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Articles Posted in Commercial Truck Injury

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Truck Accident LawyersI recently read a law firm article indicating nearly half of truck drivers are prone to sleep apnea. That article reaches this conclusion based on a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study using the STOP-BANG method of screening truck drivers. The Virginia Tech researchers interviewed 20,000 commercial drivers. So, the study has a broad base for reliability. The data is very interesting.

While the law firm’s article cites the study, it really only lists the scary statistics. Yes, it is scary to think up to half of the truck drivers around you may be sleep deprived. The article does a good job of scaring the reader into calling the law firm. Why not talk about potential solutions? The law firm’s article tells us the problem but offers no discussion into solutions. Of course, that’s like most law firm websites — short on real discussion. If it’s a problem (and it is), then the real discussion should surround potential solutions that make our highways safer. With that in mind, I’ll briefly discuss the study. Then, I’m going to talk about two areas where I think we can improve highway safety and trucker health.

What Does The Virginia Tech Research Tell Us?

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overweight-trucks-a-danger-to-alabama-drivers-1-638-300x169I’ve written a couple times about the danger of overweight commercial trucks. In recent years, the number of fatal highway accidents has declined. Cars are safer. The one area where the number of fatal accidents has increased — crashes involving large commercial trucks. In numerous posts, I’ve discussed the issues contributing to this increase. They include distracted driving, truck driver health and truck equipment. So, I thought it a good time to revisit the issue of overweight trucks.

Alabama is criss-crossed by Interstate highways. We’re all familiar with the big trucks on Interstate 65, Interstate 20 / 59 and Interstate 10. But, this is not just an issue for our Interstates and major highways. In some rural areas of our State, logging trucks are a frequent sight. These trucks are often overweight. If you drive the rural roads of Alabama, you’ve likely seen plenty of overloaded log trucks. They are a huge danger to other drivers.

I’ve prepared a slideshow which discusses the primary dangers of overweight trucks on our roads and highways. How does the extra weight put us at risk? What are the dangers? Here are four dangers of overweight trucks:

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Add-a-little-bit-of-body-text-200x300 Earlier this week, I was reading an article about a horrible Interstate crash involving a distracted trucker. The article packs several issues — Distracted driving. Bad driving record. Commercial truck crash. Potential punitive damages.

What happened? A car became disabled on the Interstate. Its driver put on her hazard lights, called authorities and waited patiently for help. While waiting, many other vehicles saw the disabled car, slowed and safely passed. The disabled car was clearly visible. Several minutes later, our trucker came down the Interstate. The trucker hit the disabled car without slowing at all. The trucker never even saw the car with its flashers right in plain view. He was not paying attention.

The crash caused terrible injuries. You can only imagine the impact of a full speed eighteen wheeler on a small, stationary car. At our office, we see many distracted driving crashes here in northern Alabama as well. Yet, there’s more to this truck crash. The truck driver in the article had a bad driving record. Why was he allowed to continue driving? The trucker had several prior accidents, including one where he even hit an overpass. And, he had also been cited multiple times for exceeding allowed driving hours. He had a history of being a careless and reckless driver. The trucking company clearly should NOT have allowed him to continue driving its trucks. But, it did. That company knew his record. Because the company knowingly allowed a dangerous driver to continue operating its trucks, it faces potential punitive damages.

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Huntsville Injury AttorneysWe share the road with big trucks. Most truckers are trained, safety-conscious drivers. Most truckers work hard to reach their destinations safely.

In past articles, I’ve discussed the health and safety issues truck drivers face. Truck driver health is a concern. Sitting long hours for your job. Sleeping away from home. Eating on the road. It is difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many drivers face health issues. Diabetes. Obesity. Sleep apnea. Some of these health issues create safety risks on the roadway. The large companies employing truck drivers need to do a better job keeping their workforce healthy. You can read some of my past truck driver health and safety articles on this blog. In several of my past articles, I discuss important health issues facing truckers. On several occasions I’ve also written about problems and fraud in the medical certification system. Here, in Alabama, we’ve seen fraudulent medical certifiers put dangerous drivers on our roadways.

I’m not writing today about truck drivers. I’m writing about the trucks they driver. Are the commercial trucks on our roads and highways safe? Are trucking companies putting drivers on the road with dangerous equipment? We drive next to big trucks every day assuming they are safe. We assume those trucks have been maintained, serviced and properly equipped. But, recent studies indicate too many trucking companies put dangerous trucks on our highways.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersCommercial Truck Crash Death Rates Continue To Climb!

