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Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

truck-1499377_640-150x150The federal administration that oversees regulations for America’s six million professional drivers has temporarily suspended a trucking safety law that’s been in place since 1938

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Friday evening that truck drivers who are moving goods “in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks” will temporarily not have to follow the hours-of-service laws, which mandate how many hours a truck driver may work. 

This is the first time since 1938, when the rule was developed, that it’s been suspended on a national level. It’s common for states and local governments to lift the rule amid natural disasters, when consumers “panic buy” household goods and hospitals need medical supplies. 

“Waivers of this type are a common response by FMCSA to natural disasters and crises because trucks delivering food, fuel and medicine are a critical part of the response,” America Trucking Associations spokesperson Sean McNally said in a statement to Business Insider. “This waiver will help keep loads of medicine, supplies and food moving as the country manages this current pandemic.”

Around 70% of the nation’s goods by weight is moved by a truck — so ensuring that they can get to your local grocery store or hospital ramps up in times of crisis. 

In its current edition, HOS requires truck drivers to drive only 11 hours within a 14-hour work period. They must then log 10 hours of “off-duty” time. The safety law, which is aimed at eliminating exhausted truck drivers from the nation’s highways so they do not endanger others, is disliked by many drivers. Some say the strict regulations actually disrupt their sleep schedule and make them more likely to drive tired. 

According to the FMCSA’s Friday evening emergency declaration, here are the types of loads that are exempt from HOS laws:

  1. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19
  2. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants
  3. Food for emergency restocking of stores
  4. Equipment, supplies, and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19
  5. Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes
  6. Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response

The coronavirus outbreak, which has been ruled by the World Health Organization as a global pandemic, has seen “panic buying” envelop the nation. 

Shipments to grocery and discount retailers increased by 25% last week, according to freight data visibility company Project44. On March 14, a Saturday, that boost was 60%. 

Across the country, US sales of hand sanitizer jumped by 228% during the four weeks ending on March 7, compared to the same period last year, according to the most-recently available dataset from retail sales tracker Nielsen.

During January and February, Adobe Analytics, which tracks 80 top online retailers in the US, said sales of cold, cough, and flu products popped 198%, toilet paper grew 186%, canned foods jumped 69%, and “virus protection” items like gloves and masks jumped 817%.  

Recent studies show just how damaging coronavirus can be. About 0.1% of people who get the seasonal flu die, but the coronavirus’ death rate is now at about 3.4%. Even those who recover from coronavirus may have 20% to 30% less lung capacity, causing survivors to gasp for breath while walking, doctors in Hong Kong have found. 

While there is a demand around the country for supplies ranging from pasta to toilet paper, drastic measures have been necessary. While HOS has lifted regulations, saying putting more trucks on the road and for longer should help, there is a downside to all of this—the very real potential for more truck accidents.

Some of the most deadly motor vehicle accidents involve semi trucks and tractor trailers. The sheer size and weight of these trucks are no match for smaller vehicles such as cars and motorcycles. An accident with a big rig can easily lead to catastrophic injuries and even death

There are two main factors, aside from weight and height, that are likely to cause deadly truck accidents:

 

  • Truck drivers being fatigued and driving for too long, which decreases their focus. 
  • Improper loading, which can create an imbalance that can cause the truck to tip over.

 

Encouraging truck drivers to ignore how long they are driving as well as lifting weight restriction on these vehicles could truly be a recipe for disaster. Governments are creating dangerous conditions that could result in a surge of truck accidents. 

Our Tampa Bay Truck Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton know the stress that is on many Americans during this difficult time. If you must be on the road, we urge you to exercise more caution than usual, especially around large trucks. Should you or a loved one get into an accident with a semi truck during this time, you can rest easy that we are working around the clock to help all injury and wrongful death victims. Our offices remain open.

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A box truck’s tire came loose Tuesday evening and struck an SUV along Interstate 95 in Oakland Park, killing the SUV driver and injuring a passenger.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the box truck was heading south along the highway when it lost its left front tire near Commercial Boulevard, just before 6:15 p.m.

Officials believe the tire bounced over the concrete barrier wall and onto the northbound lanes, smashing into the roof of a 2013 Ford Echo.

The 25-year-old driver of the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics transported the female passenger to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale with injuries that were not classified as life-threatening.

Troopers are still investigating the cause of the accident. It remains unknown if any charges will be filed.

When a blowout occurs on the tire of a big rig, semi, 18-wheeler or other large, heavy truck, the aftermath is very different than that of a tire blowout in a smaller passenger vehicle. The resulting accident and injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal, as the above accident shows.

When accidents are caused by tires, our Florida Truck Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton work diligently to determine who the liable parties are and hold them responsible for compensating accident victims or families of those killed in these tragic accidents. We collaborate with scientific experts and accident reconstruction specialists to figure out if the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect, by trucking company or employee negligence, or by other conditions.

A tire can be defective for a variety of different reasons, including failure to stand up to heat generated during driving or poor traction due to poor design or a problem in the manufacturing process. The most common tire defect that causes most 18-wheeler accident is poor treadwear and tread separation.

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A new report out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks at the shifting trends in Americans’ health and mortality, and the conditions most likely to take lives.

While heart disease and cancer still top the list, Motor vehicle accidents, unintentional drug overdoses, and accidental falls and other injuries take the no. 4 spot.

According to the CDC, more than 2 million people are injured, and another 33,000 deaths occur each year due to auto accidents. It is no wonder why motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the U.S.

