Indiana Semi Tractor Trailer Accidents

A semi tractor-trailer hit an overpass recently on I-70.  Imagine what would have happened if a family of five, on their way to Kings Island for a day of fun in the sun was behind that truck when it came to a screeching halt?  Can you imagine yourself driving alongside the truck when it hit the overpass and showered debris all over the highway.  It is not reasonable to drive a truck on the roads knowing that it is too tall may well hit an overpass.  It is not safe for the driver of the truck.  It is not safe for the users of the road next to and behind the truck.  It is not profitable for the trucking company to lose the use of their truck.  There is just no excuse for this.  As we know, Semi tractor-trailer crashes pose significant risk of serious personal injury to cars using the roads.  These serious injuries include broken bones, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, brain injury, and even wrongful death.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi tractor trailer crash and have been seriously injured, please give us a call.

Staying Alert Prevents Semi Tractor-Trailer Collisions

Indiana Truck Accident AttorneysEvery driver on the highway who has tried to drive “straight through” on a long distance vacation or work trip knows that scary feeling when the thoughts start to drift, the eyelids get heavy and the head starts to bob.  Hopefully you have pulled off the road, to a hotel or a rest stop, and taken a nap to clear your head.  Too many people have not and have woken up only to find they have been in a car wreck and either have suffered, or caused, serious personal injury.  I have a friend who learned the hard way and hit a bridge support and suffered broken bones,  and a brain injury. Fatigue is the enemy of the safe driver.   Reasonable and safe divers do not drive when fatigue starts to tug at their consciousness.

Consider the over the road truck driver.  The driver is driving a several ton truck, probably carrying several tons of cargo at 65-70 miles per hour on a road shared with small passenger cars.  The driver is under pressure to deliver their load in a timely fashion.  If they do not make their schedule it can have significant adverse economic impact on their lives.  The temptation may be higher to drive a little longer, to get to the destination a little sooner.  The consequences can be awful.  This is the reason the Government, in cooperation with the trucking industry places limits on the amount of time a trucker can be actively operating their semi tractor-trailers.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued mandatory rules covering the amount of time  a driver can be behind the wheel.  These rules cover not only big rigs, but buses and smaller trucks as well.  Reputable drivers and companies know that following these rules is in their best interest.  It cuts down on fines, crashes, injuries, insurance claims and other costs which adversely affect their bottom line.

If you, or a loved one or friend, have been seriously injured in a collision with a big truck, and you have questions about your rights, please give me a call.  We will sit down with you and your family and provide you with answers to all your questions.  There is no cost for these consultations and there is no fee unless we recover compensation for your injuries and losses.

What is Wrongful Death?

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneysWrongful death is the causing the death of another either through intentional acts or through negligent acts.  If the acts are intentional there may be both a criminal case (for Murder) and a civil case (for damages arising from the wrongful death).  For an example think of the OJ Simpson case.  In that case OJ Simpson was prosecuted for murder in the death of his wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldberg.  He was found not guilty of those charges in the criminal case.  Then the family of Ron Goldberg sued OJ Simpson in a civil case for wrongful death.  They won and received a judgment against Mr. Simpson.  That judgment remains unpaid because Mr. Simpson claimed he did not have the money to pay it.  You may be wondering why Mr. Simpson’s insurance company did not pay the judgment.  The reason is that insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional acts, and as the families proved that Mr. Simpson intentionally caused the wrongful death of Mr. Goldberg, the insurance company was not required to pay.

As we stated earlier, Wrongful death can also be caused by negligent acts.  Negligent acts are acts that are not intentional, but result from a person not being careful.  Examples of negligent acts include drunk driving, running a stop sign, driving a semi tractor-trailer without performing proper maintenance, not following the safety rules on a construction site.  There are many, many example of negligent behavior.   The wrongful death claim is controlled by the Indiana Wrongful Death Statute (IC 34-23-1-1, IC 34-1-1-2, and IC 34-23-2-1).  Potential damages arising out of wrongful death include the loss of wages of the deceased, medical bills to treat the deceased’s last illness, burial and funeral expense, loss of love and affection and attorneys fees.     The persons  to who these damages flow are the spouse and children of the deceased (if the children are 18 or younger or full time students up to age 23) and any person who is dependent upon the deceased.

