Articles Posted in Safety Violations

I am again representing a client who was badly injured by a reckless trucker in the same spot where another client was seriously injured recently. Here’s a photo of thePicture1-300x170 18 wheeler dangling off a bridge on I-35 from CBS-11 television after it crashed into five vehicles.

distracted trucker plowed into my client’s car and others in the exact same location a year and a half ago, seriously injuring her and killing her boyfriend.

Several years ago, I represented the family of a young tow-truck driver who was struck and killed by a fatigued trucker just up the road on I-35 who fell asleep at the wheel — or had a heart attack, as his insurance company attorneys claimed in federal court.

These wrecks are never-ending. Last week, a tractor-trailer barreled into six vehicles on I-35 in north Fort Worth and caught fire, injuring nine people and shutting down the highway for six hours. The truck driver was speeding and could not stop in time to avoid the crash. I’m sure that an investigation will show he was also distracted.

My law firm has represented many people who were injured and the families of those who were tragically killed by 18 wheelers.

When the same problem occurs over and over again, it’s time to fix it.

We know the dangers. How do we fix it?

4,067 people died in 2015 in tractor-trailer accidents, a huge increase of almost 10 percent over 2014. These fatality statistics includes pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, motorists and the truckers themselves.

Why are deaths increasing and how can we stop this terrible trend? Continue reading

Watch This Video

Screen Shot 2016-09-13 at 12.25.50 PMIt’s hard to believe that no one died in this horrific tractor-trailer crash. I’m letting you know before you watch this, because otherwise the video of a woman trapped in a burning car might be too disturbing to watch. A wreck like this can happen in the blink of an eye. Hopefully not to you.

You can see the tractor trailer barreling through a construction zone and ramming into a line of cars like pin balls. To the left of the screen, you can see a car erupt into flames. It had been crushed against the center barricade. The driver was not able to get the door open as a fireball shot 10 feet in the air billowing black smoke.

The quick thinking of fellow motorists and a nearby construction crew fortunately saved her life. And somehow the woman suffered only minor cuts and bruises. So much for the age old insurance company argument that only big collisions can cause big injuries and small crashes yield minor injuries, right?

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https://www.texastruckaccidentlawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/232/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-05-at-1.14.47-PM-300x159.pngThe National Transportation Safety Board issued its annual Most Wanted list for 2017. The wish list comprises easily implemented regulations that could prevent tractor-trailer deaths and injuries.

Safety regulations are important for the well being of truckers, but the general public is the real loser of lax regulations. Occupants and pedestrians account for 84 percent of tractor-trailer collision deaths versus 16 percent of trucker deaths. When the trucking industry claims that regulations will increase costs of transporting goods, which will be passed to the consumer, it is obvious that consumers already bear the costs of not implementing effective regulations.

Truck crash fatalities were 22 percent higher in 2015 than they were just six years earlier. Technology has improved by leaps and bounds in that time. We also have definitive studies that identify the causes of tractor-trailer crashes and yet the death rate continues to increase. Why is this happening? The ineffectiveness of trucking rules is a big reason.

Here are the NTSB’s suggestions for new procedures and devices that would make our roads safer. Continue reading

BLOGTractor-trailer carriers are rated by the federal government and their safety records are important evidence for personal injury lawyers when their big rigs crash into other vehicles and cause personal injuries and sometimes deaths.

However a new FMCSA rule changes what evidence will be available to prosecute tractor-trailer companies. Giant companies like J.B. Hunt and Federal Express can now ask the FMCSA to remove crashes from their histories to improve their safety reputation at trial. Continue reading

TT MaysTrucker Gets 20 Years for Hitting School Bus While Naked Wife in Cab

I am constantly surprised by what some truck drivers do while operating a 40-ton tractor-trailer. As a personal injury lawyer, I have handled many truck crash cases in which the trucker was texting, surfing the net, chatting on the phone, eating lunch, reaching down for a soft drink, and/or not watching the road in front of him.

Yesterday I wrote about a Fort Worth collision I’m filing suit over where the 18 wheeler driver was distracted and slammed into my client’s stopped SUV at 68 MPH.

But a Florida truck driver took distraction to a whole new level.

