Yesterday, I wrote about the perilous Senate Bills 895-898, which would allow trucks and buses to speed up to 70 miles per hour – up 10 mph from the current law.
Speed kills. It’s not just a catchy safety phrase. It’s science. And it’s a hard fact that I see in many of the truck accident cases that I’ve litigated as an attorney who practices in this area of law.
We’ve all been there. Watching in our rear-view mirror as a big 80,000-pound, fully-loaded commercial truck is barreling down the road. We’ve all had that sickening feeling in our stomachs as we watch the tractor trailer loom larger and larger behind us.
Too late in the game, important safety improvements are coming to a Holland, Michigan truck stop, after a local teacher named Joshua Hoppe was killed in an accident with a commercial truck.
The Department of Transportation has recently released recommendations from a long-term study of M-40 near the Tulip City Truck Stop, which includes adding roundabouts and a median, between Waverly and 52nd Street, according to an article on WZZM13.com, “Truck stop to improve safety after teacher died.”
Cell phones and distracted driving are causing horrific car and truck accidents every single day. And every single day, people are dying and being terribly injured because people can’t stop themselves from texting while driving.
I recently wrote about a terrible Arizona crash involving a truck driver who was allegedly surfing photos of scantily clad women Facebook on his cell phone, and barreled into a line of emergency vehicles, killing an innocent police officer (full disclosure: I am very close friends with the attorney who is representing the estate in this case, and have also consulted with him on it).
Picture this: A very tired trucker hauling a fully-loaded propane truck has been driving a 20-hour shift. It’s 2 degrees below zero, the highways are iced over, and the snow is starting to pour down again.
And he’s driving on the same roads as your family.
In Michigan, truckers hauling propane and heating oil can drive as many hours as they please this winter – legally.
I’m happy to announce that a Michigan Auto Law attorney has recovered one of the highest-reported truck accident settlements in Michigan for the 2013 year.
This also marks the 17th consecutive year that an attorney from Michigan Auto Law has recovered a top auto accident or truck accident settlement or trial verdict for a client, according to the Michigan Lawyers Weekly year-end listings of the top-reported verdicts and settlements in the state.
Innocent people are being killed in completely preventable truck accidents every day. And it’s getting worse.
This may sound harsh, but the numbers don’t lie.
According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
Truck drivers are professional drivers. And they’re expected to drive that way. They earn their living on the road. They go to “truck school.” They have to pass a special test and have a special CDL license. They have more training and experience. And they’re driving fully-loaded vehicles that weigh as much as 80,000 pounds.
Yet in many states, and especially in Michigan, lawyers must refer to these professional truck drivers the same as we would any other driver if a case goes to trial. As a result, dangerous truck drivers can cause serious truck accidents over and over again.
President Obama was all over the media Monday, with his stance that marijuana is no “more dangerous than alcohol”, and that it’s “important” to allow recent legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington State to proceed.
The legal issue is an interesting one, especially when it comes to truck drivers who drive cross country: Is a trucker still breaking the law if he uses legalized marijuana in a state that has legalized the drug?
Incentives work. Paying truck drivers by the hour instead of on total miles takes away the perverse incentives for drivers to speed, drive fatigued, drive over hours, and take short cuts on safety inspections and maintenance. In other words, paying by the hour lowers the likelihood that a driver will cause a preventable truck accident.
Consider also: In 2013, the turnover rate for commercial truck drivers increased, according to the American Trucking Associations.