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Articles Tagged with trucker

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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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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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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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Accident & Injury LawyersPersonal injury attorney Ken Shigley recently wrote about “chameleon” trucking companies. What is a chameleon trucking company? It is an unsafe trucking company that changes its name or re-registers to avoid liability or problems with its safety rating. The owners, equipment, drivers, and even address, usually stay the same. While the name on the truck may be new, the same reckless people are endangering our families on the highway!

Ken’s post reminded me of a recent truck driver deposition. In my case, a lady suffered life-altering, disabling injuries on an Alabama highway. At the crash scene, the truck driver refused to exit his truck and help the victim who was bleeding and barely alive. The lady survived only because a good samaritan stopped and helped until emergency responders could arrive. Although refusing to help, the trucker made numerous calls on his cell phone. In one call, he summoned the trucking company’s “rapid response” team to the scene. Did the rapid response team rush to the scene to help? NO! The rapid response team rushed to the scene to protect the company from liability.

In deposition, the trucker admitted crashing his truck on several earlier occasions. Each time, the crash was his fault. In one, he rear-ended another driver on the Interstate. In another, he hit a loading dock and seriously damaged a factory. In a third, he continued to drive in dangerous icy conditions. He crashed and knocked out local utilities to a community. That’s not all. In prior years, medical examiners had cautioned the company about allowing him to drive due to serious health issues. When I asked in deposition if he believed in following basic driver safety rules, he refused to say yes. Instead, he responded to questions asking whether he must follow safety rules by saying, “theoretically” and “in a perfect world.” The safety of our families on the roadway was not important to this driver. Did the trucking company remove this driver from our highways, even temporarily, after any of these past events? No. Did the trucking company retrain or reprimand the driver after any of these past events? No. The trucking company simply put him back on our highways with instructions to deliver the merchandise on time.

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