There are a great many other legal variables at work in any claim where a person dies as the result of another’s negligence.  If you are struggling with the wrongful death of a loved one, or know someone who is and you have questions, or need help, please call.  We charge no fee for the initial consultation and we will come to your home or any location you feel is best.

High Speed, Ice and Semi Tractor Trailers

Indianapolis Personal Injury AttorneysYesterday, it seems, was a bad day for semi tractor trailer crashes.  Two multiple vehicle pile ups occurred.  One in Indianapolis, just west of the city on I-70.  The second took place in Detroit.  Unfortunately three people suffered wrongful death and as many ten people suffered personal injury.  Reading about these events reminded me of my recent brush with catastrophe. I was traveling south on I-65 and was near the Southport exit.  It was snowing hard and the normally three lane road was compressed into two lanes with the left hand lane partially covered with snow.  Almost all the traffic was travelling at a reduced rate of speed.  Most of the semi tractor trailers were in the left hand lane and were travelling about 45 miles per hour.  This is in keeping with the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Act rules regarding reduced speed on a highway in bad weather conditions.  In additions the truckers were maintaining plenty of room between them and the next truck.  This is another good safety procedure, given that if the truck in front loses control, there may be room and time enough for the second truck to avoid hitting the first truck.

I am in the left lane and travelling about 50 miles per hour.  In front of me is another car going the same speed.  I honor the 2 second rule I was taught in drivers ED. many, many years ago.  I am passing a semi tractor trailer, and the snow it is kicking up is almost blinding me.  I say to myself to remain calm, keep control and I will get by.  Just as I am saying this, a car approaches me from the rear.  I can see it is going much faster than I am, but there is nowhere for me to go, so I brace.  The car comes up on my rear, less than a car length behind me and flashes their lights.  I think to myself, “Where am I going to go, and where does this person think they are going”.  What I am now sure of is that if there is any trouble with my car, the truck immediately to my right, or even the car in front of me, this car in back is going to hit me and all hell is going break loose.  I keep my cool and slowly move past the truck and ease into the right lane.  This takes about 5 minutes.  As I do, the car behind me, with a 20 something at the wheel gives me a dirty look, looks down at her phone and runs right up on the tail of the driver in front.

I was glad to be rid of my tailgater.  However, I am hoping this little story will help you remember to reduce speed on the highway, give the car in front plenty of room, and remember that everyone on the road deserves to get home to their loved ones alive and safe.

Holiday Driving and Semi Crashes

Indiana Personal Injury AttorneysIt is close to Christmas. It is currently Chanukah. Sons, daughters, Mothers, Fathers, cousins, aunts, uncles and more are on the State and Federal highways trying to get home. We hope everyone has a safe and peaceful holiday season. All these folks have to share the road with semi tractor-trailers. Being so close to these big trucks at high speed inevitably lead to semi tractor-trailer crashes. The big truck accidents can be devastating because of the size difference in the vehicles involved. The weight differential causes the likelihood of spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, paralysis, and even wrongful death.

The trucking industry is committed to safe operation of trucks on the road. After all, avoiding collisions saves them money from repairs, lost stock, increased insurance rates and down time. Reputable companies follow the safety guidelines issued and enforced by the Federal government. These are known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, or FMCSR for short. These regulations cover all aspects of the operation of large trucks on the road. They control training for drivers, how much time they can spend behind the wheel in a 24 hour period, maintenance on vehicles, inspections and much much more.

When a family comes to us with questions about their rights arising out of a semi tractor-trailer crash or big truck accident, we turn first to the police investigation and then immediately to the FMCSRs to determine if a violation of one or more of these regulations might have caused, or contributed to cause the collision and injuries. We have been representing Hoosiers injured in car and semi accidents all over Indiana since 1954. Give us a call for a free consultation.

Trucking Accidents and Pressure for Speed

Indianapolis Auto Accident AttorneysThe trucking industry is highly competitive.  The basic idea is to get the most freight from point A to point B with the lowest cost.  Some carriers might be tempted to overload their trucks and put pressure on their drivers to get that freight to its destination in the lowest amount of time.  One way to get the freight there in the shortest amount of time might be to penalize slow drivers or to give bonuses to fast drivers.  This kind of pressure can result in truck accidents.  Truck collisions usually result in serious personal injury such as spinal cord injuries, paralysis, broken bones and even wrongful death. The trucking industry knows this is true and therefore regulations exist to prevent this kind of pressure being exerted on the drivers to take short cuts or to drive too fast or to drive for too long.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) address this very issue. The appropriate regulation is set out below.

