Today I wanted to share this e-mail I received from a truck driver in West Michigan. I will keep his name out of it, but the issue he brings up is alarming and it’s one that many truck drivers who are trying to do the right thing face.
I have become personally involved in a terrible story of distracted driving that caused a truck driver who was on Facebook to barrel into three police cars and a fire truck stopped at an accident scene, killing one of the police officers as a result.
Here’s the television news story on the fatal truck crash in Arizona, from ABC News:
The truck driver was intentionally blocking his dash cam with his wallet in the video. At the time he was supposed to be watching the road, he was actually logged into Facebook. As he was driving his empty, 18-wheel fuel tanker down the highway, records showed he was actually browsing photos of scantily clad women. Instead of the road.
The Senate has recently passed a bill that that would compel the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to create new regulations addressing dangerous sleep disorders common among many truck drivers — including sleep apnea. This is a change that would create a safety regulation rather than just issuing guidance for the commercial transportation industry and drivers, according to a recent story by Bloomberg News.
H.R. 3095 was cleared by unanimous consent after the House passed it by a 405-0 vote Sept. 26, Bloomberg reported. Now the bill that has been sent to President Obama for his signature.
Drivers of commercial trucks are running pedestrians over and killing them, because crossover mirrors that cost a couple hundred dollars are not required in trucks. There’s no reason why, in the congested urban areas and city streets, that crossover mirrors should not be on trucks.
As an attorney who litigates trucking accidents both in Michigan and nationwide, I know that truck drivers are taught, “there is no such thing as a blind spot if the driver is looking ahead to where the truck will be moving.”
This horrifying photo of a recent truck accident in Marshall, Michigan is a shocking example of what happens when truck underride guards are not strong enough to withstand rear-end impacts.
What is an underride guard? You’ve probably noticed while driving behind large commercial trucks, there are metal bars that hang down from the bottom rear of the trailer. These metal bars are called “underride” guards, and the purpose is to prevent cars from slipping underneath the commercial truck in rear-end crashes.
On Friday, I’ll be speaking to other Michigan lawyers during the Michigan Association for Justice 2013 No Fault Institute in Southfield. My topic is, “Maximizing truck wreck cases.”
The mistake that many personal injury lawyers make in Michigan is that they litigate truck accident cases like car accident cases — only with bigger insurance policy limits. This mistaken mindset leaves money on the table. And more importantly, it shortchanges clients.
Aiming to reduce truck driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration instituted new Hours of Service (HOS) rules for truck drivers, starting July 1, 2013. In a case brought to the U.S. Court of Appeals, all but one of the new rules were upheld… bringing a victory for the trucking industry.
The 2013 HOS regulations includes a rule that requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break after working 8 consecutive hours. This break is mandatory. But the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the 30 minute break was not necessary for short haul drivers.
Below is my latest column in Attorney At Law magazine. This one focuses on the many complex layers of the truck accident case:
On September 20, 2013, I’ll be speaking at the Michigan Association for Justice No Fault Institute Seminar. My topic is “Maximizing Truck Accident Cases.” It is a topic that’s important to me.
I’ve had the honor of serving as a past president of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Truck Accident Litigation Group. I’ve lobbied legislators for changes to national truck safety rules, and I’ve spoken in about 25 states on truck accident topics (with visits to California and Louisiana still set for 2013).
I recently wrote about the dire need to raise insurance limits for commercial trucks and all other commercial motor carriers. I didn’t write this to be self-serving. Although yes, I am a lawyer who helps people injured in truck accidents and many of the people I’ve helped and will help will directly benefit from this.
But I also strongly support this legislation because doing so would REDUCE the number of truck accidents throughout the entire country. In fact, raising insurance policy limits for big commercial trucks would be one of the best and most direct measures we can do to increase safety immediately – before people ever need a lawyer.
As a truck accident attorney, I’ve been involved in far too many injury lawsuits caused by fatigued truck drivers. But there’s a new website that might help truck drivers stay safe and alert on the roads.
This website was created by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). The goal is to help with commercial truck driver fatigue management – before it causes injuries or deaths.
Here’s the website: The North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP).
The website is designed to provide online fatigue management training for drivers, their families, truck company managers, dispatchers and shippers/receivers, according to the ATRI.