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Articles Posted in Fuel Trucks

TxDOT Issues Emergency Rule to Address Increased Accident Rates

Along with the booming natural gas industry, Texas traffic accident rates have exploded. Texas traffic fatalities have risen even as other state’s rates have consistently continued to decline. Fortunately, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has decided to take action. Plans are underway to lower the speed limit in drilling areas, a move that could substantially reverse this undesirable trend.

51 Percent Increase in Commercial Vehicle Wreck Fatalities

Traffic deaths have risen in Texas by eight percent from 3,122 in 2009 to 3,378 in 2013, while traffic deaths declined in most other states. During the same period, deaths caused by commercial vehicle crashes rose by 51 percent from 352 to 532 in Texas. The major drilling regions of West and South Texas experienced a more than 240 percent spike in fatal commercial vehicle crashes in the same five-year period. The incredible spike in traffic deaths coincides with the heavy flow of thousands of tractor-trailers and drilling equipment travelling constantly to and from well sites and hauling gas, water and toxic drilling materials.

This urgent problem calls for an immediate solution. Therefore, the TxDOT is adopting an emergency rule that allows the agency to lower the speed limit by up to 12 mph within four weeks, as opposed to the several months typically required to change the speed limit through the regular review process.

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Being a Fort Worth trucking injury lawyer, I am always looking for data that supports my clients’ cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report recently that listed the number of work-related deaths from 2003 to 2010.

It is well known that more workers are killed on our nation’s highways than anywhere else.

This report further showed that:

More people 65 years and older were killed than anyone else — at a rate of about three times more than those 18-54.
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I just took a key deposition in an 18 wheeler crash case in which my team rushed out to obtain damning evidence against the trucking company and I wanted to stress just how important it is for an innocent victim to hire the best attorney.

How do you know who to hire? Here are a few tips.

STEP 1: Meet with several lawyers. See if you like them. Ask them these questions:
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Truck driver fatigue is a factor in a shocking number of truck accidents. The risk of an 18 wheeler driver crashing dramatically increases as he drives longer hours. The driver is more likely to nod off and rear end another vehicle or drift into the next lane or across the centerline. But his company wants to increase its profits, and he wants to up his take home pay, so he keeps on trucking.

In an attempt to improve highway safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that new federal regulations that will further crack down on driver fatigue.
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Here’s a tragic story highlighting how dangerous drivers can be around 18 wheelers and fuel trucks, and how it’s not always the trucker’s fault.

Three and two girls were killed in a fiery crash Sunday at a rural intersection outside of Dumas in the Panhandle. The young male driver of a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze ran the stop sign at the intersection with a Farm-to-Market Road, causing his vehicle to be “t-boned” by an oncoming 2012 Volvo tractor-trailer.

The driver of the tractor-trailer suffered severe third degree burns to his entire body and is in critical care in a Lubbock hospital.

LBJ Freeway at Josey Lane in
Dallas was shut down for hours yesterday morning when a tractor-trailer crashed into another car and caused a huge chain reaction. Several people were rushed to area hospitals.

The wreck was typical of Texas 18-wheeler wrecks: it happened during rush hour so more vehicles were affected and was caused by a careless commercial driver.
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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has just indicated that it may change federal guidelines regulating required stopping distances for all vehicles, including buses, automobiles, semi-trucks and tractor trailers, as well as improving heavy duty brake systems for tractor-trailers.

It can require as many as 335 feet to stop an 18 wheeler traveling at 60 miles per hour, depending on the weight of the load, road conditions, brakes, driver reaction, etc. That is more than the length of a football field.

I have handled many trucking accidents involving serious injuries and deaths which presumably would not have happened, or the injuries would not have been as severe, if these two restrictions had already been in place.

The U.S. Transportation Department has just revised the hours-of-service requirements to cut down on fatigued 18 wheeler truck drivers.

The new rule reduces by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week. Under the old rule, truck drivers could work on average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period.

In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. .

Here is an excellent column in today’s Dallas Morning News that I wanted to share. Congratulations to my friend, Dallas lawyer Todd Clement, for his hard work fighting to stop truckers from driving while using cell phones and texting.

I just settled a large case where an 18 wheeler crashed into my client’s vehicle which was at a complete stop on an interstate, because the trucker was on his cell phone and not paying attention to the road conditions ahead of him. This is a picture of her SUV.

by Steve Blow

A fuel tanker crashed and burned on Interstate 30 early Friday morning, closing both sides of the freeway west of downtown Dallas. Traffic backed up for miles during the morning rush hour. Westbound lanes finally reopened between Hampton Road and Sylvan Avenue and by 9:30 all but one eastbound lane had reopened.

The crash happened when an eastbound white sedan changing lanes struck a second semi, causing it to veer into the tanker. The tanker then crashed into the concrete wall dividing the main lanes from the HOV lane.

Three people were taken to Methodist Dallas Medical Center: the 35-year-old man driving the truck and two women in the car. None of their injuries were thought to be life-threatening.

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