Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

Long Trucks

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently passed a measure that would permit longer trucks on US highways. On Capitol Hill, two Republican Senators – Richard Shelby of Alabama and Susan Collins of Maine – have launched a proposal that would increase the maximum permissible size of the trucks on our highways from the current 28 feet to 33 feet in length. These would simply be monster trucks and there are far too many risks involved in having trucks of this length on our highways. ¬†Our lawmakers are not alone in their push, the American Trucking Associations had sought a change in the rules that would allow such longer tandem trucks on the nation’s highways.

That doesn’t mean that the action¬†hasn’t been criticized. Several lawmakers are against any change in the rules that would not just allow trucking companies operate longer tandem trucks, but would also mandate states to allow such longer trucks to utilize their roadways. The measure would essentially preempt any state laws against such longer trucks on state highways.

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country%20road%200087.jpgA new investigation into truck tire rollover accident finds that speeding is a major contributor to rollover rates. Big rig tires are designed for a maximum speed of 75 mph. However, as the number of states across the country has moved to increase the limits for trucks on their highways, the number of rollover accidents involving these rigs has also increased.

It is only now that researchers are making the connection between the higher speed limits, allowed by certain states, and the higher risk of rollovers in these states.

In Indiana, the speed limits for trucks are 55 mph on rural interstate highways, and 55 mph on urban interstate highways. Those are reasonable speed limits, and are within the range that tires are designed for. Most tires are only equipped to handle speeds of up to 75 mph. Those designs were adequate to prevent accidents up until the middle of the last decade, when many states began increasing speed limits on trucks on their highways.
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drug%20trucker.jpgIn 2015, trucking companies in Indiana will continue to conduct random drug testing on 50% of their drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently announced that the industry would have to continue applying the 50% random testing rate for driver drug and alcohol tests in 2015. The agency says that it has decided to maintain the 2014 requirement, based on extensive data from the motor carrier industry, drug and alcohol test surveys, and other investigations.

This is good news for Indiana motorists but disappointing to the trucking industry which had been hoping for a reduction of the random drug testing rate set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The industry had specifically been hoping for a reduction of the staggeringly low rate to a 25% sampling. Currently, a number of other transportation sectors including public transport have a 25% drug testing requirement.
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Indiana%20Winter.jpg As Indiana’s winter continues, Indiana Department of Transportation drivers will be out in full force. Winter isn’t over yet and more snow is expected in the coming weeks. Because of the falling snow and icy road conditions, you’ll see a number of plows and salt trucks out clearing the roads and doing their job.

Because of their slower speeds, motorists often assume that plows are safer than most heavy equipment. While they do not travel at excessive speeds, snow plows must conduct certain types of driving practices that may endanger other motorists. For instance, a snow plow may travel in the center of the road with large protruding blades that remove the snow. If a driver tries to pass a snow plow they may not account for the width of the blade and its position on the road. Drivers must be extremely cautious when driving near or around a plow.

If a driver finds themselves behind a snow plow, they should maintain as much distance as possible betwee0 their vehicle and the plow. Remember that snow plow operators are highly trained professionals who are working to keep you safe. Their job is to make the road convenient for you to use. A few minutes’ worth of delay is worth the wait. A dry road that is completely free of snow and ice will be much safer for all.
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Truck%20wheels.jpgEven as federal transportation authorities have recorded consecutive drops in the number of traffic accident fatalities recorded across the United States, the number of truck accident fatalities has remained more or less consistent or has actually increased over the years. In spite of that fact, there is little action by the federal administration, and no national outcry demanding answers to questions of trust trucking safety.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2005 alone, there were 3,921 fatalities involving truck accidents. That same year, more than 100,000 people were injured, many of them seriously in truck accidents. That works out to an average rate of 10 fatal accidents, and more than 284 injuries in truck accidents every day. That’s not the only bad news. Between 2009 and 2012, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration there was actually an 18% increase in the number of fatal attacks. During the same period of time, the numbers of fatal car accidents actually dropped by 1.74%, while the annual distance traveled by trucks dropped by 2.57%. Further, the number of trucks actually dropped by 2.86%. In other words, even as there was a drop in the total number of vehicle miles traveled and the number of trucks on the road, the trucks were still involved in a higher number of fatal accidents.
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truck%20and%20sunset.jpgDriver fatigue is linked to a horrific traffic truck accident recently that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan, and killed one person in his car. The accident once again spotlights the urgent issue of truck driver safety, especially the need to establish rules that limit hours of service.