392.6 Schedules to conform with speed limits. No motor carrier shall schedule a run nor permit nor require the operation of any commercial motor vehicle between points in such period of time as would necessitate the commercial motor vehicle being operated at speeds greater than those prescribed by the jurisdictions in or through which the commercial motor vehicle is being operated.

When we are hired by a Hoosier family which has suffered serious personal injury because of a semi tractor-trailer accident, we require the motor carrier to provide us their records which address the  carrier’s use of incentives and the scheduling of deliveries to ensure that the carrier is not violating this provision.  If they are violating this provision, or any other provision of the FMCSRs this is strong evidence of the carriers responsibility for causing the collision that injured our client. 

If you, a loved one or a friend has been injured as a result of a semi tractor trailer crash, please call us.  We can help.

Federal and State Law regarding Trucking

Indiana truck accident attorneysIn many instances, Federal law trumps state law in the regulation of commerce.  For example, if a medical device, such as a prosthetic hip, is approved by a governmental agency for sale under federal law, state law is said to be preempted by the Federal Law.  That is to say that state law cannot impose greater regulation on the manufacture of the product than is required by Federal Law.  This is not true as it pertains to the regulation of trucking on our highways.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCFR) specifically addresses this issue. Under the FMCFR section 390.9  Except as otherwise specifically indicated, subchapter B of this chapter is not intended to preclude States or subdivisions thereof from establishing or enforcing State or local laws relating to safety, the compliance with which would not prevent full compliance with these regulations by the person subject thereto.  The key word in the sentence is safety.  Semi Tractor-Trailers are essential to keeping this country, and our economy humming.  We could not function without them.  However, we could not use our roads safely if semi tractor-trailer accidents were the rule rather than the exception.  These safety regulations keep Hoosier families safer by eliminating poor maintenance which can lead to serious personal injury and wrongful death.  Issues such as speed control, lane control, amount of time a driver can operate and drunk driving are all part of what the safety rules are designed to control in order to make our roads safe.

If you, or a loved one has been seriously injured in a semi tractor-trailer collision and you need help, we understand the rules of the road, and have the experience to ensure that whoever caused the harm to you and your family makes up for that harm.

Hazardous Conditions and Semi Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Indiana Persoanl Injury AttorneyIn Indiana, as I m sure is true in many parts of the Country there is an old saying.  If you don’t like the weather, give it a minute, it will change.  This is especially true in the winter were it can be in the 50s one day and the next we can have a foot of snow on the ground.  The snow melts and can turn to ice and everything is a mess.  It is for this very reason that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety  Regulations include  a provision for the operation of large trucks in hazardous conditions.  We have included the language of the rule below so that you may familiarize yourself with the obligations of the truckers around you while on the road. We all know that semi tractor-trailer crashes can causes serious personal injury and even wrongful death.  Inclement weather not only increases the possibility of a large truck crash, but increases the possible harm done.  Not only will the black ice on the road cause the trucker to lose control, but will cause the truck to take much longer to stop, increasing the energy dissipated in the trucking crash.  This energy is transferred to you and your family during the collision.  The more energy transferred to you and your car, the greater the injury and damage to you and your family.  

If you and your family or friends are involved in a semi tractor-trailer collision or a highway accident, and have suffered serious personal injury or wrongful death, we know the rules of the road, we know the science and physics, and we know how to work effectively in the Courtroom.  We can help.

Subpart B – Driving of commercial motor vehicles

§ 392.14 Hazardous conditions; extreme caution. Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.

Semi Tractor Trailer Accidents and Parking

Indianapolis Truck Accident AttorneysAnyone who has driven on the highway late at night or in the early morning hours has seen them. The semi tractor-trailers sitting on the side of the road near off ramps with their flashers operating and their engines running. This is necessitated by the fact that sleepy drivers are at increased risk for causing semi tractor-trailer collisions. As a driver is limited to a specific number of hours on the road in any 24 hour period, they must be stopped the other hours. As most Semi tractor-trailers have sleeping births, sleeping in a rest area or on the on and off ramps, or even on the side of the road is a natural consequence of the need to have alert drivers.

