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Truck accident lawyers finally getting help

August 12, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Obama Administration cracking down on out-of-service trucks is a start to improving truck safety and preventing truck crashes in Michigan and throughout the country

When I was president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group during the George W. Bush presidency, it was often difficult fighting for greater truck safety. Even with one in four trucks driving on our roads in a dangerous, out-of-service condition, I felt the federal government cared more about the political pressure coming from the trucking industry than about preventing truck accidents and saving lives.

Pushing for truck safety during those years was certainly a lonely effort for truck safety advocates. And even though I won an award from Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a “Leader in the Law” for my efforts to improve the safety of trucks and tractor trailers, it felt like but for the truck accident lawyers who were litigating cases against unsafe trucking companies, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation was essentially sitting it out.

Well, statistically, the perception I had during those years that seems to be backed up now by the evidence.

I’ve written recently about how the Obama Administration has been cracking down on unsafe trucking companies and increasing bus inspections.

As I discussed in my previous blog, between 2000 and 2009, the FMCSA issued a total of 14 imminent hazard orders placing unsafe trucking companies out of service (and taking them off the roads). In the last two years, the FMCSA has already issued another 14 imminent hazard orders to take carriers that pose an immediate risk to passengers off the road.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “out of service,” it means that there are safety violations that are so dangerous, that a truck would need to be towed away for immediate repair if it were stopped by a police officer.

Additionally, in the past four months, FMCSA has issued eight out-of-service orders. One of those was in Michigan, where the problem of dangerous trucking companies is among the worst in the nation. This is due to our state having no punitive damages, which gives dangerous truck companies less financial incentive to implement safety or not hire bad drivers who hurt and kill people in truck crashes; because the “big stick” deterrent of punitive damages is absent.

I want to thank the small group of national truck accident lawyers out there who have fought this battle to save lives. Many personal injury lawyers say they handle truck accidents. Some are good. But most are not and know very little about the hundreds of possible FMCSR safety regulations that can make a truck dangerously out of service, or MSC-90s, or finding hidden layers of insurance that can add millions in a catastrophic truck accident case.

I can count on one hand the small group of truck lawyers who have been fighting to keep unsafe trucking companies off the road… Hopefully the Obama Administration continues to help us in our fight to prevent truck accidents at the hands of truck companies who put their bottom line in front of peoples’ lives.

Steven Gursten is a partner of Michigan Auto Law and one of the top truck accident lawyers in the nation. He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group, and has received the top-reported jury verdict in Michigan for truck accidents, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Steve was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his work to promote national truck safety.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Asbestos Bill

Related information to protect yourself:

FMCSA rules fireworks more important than preventing truck accidents

How to file a truck accident lawsuit

Michigan truck accident FAQs

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our truck accident lawyers.

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