According to reports, the driver in this case was so drowsy that he was unable to control his speed in response to slow-moving traffic ahead. As a result, he veered out of control, and crashed into a limo carrying the actor and members of his staff. Morgan sustained critical injuries, and will need extensive hospitalization, rehabilitation, and therapy.

The National Transportation Safety Board has begun an investigation into the accident. The Board will soon come out with its report, and is likely to point to the role of driver fatigue in this accident.
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sunset%20truck.jpgSome of the most devastating truck accidents occur when the truck driver fails to spot or identify a motorist in one of his blind spots. There are several such blind spots located behind, at the sides, and in front of the truck. When a motorist is in one of these areas, he is not visible to the truck driver. Therefore, the potential for an accident is extremely high. The National Transportation Safety Board recently called on the federal agency for trucking safety to take more steps to mitigate such hazards.

The National Transportation Safety Board is especially concerned about the risks to “vulnerable” road users: those pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists who share our roads. These persons may be even more invisible to a truck driver when they are in the blind spots. In spite of the fact that accidents caused when a truck driver collides with a car, motorcycle or pedestrian in his blind spot number in the thousands every year, the federal administration has focused very little on how mitigating such hazards could prevent accidents and save lives.

The National Transportation Safety Board requests the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to establish new regulations that could help prevent these accidents by boosting blind spot awareness. The Board also wants the federal administration to look more closely at advanced technologies that can be used to mitigate blind spot hazards.

These technologies include the use of advanced mirror system. The Board in its report is not specific about the kind of mirror systems that can be used, but it does indicate that enhanced mirrors like crossover convex mirrors that are required in New York and in many Europe countries, could alert drivers to a motorist in their blind spots. The systems could also include rear view cameras that display to truck drivers motorists or pedestrians in the blind spots behind the tractor-trailer.
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tired%20time.jpgChanges to trucking safety regulations now require a commercial truck driver to have two rest periods every time he starts a new work cycle. These changes have helped reduce the effect of fatigue among truck drivers. Those are the findings of a new study commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration specifically aimed at establishing the effectiveness of the new regulations.

The change was made last July and required truck drivers to get at least two rest periods at night. These rest periods must occur between the hours of 1 AM and 5 AM. Lawmakers asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct a study investigating the effectiveness of the changes. The study was conducted by Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center and confirms that truck drivers who took advantage of two nighttime rest periods were less susceptible to the risk of drowsy driving truck accidents.
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pill%20pile.jpgTruck drivers may be at a high risk for substance use, especially with drugs like methamphetamines used to help them stay awake for a longer period of time. A new international study based on a review of related literature from across the world, finds that many truck drivers use illicit drugs or drink alcohol while they are supposed to be driving.

In fact, according to the review, younger drivers are at a much higher risk for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The review was based on an analysis of trucking safety studies conducted across the globe. At least 20 studies focused on surveys of truck drivers while others relied on testing of their blood samples.

The study found that some of the most frequently abused drugs by truck drivers are amphetamines, marijuana, and cocaine. However, the most abused drug was alcohol. The rates of drug and alcohol usage varied significantly among the truck driver population.
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big%20tire.jpgUnder a bilateral agreement between the United States and Mexico, Mexican trucks that meet federal trucking safety standards have begun plying US roadways. However, many of these carriers are unsafe. Their trucks have failed inspections and have been cited for violations in this country. Unions and trade groups insist that, in spite of this fact, US federal regulators simply chose to look the other way.

The bilateral agreement, signed by Pres. Barack Obama and Mexican Pres. Felipe Calderon in March 2011, ensures that Mexican trucks which meet American safety and environment regulations can begin traveling on American roadways. However, records show that many Mexican trucks on American highways have been cited for a number of violations and some of these companies have been cited repeatedly.
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