Of course any stationary object on the highway shoulder presents a potential hazard to the driving public. In order to make the roads as safe as possible for both the sleeping trucker and the traveling family, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations address appropriate guidelines to help avoid the serious personal injuries, and even wrongful death that a semi tractor-trailer crash can cause. These parking regulations include, .(a) A motor vehicle which contains Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 materials must not be parked under any of the following circumstances—(1) On or within 5 feet of the traveled portion of a public street or highway;(2) On private property (including premises of fueling or eating facility) without the knowledge and consent of the person who is in charge of the property and who is aware of the nature of the hazardous materials the vehicle contains; or(3) Within 300 feet of a bridge, tunnel, dwelling, or place where people work, congregate, or assemble, except for brief periods when the necessities of operation require the vehicle to be parked and make it impracticable to park the vehicle in any other place.(b) A motor vehicle which contains hazardous materials other than Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 materials must not be parked on or within five feet of the traveled portion of public street or highway except for brief periods when the necessities of operation require the vehicle to be parked and make it impracticable to park the vehicle in any other place.

Semi Tractor Trailer Accidents and Rules for Inspection Maintenance and Repair of Vehicles

truck accident attorneyRules exist to ensure the safe operation of Semi tractor Trailer collisions. The rules strike a balance between ensuring that product make its way across the country to keep our economy moving and making the road as safe as possible for American families. It is sensible to require that everyone associated with a motor carrier, be knowledgeable. See § 396.1Scope.(a) Every motor carrier, its officers, drivers, agents, representatives, and employees directly concerned with the inspection or maintenance of commercial motor vehicles must be knowledgeable of and comply with the rules of this part.

In order to maximize the safety of equipment used on the road, Every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control. § 396.3-Inspection, repair, and maintenance..Thorough records must be created and maintained by the carrier for one year, while the vehicle remains under the control of the carrier, and for six months after the vehicle leaves the carriers control.

If you or a loved one suffers serious personal injury, or wrongful death as a result of a semi-tractor trailer accident, we are ready you help.

Indiana Crashes Involving Large Trucks

What is done to make sure that our families are not injured in Semi Tractor Trailer accidents?  How do we balance that with making sure that one of the greatest suppliers of goods to the country.  One thing is to make sure that drivers of the big trucks are fit to operate these multiple ton machines.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations establish the minimum physical and mental requirements for allowing a driver to qualify to operate the big rigs.  Companies are allowed to make the qualifications more stringent, but the minimum standards must be met.  Below is a small sampling of the requirements that are part of the FMCFRs guidelines designed to make the operation of the Semi Tractor-Trailers safe during operation.

Section 390.3(d) of the FMCSRs allows employers to have more stringent medical requirements.

391.41(b)(1)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no loss of a foot, leg, hand, or arm, or has been granted a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate pursuant to Section 391.49. and

391.41(b)(2)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person has no impairment of:
(i) A hand or finger which interferes with prehension or power grasping.
(ii) An arm, foot, or leg which interferes with the ability to perform normal tasks associated with operating a commercial motor vehicle.
(iii) Any other significant limb defect or limitation which interferes with the ability to perform normal tasks associated with operating a commercial motor vehicle.

391.41(b)(3)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently requiring insulin for control.

391.41(b)(4)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no current clinical diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, thrombosis.

or

Any other cardiovascular disease of a variety known to be accompanied by syncope, dyspnea, collapse, or congestive cardiac failure.

391.41(b)(5)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with the ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely.

391.41(b)(6)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no current clinical diagnosis of high blood pressure likely to interfere with the ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.

391.41(b)(8)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy;

or

Any other condition which is likely to cause the loss of consciousness, or any loss of ability to control a commercial motor vehicle.

391.41(b)(9)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or psychiatric disorder likely to interfere with the driver’s ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle safely.

391.41 (b)(10)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has a distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye with or without corrective lenses, or visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses;

and

distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without corrective lenses;

and

field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian in each eye;

and

the ability to recognize the colors of traffic control signals and devices showing standard; red, green, and amber.

391.41(b)(11)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial vehicle if that person:
First perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than five feet with or without the use of a hearing aid.

or

If tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz and 2,000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the audiometric device is calibrated to the American National Standard, [formerly American Standard Association (ASA)] Z24.5-1951.

