedestrians are even more imperiled, as their size disadvantage and lack of a safety cage leave them especially vulnerable during impact.trucking

Despite the well-known risks, trucking collisions are occurring at record levels. Several elements are to blame:

  • The supply-chain constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic have put record numbers of overworked truckers on the road.
  • A nationwide shortage of 100,000 truckers continues to grow as industry consolidation reduces pay and degrades working conditions.
  • Emergency orders meant to ease supply chains have permitted younger, less experienced truckers to cross state lines.
  • Large trucking companies are attempting to address the shortage by offering their own training programs and forcing new truckers to work off the debt.
  • Regulators in the United States have failed to keep pace with some life-saving safety mandates already enforced throughout much of the developed world, including the use of improved underride guards, side underride guards, speed limiters, date recorders, and electronic log books.
  • The internet economy continues to push an increasing number of large delivery vehicles into local neighborhoods, where streets are not designed for such traffic and bicyclists and pedestrians face additional risks.

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COVID restrictions and new Hours-of-Service regulations are placing increasing demands on the nation’s transportation industry even as safety advocates continue to push measures to reduce the risk of commercial trucking accidents.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated Hours-of-Service regulations in response to industry demand for more flexibility amid the spiking demand for products as the nation deals with the COVID pandemic. truck accident lawyer

“America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Several serious traffic collisions involving dump trucks in Southwest Florida have authorities urging motorists and commercial carriers to use extra caution.

The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate a fatal crash involving a dump truck and a Honda in Lehigh Acres, according to The News-Press. In a separate incident, NBC2 reports a dump truck and a UPS truck collided at the intersection of Corkscrew and Alico roads in Estero. cementtruck-300x187

Fort Myers injury lawyers know the risks continue to increase when it comes to being involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle. Southwest Florida’s booming economy means dozens of road construction and community housing projects are underway. And the Internet economy continues to put an increasing number of delivery vehicles on the roads, including traffic from a new Amazon fulfillment center that recently opened in Fort Myers.

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trucking accidentSafety advocates are asking what can be done to make the roads safer in the wake of a deadly tractor-trailer collision this month that claimed the lives of 5 boys traveling to Disney World in a church van.

The Ocala Star Banner noted South Florida’s burgeoning growth has put tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicle traffic at increasing odds with other motorists on the road, making trucking accidents in Southwest Florida a growing threat. In this most recent incident, a tractor-trailer burst into flames after colliding with another vehicle, before running through the median and into oncoming traffic, where it struck the church van and another tractor trailer. Seven motorists were killed and eight others were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

While we recently wrote about highway traffic safety on our Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, the fact remains that motorists are largely at the mercy of large tractor-trailers when driving on the interstate or on many of Southwest Florida’s main thoroughfares. Economic growth and the birth of the delivery economy continues to put an increasing number of commercial trucks on our highway and byways, and even on suburban neighborhood streets, where pedestrians and cyclists face increased risks.

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An Illinois city recently agreed to a $4.75 million settlement to a woman in a sport utility vehicle who was struck by an on-duty city worker driving a garbage truck. It was reported the garbage truck driver was traveling eastbound, crossed over the double yellow lines on the road and side-swiped victim’s vehicle, which was traveling westbound. She spun and was struck by another vehicle.garbagetruck

The 33-year-old victim explained to The Chicago Tribune that her left leg was broken and she remains unable to move her left hand. Her attorneys explained in her personal injury lawsuit that she had suffered serious and permanent injuries that will not only cost her dearly for medical expenses, but also have rendered her unable to carry out certain functions of daily living, such as returning to her job as a home care worker and cashier.

