Category: Truck Accidents

FMCSA: Marijuana remains prohibited for all truckers

In a post last week, our blog discussed how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has introduced a rule calling for the creation of a database listing the names of licensed truckers who have either refused drug tests or failed drug tests. Curiously enough, this issue perhaps took on added significance after last week's elections, which saw voters in four states -- California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada -- legalize marijuana for recreational purposes and voters in three states -- Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota -- legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Indeed, statistics show that as many as 80 million people currently live in states where recreational marijuana is now legal in some form, while over half the states permit medical marijuana. Given this dramatic expansion of pro-pot laws, it naturally raises the question as to what, if anything, the FMCSA has recently had to say about use of the drug…

Publication of rule calling for trucker drug testing database imminent

The next time you find yourself traveling down the highway in the proximity of a semi, take a moment to glance at just how big it is and just how fast it is moving. Indeed, chances are good that you'll have forgotten just how unnerving the prospect of being so close to a vehicle weighing 40 tons and traveling upwards of 70 miles-per-hour really is. As unnerving as this is, consider how it can become even more so when you add the possibility that the person at the wheel of this mechanical behemoth is not paying attention to the road, violating traffic laws or even driving despite a record of failed drug tests. Interestingly enough, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration introduced a rule back in 2014 that would create what is known as the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which would essentially be a database listing licensed truckers who…

Just how big of a danger are truckers with sleep apnea?

One of the single most difficult things for millions of Americans to do is secure eight hours of sleep. While this can be attributed to everything from generalized anxiety and acid reflux disorder to newborn babies and noisy neighbors, it can also be attributed to a serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. Interestingly enough, a recently published study by researchers in Italy revealed that truckers suffering from obstructive sleep apnea -- or OSA -- have a considerable higher crash risk than their counterparts able to secure a good night's rest. What is OSA?     OSA is a breathing disorder in which a person's airway actually collapses during sleep, resulting in a coughing/gasping reflex that wakes them momentarily. As this happens many times throughout the course of the night, it prevents the person from ever falling into a deep, restorative sleep cycle. Many times, people are unaware they have the…

Why did the FMCSA change the windshield regulations for trucks?

While most people are well aware that interstate trucks are subject to extensive federal regulations covering everything from their brakes to their tires, what they might not realize is that these regulations aren't just confined to the exterior of the truck, but rather extend to the interior as well. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations on windshields dictate that no devices can be mounted more than six inches below the upper edge and, even then, they must be mounted outside the truck driver's line of sight. While this may seem somewhat arbitrary, the regulation exists to ensure that truckers have a clear line of sight to the road, signage and traffic signals. Interestingly enough, the FMCSA announced last week that it was officially changing this longstanding regulation on windshield-mountable devices. What does the new regulation state? Starting October 23, certain types of "vehicle safety technology" can be mounted on…

Mixed support for speed limiters among key players in the trucking industry

In our last post, we discussed how both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have introduced a new proposal calling for all trucks rolling off the assembly line -- and a potentially large number of trucks already on the highways -- to be outfitted with electronic speed limiters. Specifically, the proposal, which has been published in the Federal Register, calls for these electronic speed limiters to physically prevent trucks from going faster than one of three speeds: 60, 65 or 68 miles-per-hour. Not surprisingly, most safety advocacy groups have already come out in support of the measure, owing in large part to some of the accident prevention figures offered by the NHTSA and the FMCSA. Indeed, the proposal indicates that in addition to preventing thousands of truck accident injuries, a 60 mile-per-hour max speed could prevent 162 to 498 fatalities per year, a 65…

Committed to the pursuit of justice for truck accident victims

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made headlines last week when they announced a proposal that, if enacted, would require all new semi trucks to be equipped with electronic devices that limit their maximum speed to anywhere from 60 to 68 miles-per-hour. While it's possible that many greeted this news with little more than a shrug, it's important to consider that the two agencies predicted this new proposal could save the lives of anywhere from 96 to 498 motorists per year and prevent many of the 1,115 heavy truck crashes that occur here in the U.S. on an annual basis. Indeed, all of this really serves to underscore the unfortunate -- and perhaps grim -- reality that despite all of the progress that has been made in making both roads and vehicles safer, motorists are still very much at risk of being involved in…

How is the mining industry connected to the next big breakthrough in auto safety?

Thanks to the tireless efforts of scientists, engineers and software developers, many of the vehicles on the roads and highways are now equipped with safety technology that would have been unheard of a decade ago. Indeed, there's now technology to stop rear-end collisions, prevent lane departures and even assume complete control of the driving experience. As fascinating and encouraging as this has been, there are a few areas in which real safety solutions are still lacking, including drowsy driving. Interestingly enough, however, we may be on the precipice of seeing this dangerous driving condition rectified by safety technology currently being deployed in a somewhat unlikely industry. What exactly is this industry and what technology are they using?   Caterpillar Safety Services, a subsidiary of the Illinois-based construction giant, has outfitted 5,000 vehicles around the world involved in mining operations with facial recognition software and equipment designed by the tech company Seeing Machines.…

What makes commercial trucks so dangerous?

Commercial vehicles pose a very serious threat to passenger cars traveling alongside them. Not only are they larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, they can travel just as fast as everyone else. Certainly these factors make commercial vehicles a danger, but there are several other factors that should be considered when making the decision to drive alongside them. By definition, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle used for carrying people or goods for a fee. Yes, this may include tractor trailer semi-trucks, but it also includes dump trucks, tanker trucks and delivery vehicles. Each one of these vehicles is dangerous in their own way. However, the level of risk these trucks pose to other drivers may be specific to their body type and contents. The run of the mill semi-truck, also known as a tractor-trailer, is one of the most commonly seen commercial vehicles on the highway. These trucks are mainly dangerous…

Watch for violations in hours of service

The rules and regulations that commercial carriers and their truck drivers must follow are handed down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This branch of federal government dictates certain aspects of commercial carrier operations so that they are safer for truck drivers and other passenger vehicles. Included in their rules and regulations is a rule for hours of service. If the driver operates a commercial motor vehicle, including semi-trucks, they must comply with the FMCSA's hours of service rule. The FMCSA's rules regarding hours of service regulations are different for drivers carrying property than they are for drivers carrying passengers. These rules dictate how many hours a driver may operate a vehicle and how often and for how long they must take rest breaks. For example, a driver of a vehicle carrying property may drive for 11 hours so long as it follows 10 consecutive hours of the driver being off…

Who Can I Sue in a Truck Accident?

There are an overwhelming number of factors involved in a truck accident. In most cases, investigators will need to look at what each driver involved was doing leading up to the crash. This can determine any level of distraction, recklessness, negligence, or intoxication. These factors are common for almost all multivehicle accidents. However, when a truck is involved, investigators will now need to look at driver logs, whether the truck was properly maintained and whether it met all safety regulations set forth to maintain nonhazardous roadways for those commuting alongside these behemoths. If you were hurt or if you have lost a loved one due to an accident involving an 18-wheeler or another large commercial vehicle, you are likely struggling to function on an emotional level. Grief can be absolutely debilitating. Add to that the concerns of exploring all avenues of causation and pursuing compensation for that guilt, and you may…

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