391.41(b)(12)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial vehicle if that person:
Does not use a controlled substance identified in 21 CFR 1308.11, Schedule I, an amphetamine, a narcotic, or any other habit-forming drug.
Exception: A driver may use such a substance or drug, if the substance or drug is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner who is familiar with the driver’s medical history and assigned duties; and has advised the driver that the prescribed substance or drug will not adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

391.41(b)(13)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism.

If you know anyone who has been injured in a crash with a semi tractor-trailer, and have questions about their rights and responsibilities, please know that we can help. Contact Us.

How Safe is a Semi Tractor-Trailer Driver?

This is an important question because we all must share the road with these huge semi tractor-trailers and an accident with a semi tractor-trailer is likely to result in serious personal injury or even wrongful death to the smaller vehicle. Safe operation benefits both the trucking industry and the industry does a good job of making sure its drivers are safe.  So how do they do it. The answers lie in their desire to avoid the costs associated with causing serious personal injury to others and through enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations aka FMCFRs.   The FMCFRs set out the requirements for driving Semi Tractor-Trailers. They are as follows:

Rule 391(11) General qualifications of drivers.(a) A person shall not drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle. Except as provided in §391.63, a motor carrier shall not require or permit a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle unless that person is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.(b) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, a person is qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he/she—(1) Is at least 21 years old;(2) Can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records;(3) Can, by reason of experience, training, or both, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives;(4) Is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with subpart E—Physical Qualifications and Examinations of this part;(5) Has a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued only by one State or jurisdiction;(6) Has prepared and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with the list of violations or the certificate as required by §391.27;(7) Is not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle under the rules in §391.15; and(8) Has successfully completed a driver’s road test and has been issued a certificate of driver’s road test in accordance with §391.31, or has presented an operator’s license or a certificate of road test which the motor carrier that employs him/her has accepted as equivalent to a road test in accordance with §391.33.

As the trucking company is responsible for injuries caused by one of their drivers, they have a good incentive to follow these rules faithfully. The trucking company is also required to get the safety recs of a truck driver from former employers for the past 3 years before hiring.  After hire, on an annual basis, the company is required to obtain the driving record from the state agency where the trucker has his/her CDL. 

 We know the rules and how the industry attempts to keep us all safe.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi tractor-trailer accident, please call.

Semi Tractor Trailer Crashes Caused by Driver Fatigue

Indiana Auto Accident LawyersDriver fatigue causes semi tractor-trailer accidents. When a driver falls asleep at the wheel semi tractor-trailer crashes happen. When a driver is tired, their reaction time is reduced and semi tractor-trailer collisions cause serious personal injury and wrongful death. So, what prevents companies from pressuring drivers to driver to the point where they become a hazard to others on the road? The civil justice system, which is designed to hold those financially responsible for the harm they cause is one incentive to be safe. Another incentive is found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations or FMCFRs for short. The FMCFR contains a provision which specifically controls the amount of drive time a carrier may allow its drivers to perform. To enforce this rule drivers are required to keep up to date logs of their drive time and must present this log to a law enforcement officer immediately upon request, such as when a semi tractor-trailer accident happens. In addition, on board computers and satellite monitoring devices can be accessed to insure that the driver’s logs are accurate. A violation of these rules is admissible in court as evidence to establish whether the drivers negligence was a cause of the serious personal injury or wrongful death caused by the highway accident. A copy of the FMCFR is provided here for your review. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a semi tractor-trailer accident which was caused by violations of the FMCFRs, please call.

FMCFR Part 395.3

(a) Except as otherwise provided in §395.1, no motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, unless the driver complies with the following requirements:(1) Start of work shift. A driver may not drive without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty;(2) 14-hour period. A driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The driver may not drive after the end of the 14-consecutive-hour period without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty.(3) Driving time and rest breaks. (i) Driving time. A driver may drive a total of 11 hours during the 14-hour period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.(ii) Rest breaks. After June 30, 2013, driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after—(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.(c)(1) Through June 30, 2013, any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours. After June 30, 2013, any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours that includes two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.(2) Through June 30, 2013, any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours. After June 30, 2013, any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours that includes two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.(d) After June 30, 2013, a driver may not take an off-duty period allowed by paragraph (c) of this section to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days until 168 or more consecutive hours have passed since the beginning of the last such off-duty period. When a driver takes more than one off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours within a period of 168 consecutive hours, he or she must indicate in the Remarks section of the record of duty status which such off-duty period is being used to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.