Accidents involving garbage trucks are sometimes described in media reports as being “freak” occurrences. The reality is, they are more common than one might think. One study reported by the New York Daily News revealed that over a three-year stretch, garbage trucks killed an average of 24 pedestrians per 100 million miles driven. Compare that to taxis, which were involved in 6 fatal accidents per 100 million miles driven. Researchers cited potential design flaws in trucks that may make it difficult for garbage truck drivers to see.  Continue reading ›

Expert witness testimony is sometimes critical to trucking accident lawsuits, which can be some of the most complex types of injury cases. These large vehicles cause some of the most horrific crashes on our roads, resulting in serious injury and death – and making the stakes in these lawsuits very high. truck accident lawyer

As noted in F.S. 90.702 of Florida’s Evidence Code, testimony by experts is allowed, but not without restriction. It can be entered where scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or in determining a fact in issue. A witness may be considered a qualified expert by their knowledge, training, education, skill and/ or experience. They can use this background to form on opinion or outline conclusions – but only if the testimony is:

  • Based on sufficient data/ facts;
  • The product of reliable principles and methods AND;
  • Has been formulated with the applied principles and methods of the witnesses’s expertise reliably to the facts of the case.

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Expect tighter rules regarding sleep apnea testing among truck drivers, intended to reduce the number of drowsy driving trucking accidents in Florida and across the country. truck accident

These rules were challenged by a trucker who alleged mandated testing of drivers at-risk for sleep apnea violated his civil rights. Both the trial court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit disagreed, and more recently, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for review, meaning the appellate court ruling stands. What that means is trucking companies will feel free to test drivers and prospective drivers who may be at risk for the condition, potentially even at the driver’s own expense.

This is good news for those of us who share the road with big rigs for a number of reasons. The first is that people who have sleep apnea are prone to sudden bouts of extreme fatigue during the day. For truck drivers, this is more than just an annoyance; it could prove a potentially fatal occurrence. Beyond that, it may give injury lawyers grounds to assert a trucking carrier was negligent in hiring or retaining drivers who either tested positive for the condition and didn’t receive treatment or who were at risk but were never tested.  Continue reading ›

The Kentucky Supreme Court recently considered whether a state government has a responsibility to enforce vehicle weight restrictions on portions of its highway. The question arose in a case that resulted in the death of a school bus driver whose bus collided with a tractor-trailer on a narrow non-designated portion of the highway.trucking

The most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals the number large truck and buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent between 2014 and 2015. The 4,311 large vehicles involved in collisions in that latter year represents a 20 percent increase since 2009. During that same time frame (2009 to 2015), the number of injury crashes involving large trucks and buses spiked by 62 percent.

Of the approximately 415,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2015, there were nearly 3,600 (or 1 percent) that proved fatal and another 83,000 (or 20 percent) that resulted in injury. About 60 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks happened on rural roads (like the one that is the center of the Kentucky case) and 25 percent occurred on interstate highways.  Continue reading ›

Large truck accidents in Florida are on the rise, mirroring a national trend. The impact is out-sized here, though, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the Sunshine State has one of the highest number of truck crashes in the country.trucking

The latest report from the federal agency covers 2015 data. What researchers found was that 4,067 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks that year, marking a 4 percent increase from 2014. Additionally, there were 116,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks, which was also an uptick of 4 percent.

The vast majority of those killed in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles. That didn’t include the number of pedestrians and bicyclists struck.  Continue reading ›

The commercial trucking industry in America is facing a severe shortage of drivers. By one figure, we need approximately 48,000 drivers just to move 70 percent of U.S. goods in a timely manner. But it’s not a gig many younger people are fighting over. The hours are grueling. The work is tiring. And time away from family is tough. WINK News and CBS report this has led to companies providing incentives for drivers to stay on-the-job longer than they might otherwise. It also means they are aggressively recruiting retirees. old

CBS looked into the issue, and how the presence of much older drivers in very large trucks poses a risk to all of us on the highways.

The trend first emerged during the economic decline that first hit about 10 years ago. That meant a lot of people were working well past retirement age. However, the rules of the road have become more stringent, with greater safety in mind. But there are still no additional requirements for older drivers, as there is for those with standard licenses. Yet we are seeing a growing number of trucking accidents across the country that involve elderly truckers.  Continue reading ›

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