Commercial truck crash death rates continue to grow in the United States. According to recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, deaths are at their highest level in more than 30 years. In 2019, large truck crash deaths increased for the fourth consecutive year. These are very alarming highway statistics.

The trend is deeply troubling. Consider this — Overall highway safety has improved in recent years. Yet, we are seeing more deadly commercial truck accidents. In other words, big truck crash death rates are increasing while most other accident and injury rates are decreasing. This raises the question of why. Why are commercial truck death rates increasing? Why are commercial truck death rates moving in the opposite direction of overall highway safety?

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Alabama Personal Injury LawyersUnderstanding The Problem

Every day, we drive alongside huge commercial trucks. Large trucks are more difficult to steer and stop. Large trucks are more difficult to maneuver. Large trucks present visibility issues and blind spots for drivers. Commercial trucks require skilled, healthy and alert drivers. I’ve written frequently about trucker safety. In an article last September, I addressed the growing problem of trucker fatigue on Alabama roads and highways. My prior article is titled Truck Driver Fatigue:  Research Reveals A Growing Problem.

In my prior article, I mentioned research showing 41% of transportation workers suffer severe sleep deprivation problems. I actually believe the reality is worse and that current research understates the problem. Regardless of my opinion, a study showing almost half the workers on our roads and highways suffering from serious sleep deficits should concern all of us. After all, our loved ones travel around giant trucks every day in Alabama!

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Commercial-Truck-Accidents-Injuries-300x300I’ve written several articles about truck driver health and fatigue. These are serious safety issues on Alabama roads and highways. All of us have felt uneasy as a big truck zoomed past us on the Interstate. We need truck drivers who are healthy and alert.

Both health and fatigue are related. How? Truck drivers suffer much higher rates of health issues like sleep apnea, diabetes and obesity. These conditions can create problems with sleep, concentration and awareness. My past articles discuss several ways we can improve truck driver health and make our roads safer for all.

Researchers at Ball State University recently published a new study involving sleep and workers. The study is titled Short Sleep Duration in Working American Adults, 2010-2018. What makes the study interesting is that it gathered data over a long period of time.

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BLACKWELL-LAW-FIRM-Alabama-Accident-and-Injury-Lawyers-256-261-1315-300x300Truck Driving Is A Solitary Profession

We spend much of our lives at work. For many of us that means going to the office, factory or construction site. We see and speak with other people throughout the day.

Truck driving is different. Truckers may spend long, solitary hours on the road. Miles and miles of highway pass as the hours turn from day to night. In past articles, I’ve written about some of the health problems commonly seen in truckers. Many of those health problems are tied to long, sedentary work days.

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Distracted driving is a frequent topic on my blog. In the last few years, I’ve written numerous articles on the issue. In some articles, I’ve discussed the basic types of distracted driving and how we can work together to reduce this highway danger in Alabama. In other articles, I’ve written more specifically about distracted driving as it relates to commercial drivers or teenage drivers. At the Blackwell Law Firm, we will continue to discuss this important safety topic in future posts.

Because it is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we have created a short slideshow on the issue. We hope you find it educational. Like many of our articles, we discuss several ways to combat this problem. As with any post, we welcome constructive commentary!

https://www.slideshare.net/JeffBlackwell16/distracted-driving-awareness-month-139875671

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Huntsville Truck Accident LawyersCommercial truck driver health is a safety issue on our highways. In past articles, I’ve discussed the serious health problems truck drivers suffer. Truckers suffer much higher rates of problems like diabetes, sleep apnea and morbid obesity. These health conditions can slow driver reactions and concentration — putting everyone at risk for needless injury or death. The long hours of sedentary work away from home in many truck driving jobs contributes to these health issues and makes medical care difficult.

Medical certification requirements for commercial truckers are an important part of highway safety. But, the system only works if medical certifications are legitimate, honest and fair. Unfortunately, they are not. Too many unsafe commercial drivers are allowed on our highways.

The Federal regulations have allowed truly unqualified medical examiners to issue certifications. A chiropractor may be qualified to perform therapeutic treatments for a pulled lower back muscle but is he or she really qualified to certify a trucker with dangerous sleep apnea? The Federal regulations have also allowed unhealthy truckers on our roads. Let’s look again at sleep apnea. It can be a big safety issue. Yet, unsafe drivers are routinely certified without requiring medical treatment or monitoring for the condition. The rules fail to adequately address specific health issues like sleep apnea, diabetes, morbid obesity or drug dependence. I’ve written several articles about these issues in the past. For more information on sleep apnea and truck safety, you can read my article titled Sleep Apnea:  Government Chooses Trucking Industry Over Safety.

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