Texting and Semi Tractor-Trailer Crashes in Indiana

Indianapolis auto accident attorneysSemi Tractor-Trailer crashes can cause severe personal injuries, especially to those  occupying passenger cars.  We have represented many Hoosier families dealing with the serious personal injuries, and wrongful death caused by semi tractor-trailer accidents

Did you know the odds of being involved in a crash is three times greater when the driver is reaching for an object than when the driver is not reaching for an object. Did you know that the odds of being involved in an accident is six times greater while the driver is dialing a cell phone than when the driver is not dialing a cell phone. These increases in risk are primarily attributable to the driver’s eyes being off the forward roadway.

As a result of these dangers the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) believe it is in the best interest of public safety to restrict a CMV driver’s use of such devices. To this end Rules are being past restricting the use of cell phones, for both calls and texting, by drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles.

If you, or a loved one, are injured as a result of a semi tractor-trailer accident, it is important to find out whether the driver of the truck was using a cell phone at the time of the crash.  If so, it is likely that the crash was caused, in part by that phone usage.

Semi Tractor Trailer Injuries and Public Liabilities

Indiana Auto Accident AttorneyIf you, or a friend or loved one is injured as a result of collision with a semi tractor-trailer, and the collision was not their fault, they are protected under the civil justice system.  Why is this? The answer is as simple as what your mother taught you as a child.  If you are negligent, and that negligence causes injury to a fellow Hoosier, then you are responsible for making up for the harm you cause.  Generally, the way society has agreed to as a method of making up for the harm is to be financially responsible.  We also agree that financial responsibility is met with insurance. 

In passenger cars the minimum financial responsibility is met by purchasing Liability insurance limits of no less than $25,000.00.  In Semi Tractor-trailer crashes the injuries and harms are likely to be much greater.  This is simple physics, the heavier the vehicle involved in the crash, the more likely the damages are to be severe.  That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require greater financial responsibility.  The applicable provision of the rules is:

The minimum levels of financial responsibility referred to in §387.7 of this subpart are hereby prescribed as follows:

Schedule of Limits—Public Liability Type of carriage  Commodity transported January 1, 1985
(1) For-hire (In interstate or foreign commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds) Property (nonhazardous) $750,000
(2) For-hire and Private (In interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds) Hazardous substances, as defined in 49 CFR 171.8, transported in cargo tanks, portable tanks, or hopper-type vehicles with capacities in excess of 3,500 water gallons; or in bulk Division 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 materials. Division 2.3, Hazard Zone A, or Division 6.1, Packing Group I, Hazard Zone A material; in bulk Division 2.1 or 2.2; or highway route controlled quantities of a Class 7 material, as defined in 49 CFR 173.403 5,000,000
Code of Federal Regulations302
(3) For-hire and Private (In interstate or foreign commerce, in any quantity; or in intrastate commerce, in bulk only; with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds) Oil listed in 49 CFR 172.101; hazardous waste, hazardous materials, and hazardous substances defined in 49 CFR 171.8 and listed in 49 CFR 172.101, but not mentioned in (2) above or (4) below 1,000,000
(4) For-hire and Private (In interstate or foreign commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,001 pounds) Any quantity of Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 material; any quantity of a Division 2.3, Hazard Zone A, or Division 6.1, Packing Group I, Hazard Zone A material; or highway route controlled quantities of a Class 7 material as defined in 49 CFR 173.403  

At Young and Young we know the rules which govern safety for Semi tractor-trailer operation.  Let us help you when you are injured in a semi tractor-trailer accident.

     

Tips for Sharing the Road with Semi Tractor Trailers

At Young and Young we, as Indiana Severe Injury Lawyers, we like to keep abreast of what is happening out on our roads.  Our roads are a modern marvel.  They allow us to travel across our great country in a couple days.  They allow us to transport huge amounts of goods across our country.  They allow us the opportunity to, if necessary, move vast amounts of defense equipment rapidly to respond to any emergency.  However, with these benefits comes danger.  We drive small passenger cars next to huge semi tractor-trailers all the while travelling at speeds between 55 and 80 miles per hour.

curvy-highway-drive-0808-lg-11236704 Some of the dangers associated with semi tractor-trailers are obvious.  A significant danger, if not the biggest danger has to do with the law of gross tonnage.  This law, generally speaking, states that the vehicle with the highest gross tonnage is going to win in a collision with another vehicle.  Obviously semi tractor-trailers weigh a great deal more than a standard passenger car.  As such, in a collision, the most damage will be done to the car.  As a result most damage will be done to the passengers in the car.  Serious and severe injuries often result, such a broken bones, spinal cord injury, brain injury and even wrongful death.

