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Four players on the North Central Texas College softball team were tragically killed Friday night when a distracted tractor-trailer driver rammed into their van on Interstate 35. The team was returning to the Gainesville campus after a scrimmage game in southern Oklahoma earlier in the day when the fatal accident occurred. All other occupants of the van were injured, including 12 other softball players and the coach, who was also the driver. Two of the young women remain hospitalized. The 18-wheeler driver, of course, only suffered minor injuries.

After midnight In Fort Worth, a man was tragically killed on Interstate 35 as he was driving his Toyota sedan. At 12:30 o'clock a.m., a tractor trailer coming down the ramp at Meacham Boulevard ran over his automobile. It is not clear at this time which driver was at fault. Police closed the freeway for four hours to investigate. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the driver. This reminds me of a tragic case I was just hired on when two weeks ago on the same highway, a man in a Honda was killed and my client was seriously injured when a concrete truck rear ended their vehicles. Collisions between 18 wheelers and other vehicles are rampant. Driving back from Austin on Friday after a trial lawyers conference, I got stuck in a massive traffic jam on I-35 involving a tractor trailer who was changing lanes. And driving to Dallas on Sunday, my wife and I got stuck in another back up where an 18 wheeler and an pick up truck had collided. I'm sure you've seen one of these recently on our Dallas Fort Worth highways. Why are there so many wrecks with these large commercial vehicles? Actor and comedianTracy Morgan was left in critical condition after a major car crash in New Jersey on Saturday night. He was riding in his limo van when it was rear-ended by a Wal-Mart 18-wheeler. The van overturned in what became a six car pileup on the New Jersey Turnpike in Robbinsville, NJ. Two other tractor-trailers and a SUV also crashed. Morgan suffered several injuries, including broken ribs, a broken nose, a broken leg and a broken femur. He underwent surgery on Sunday to repair his broken leg. According to his publicist, he is still in critical condition, but he is thankfully showing signs of improvement. Comedian James "Jimmy Mac" McNair, was tragically killed in the crash. James was a comedy writer and close friend of Tracy's. Tracy's assistant Jeff Millea is also critical condition and passengers Ardie Fuqua and Harris Stanton were also seriously injured in the crash. Ironically, this horrific crash comes just a week after the Senate Appropriations Committee postponed truck driver safety rules. And today the House of Representatives passed an amendment that will keep commercial truck insurance limits at their ridiculously low limits rather than be raised to compensate the victims of horrific crashes just like this one. Is noone in Washington paying attention to what is happening on our nation's highways?

Here' s some good news: one of the two Houston courts of appeal (pictured here) reversed a motion for summary judgment. This allows a plaintiff to prosecute his case for damages against a negligent 18 wheeker driver and his trucking company. The man, also a truck driver, was seriously injured by a truck at a rest stop when the semi truck ran into him. In the case Ramirez v. Colonial Freight Warehouse, Inc., a truck driver stopped at a truck stop to buy food. As he was walking back to his big rig, he crossed in front of a parked 18 wheeler. Its driver apparently saw him but drove forward. The tractor truck hit the man. He hit the pavement and injured his neck and shoulder. Both were later surgically repaired. The plaintiff filed suit against the truck driver and his company.

There is terrible news out of California today. A FedEx truck collided into a bus full of students, leaving at least 10 dead and many more seriously injured. The crash occurred in Orland, about 100 miles north of Sacramento. My heart goes out to the families of the students and those injured. A group of low-income and first-generation prospective college students were the victims of a fiery freeway crash. Five of those killed were students. Three buses, two from Los Angeles and one from Fresno, were driving Thursday evening to Humboldt State University in Arcata when a FedEx truck crossed a median and slammed head-on into one of the buses.

A Snyder, Texas man was killed Tuesday and three others including a Fort Worth resident were critically injured while they were trying to help a stranded motorist outside of Post, Texas, a small town about 40 miles southeast of Lubbock. The men were standing on an icy highway when they were struck by a tractor-trailer, police said. Donald Medley, 46, of Snyder was pronounced dead at the scene. Cecilio Gonzales, 44, of Fort Worth and Kevin Trauger, 34, of Lubbock, were in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock. The crash was reported about 8:15 a.m. on U.S. 84 north of Post. Initially, the Garza County Sheriff's Office had been notified that an 18-wheeler had jackknifed on the icy highway. While they were investigating the jacknifed tractor-trailer, deputies watched a box truck skid off the highway and into the center median.

For the first time in six years, drunk driving deaths have increased. This is an almost five percent increase over 2011. Data just released shows that 10,322 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012 - one every 51 minutes. This means that as we approach the holidays, thousands of brokenhearted families, friends and loved ones are facing empty chairs at the dinner table. We need to make sure this doesn't happen to other families. We need to prevent this 100% preventable tragedy. As we approach the holiday season, drivers need to plan ahead and use every other option to avoid drinking and driving. Call a cab, have a designated driver, but please do not contribute to the drunk driving fatality statistics. The cost of a taxi is very little in comparison to the cost and damage that a drunk driver can cause. Unfortunately, holidays are often big days for drunk driving, and I often see a spike in drunk driving calls after major holidays. Please be sure you have transportation home whenever you plan to drink, and watch out for bad drivers on the way home.

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.

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:

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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