The 37 year-old truck driver plowed his log-hauling rig into an elementary school bus that had slowed to drop off kids. The driver was so distracted he failed to notice the bright flashing lights and the “stop” arm jutting from the side of the bus. No wonder!

After listening to the heartbreaking testimony of the seven severely injured school children on Wednesday, the judge showed the distracted truck driver no mercy. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 2014 crash. Continue reading

An employer can’t claim it didn’t know about driver’s past safety violationsdreamstime_xs_54664492

Employers cannot blindly hire truckers without reviewing their work history and safety record.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has detailed regulations to help prevent unqualified drivers from being hired.  This minimizes the possibility that a driver jumps from job to job to hide his history of crashes, safety violations, drug and alcohol use,  medical issues, or other problems that create dangerous driving conditions.

As an injury lawyer, I see companies failing to follow FMCSA regulations.

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dreamstime_xs_56386452Self-Reporting Must Be Ended

An 18-wheeler driver was killed when he plowed into a strip mall and his cataract surgery was cited as a possible cause of the accident.

A tractor-trailer driver ran out of his blood pressure and diabetes medication blacked out, and rammed into a tour bus, killing two passengers.

Greyhound bus wreck that injured this woman and 34 other passengers after the driver blacked out and rolled the bus over an embankment. Investigators discovered the driver had sleep apnea, a condition he didn’t disclose on his application.

A bus collided with a pickup truck, killing the driver. The bus driver also didn’t report his sleep apnea and had also stopped using a machine that would have kept the condition under control.

There are thousands of other crashes like this every year involving commercial vehicles like 18 wheelers.

These nightmarish stories highlight the ineffectiveness of the current commercial driver self-reporting system. The inadequate process fails to identify drivers who have dangerous medical conditions. Often, the driver’s condition is only discovered once he has caused a crash.

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Tractor-tailer in accident with carNew Federal Rules Keep Tired Truck Drivers Off the Road 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations limit drivers’ time driving, mandate rest periods and require drivers to maintain accurate logbooks. These rules are intended to keep exhausted drivers off the roads and are critical in personal injury lawsuits.

However the FMCSA investigators and injury lawyers have long been duped by dishonest drivers who kept two logbooks or manipulated the entries. When agents examined the drivers’ logbooks, all seemed to be in order, when in reality tired drivers had  extended their work hours and skipped breaks.

Truck and car mirror

After causing multiple collisions or racking up numerous violations, a trucking company attracts the attention of regulatory agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Eventually the company might be forced to stop doing business if the agency determines the company is too unsafe to remain in business. 

However some of these companies have taken the dishonest approach of changing their names and applying for new Department of Transportation (DOT) numbers. These trucking companies are referred to as chameleon carriers because their name change allows them to blend in with the other carriers. 

What’s in a Name?

But a new name does not mean a new way it conducts its business. In the typical scenario, the trucking company has a clean slate that helps it stay under the radar, allowing it to continue its unsafe practices. Up to its old tricks, the chameleon carrier may not get caught until it is slapped with numerous new violations or its driver injures or even kills other motorists. 

Out-Foxing the Feds

The strategy is simple. Once regulatory agencies have taken notice, the company seemingly disappears. The no-longer-existing company, thus, avoids fines and liability. The new company avoids scrutiny. 

How have government agencies permitted this to happen? The DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should go after companies that have multiple violations, not allow them to scurry off into the night with no consequences. In doing so, these agencies are more likely to catch chameleon carriers before they have the chance to injure others. Perhaps use the fine money collected from these noncompliant trucking companies to fund further enforcement. 

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Truck on Highway

Provisions Improve Road, Auto and Truck Safety, But There Are Major Problems With New Law

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act just passed the U.S. House and Senate and now goes to the president for his signature. The law adds $305 billion of funding into roads, bridges, rail, trucking and other badly needed transit projects and safety measures over the next five years. But the Obama administration had hoped for at least $400 million.

The new law includes measures that will increase auto and roadway safety and hold automakers accountable when they violate the law. This is long overdue considering the horrific conduct of GM, Takata and Trinity Industries, among many other corporations that have willingly injured motorists with their defective vehicles, seat belts and guard rails, then covered up evidence of their malfeasance. 

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