Other dangers with semi tractor-trailers are not so obvious.  Take for instance a curve in a highway.  Specifically, we are talking about curves that change the direction of travel more than 25 degrees.  One of Newton’s rules of physics is at work on these curves.  That rule is that things in motion want to travel in a straight line.  So, A semi tractor-trailer travelling around a curve will always want to go straight.  So if you are driving a passenger car on the right side of a semi tractor-trailer which is travelling on a left direction curve, the truck’s natural path is to its right, into you and your car.  A corollary to this is that the truck traveling on that left curve will, if it tips at all, tip onto its right side and onto your car.

The point of this whole discussion is, do not travel on a curve on the outside of a semi tractor-trailer.  Zip ahead, or lay back and wait for the curve to end, then continue on your way.  We hope this helps you and your family stay just a little bit safer on the roads.

High-Tech Billboards–A Roadway Safety Risk?

Some highway safety advocates claim that digital highway billboards constitute “weapons of mass distraction” as potentially dangerous as cell conversations or mobile texting.

According to a recent article published in The New York Times, “These high-tech billboards marry the glow of Times Square with the immediacy of the Internet. Images change every six to eight seconds, so advertisers can flash timely messages — like the latest headlines, coffee deals at dawn, a cheeseburger at lunchtime or even the song playing on a radio station at that moment. The billboard industry asserts there is no research indicating they cause crashes, and notes that the signs do not use video or animation.”

Last year’s Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study on mobile texting focused the nation’s attention on distracted driving. Yet the Times notes that an earlier Virginia Tech study, in 2007, apparently found that digital billboards and ordinary billboards had about the same effect on motorist behavior. The lead researcher in the study now says, however, that further investigation is necessary to reach a more definitive conclusion. In the meantime, lawmakers in Michigan and Minnesota are considering temporary bans on new digital billboards.

If you have been injured by distracted motorist regardless of the cause of the distraction, please call Young and Young in Indianapolis for a free
consultation. We have 55 years of experience to help you and your family obtain full compensation for injuries caused by distracted drivers on
Indiana roads.

Safety and Truck Crashes

It is a risk we accept every day.  A drunk driver driving a large truck causes a large truck crash.  Experienced injury attorneys and accident lawyers know trucking accidents are often the most dangerous.  These types of traffic accidents result in serious injuries including paralysis such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, brain injury, spinal cord injury, spine injury, amputation, broken bones, terrible scarring, burns and even wrongful death. Smart accident attorneys and injury lawyers know that the Federal Government issues a series of rules and regulations to protect highway users from fatal trucking accidents.  Roadway safety is in everyone’s best interest, but not every truck on the road is safe. 

The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) is dedicated to this principal.  This is reflected in its latest campaign:  “A Change to Save Lives: With Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), together with state partners and industry will work to further reduce commercial vehicle (CMV) crashes, fatalities, and injuries on our Nation’s highways. “   You can visit the FMSCA to learn more about how the FMCSA is working hard to make the roads safe for everyone. 

Part of what the FMSCA is doing is revamping its safety analysis system. As reported on its web site, the FMSCA establishes how this update compares to the older model. Within the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA 2010) Operational Model, the Safety Measurement System (SMS) quantifies the on-road safety performance of carriers and drivers to identify candidates for interventions, to determine the specific safety problems exhibited by a carrier or driver, and to monitor whether safety problems are improving or getting worse. SMS replaces SafeStat in the new Operational Model.  This model includes several expanded and improved indicators of safety performance of truck carriers.  These include an expanded set of categories of analysis including seven behavior analysis and safety improvement categories, up from the previous four categories, giving a more detailed basis for analysis.  The system also emphasizes on-road safety performance, using all safety-based inspection violations.  The system includes a safety rating to identify possible safety problems based on a carriers current on road safety performance. 

The highway interstate trucking industry is the backbone of American commerce.  Keeping all users of the road safe will only enhance the effectiveness of our trucking industry.  If you, a loved one or a friend have been injured in a trucking accident, Young and Young has more than 55 years of experience aggressively working to ensure Hoosiers are properly compensated for their injuries.  Give us a call today.

Truck Safety

Good Accident Attorneys and Accident Lawyers have always known that safety is the purpose of tort law.  They know that truck crashes, semi tractor-trailer highway accidents, motorcycle accidents, automobile accidents, large truck crashes and construction accidents can have devastating effects on Hoosier families.  Those affects can be the loss of income and medical bills from injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis such as paraplegia and quadriplegia, brain injury, burns, amputations and back injury.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) knows that safety is crucial to the bottom line of companies and for the health of America’s working class.  The FMSCA has issued its opinions on safety.  The following is a part of its safety statistics.

Why “Safety is Good Business”?

Crashes are devastating in terms of fatalities and injuries, financial costs, damaged reputations, the inability to attract and retain good drivers, and general goodwill in the industry and community.

  • In 2005, there were 5,212 fatalities and 91,993 injuries from large truck crashes, and 335 fatalities and 14,283 injuries from bus crashes.
  • The average cost of a large truck crash involving a fatality is $3.6 million per crash.
  • A crash with injuries costs almost $200,000 per crash.
  • The average cost of all large truck crashes is about $91,000 per crash.

Young and Young keeps tabs on the publications of the FMSCA to keep pace with safety developments.  We do this to stay on the front line in our fight to promote safety.  We also do this because when the system fails in its initial purpose, i.e. accident and injury prevention, we have the tools and the evidence necessary to insure Hoosiers are properly compensated for the injuries caused by negligent persons.  I leave you now on an up note, Crashes are preventable.

The good news is that many crashes are preventable. For example:

  • In 1997, 22% of large truck fatal crashes involving more than one vehicle were speeding related (Speeding Study).
  • In 2003, about 2% of drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) used controlled substances, and 0.2% used alcohol (0.04 or higher blood alcohol content) while performing their duties  (Drug and Alcohol Survey).
  • 5.5% of fatal truck crashes are caused by driver fatigue (Hours of Service News Release).  
  • A 2006 study found that only 59% of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers wear safety belts. In 2005, of the 696 CMV drivers who died in truck crashes, 344 were not wearing safety belts (Safety Belt Studies).
  • Research has shown that there is a significant relationship between driver job change rate (turnover) and crash involvement (Driver Retention).

Why are Semi-Tractor Trailer Accidents so Dangerous?

You are driving along the interstate highway system.  You are in the right hand lane, travelling at the posted speed limit.  You know there is a semi tractor trailer gaining on you, but you are not worried because the left hand passing lane is empty, giving the semi tractor trailer truck a lot of room to pass you.  You see the truck starts to move out of your lane and into the passing lane.  You think little of this, it happens all the time.  Just as you are being passed, POW, in the rear of your car, an explosion which deafens you and sends your car out of control.  The craziness slowly stops and you realize, the truck behind the semi tractor trailer has hit you in the  rear. 

truck%20accident[1]You might say I am making this up, but I am not.  This is exactly what happened to one of my clients.  Collisions with semi tractor trailer trucks are often the most catastrophic of highway accidents.  We are tempted to think the car wreck caused by the drunk driver is the most common of road accidents.  However the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) see this a little differently. The data  collected indicates these types of highway accidents occur frequently, with frightening consequences.  I have placed a link in this blog to the FMCSA 2008 report and crash facts for these types of collisions so you can see for yourself:  2008 preliminary report for deaths and injuries involving large trucks and busesLarge Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2008.

 

These studies discuss the numbers of automobile accidents, the number of wrongful death accidents and the number of injury accidents.  These injuries range from spinal cord injuries, back injuries, paraplegia, quadriplegia, brain injury, burns, and paralysis.  Efforts to increase roadway safety has lead to an overall decrease in the number of wrongful death in semi tractor-trailer crashes.

At Young and Young, we have more than fifty five years of experience helping Hoosiers deal with the devastating effects of truck accidents, motorcycle collisions, and all types of traffic accidents.  We are accident attorneys and injury attorneys on the side of the people.  This is all we do.  We do not represent insurance companies, we work for those who cannot work for themselves. Please call us when you are in need.  We can help.

NOTICE: No face-to-face meeting needed. You can remain safely in your home from case signup to settlement.

Got it!
X