In 2015, more than 35,000 car-accident deaths occurred throughout the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of those deaths, 3,174 occurred in Florida.

The good news is that most injuries and deaths on the road are entirely preventable,. The bad news is that the majority of those injured or killed are done so through no fault of their own. Auto accident victims are left with medical bills, lost wages, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and, in many cases, permanent injury or death. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an auto accident in Florida, our Car Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you understand how to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault party.

According to the National Safety Council, slip and falls are one of the leading causes of accidental injury. Slip and falls lead to an estimated 9 million visits to the emergency room each year. The risk of slipping and falling increases with age. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a slip and fall, it is best to speak with our Florida Slip & Fall Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton to understand your legal options.

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The holiday season is a time for joyful celebrations and enjoying time with friends and family. It is also a high-risk time to be on the roadways. Christmas, New Year’s, and the days surrounding these holidays are days when there is a substantially higher number of auto accidents and crash fatalities than other times of the year. If you or someone you love is injured or killed in a holiday car accident, our Florida Auto Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help you through.

Christmas and New Year’s are all at the top of the list of high-risk days for drivers. These holidays see some of the year’s highest accident rates, along with Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day. The increase in fatalities and serious injury accidents on these holidays is substantial, with motorists facing a dramatically increased chance of being involved in a crash.

The Christmas holiday period includes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. During this holiday time, an average of 343 people die in motor vehicle accidents. New Years is also defined as a three-day holiday period including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Over New Year’s, an average of 373 people die in car accidents. Why? More drivers on the roads and more drunk drivers are two primary reasons for the rise in car accident deaths on both Christmas and New Year’s.

Drivers need to be aware of the added dangers of driving on these holidays and should take precautions to try to protect themselves from becoming accident victims. There are a few things you can do to make sure you are set up well for travelling this holiday season.

  1. Make sure your car is in good condition before traveling.
  2. Get plenty of rest to avoid drowsy driving.
  3. Check road conditions to be prepared for adverse weather and avoid driving during storms.
  4. Try to limit travel time to daytime rather than driving at night when the accident risks are greater.
  5. Stay sober and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  6. Don’t succumb to distractions when driving!

If you or someone you love is the victim of a crash on any day or holiday, our Florida Auto Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can provide assistance with pursuing a case for financial compensation for crash injuries or wrongful death.

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A truck driver that was arrested in a crash on Interstate 80 that killed a Minnesota couple and their three children has his first court appearance Tuesday.

The Keith County Court’s office said the 53-year-old Baker, Florida man, is facing five counts of felony motor vehicle homicide and one count of reckless driving.

He is being held on $100,000 bond.

A Nebraska State Patrol affidavit says the man was inattentive and speeding through a construction zone Sunday when his semitrailer smashed into the back of a minivan and other vehicles. The minivan was carrying a 29-year-old St. Paul couple, and their three children.

Collisions with large trucks usually end in fatalities. Sadly, passenger vehicles are no match for the size and weight of semis and tractor trailers. While nothing can bring back loved ones killed in truck accidents, the law does provide a legal remedy for surviving family members to ease any financial burdens through what is called a wrongful death lawsuit. If a truck driver’s reckless or negligent actions resulted in a crash that killed another person, they can be held legally liable for any harm caused.

Wrongful death claims can be complex when dealing with a trucking company. There are many aspects that must be properly investigated, including the driver logs, the truck itself and all other relevant documents that could point to regulation violations.

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According to police, a city solid waste truck collided with a sports utility vehicle early Thursday in Tallahassee.

The SUV’s driver died of his injuries at a hospital.

The truck’s driver was not injured.

No additional information is available at this time.

Homicide investigators are interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence from the crash.

Garbage trucks provide a critical service to the community – they haul and dispose of waste.  But just like any large vehicle on the roadway, when an accident happens, garbage trucks can cause serious injuries like brain injuries, spinal cord trauma and even wrongful death.

Our Truck Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melon know that trucking accidents are quite serious matters, which is why we conduct an in-depth investigation into the cause of the crash so that we can hold all negligent parties accountable for your losses. We leave no stone unturned and will obtain and analyze the driving history of the garbage truck driver and the maintenance records for the vehicle, interview witnesses, review the accident scene, and even hire accident reconstruction and engineering experts to inspect the crash site. We make sure your rights are protected.

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A man in a wheelchair died Tuesday morning after he was hit by a box truck in Osceola County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash happened at about 9:45 a.m. on U.S. 192 at the intersection of International Drive.

The 82-year-old Celebration man was travelling southbound in a motorized wheelchair on International Drive when he tried to cross U.S. 192. That’s when a box truck driven by a 35-year-old Kissimmee man struck the man in the wheelchair as the truck tried to turn right onto U.S. 192, troopers said.

The man in the wheelchair was taken to Florida Hospital Celebration Health, where he passed away.

The crash is currently under investigation.

Did you know that everyday drivers share the roads with countless 80,000-pound semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles whose drivers are working to complete their routes in the least amount of time possible? Due to time constraints, they often cut corners when it comes to safety regulations, not to mention they can become easily distracted from the primary task at hand – driving their truck safely.

The sheer force of a collision with a commercial vehicle, especially a fully loaded 18-wheeler, is far greater than the force of just your typical car wreck between passenger vehicles. The weight of a truck combined with speed and a negligent driver is truly a recipe for disaster.

Truck drivers, just like drivers of other vehicle, can be easily distracted due to:

  • Texting or talking on cell phone
  • GPS system or radio use
  • Eating, drinking or smoking while driving
  • Reading while driving
  • Driver fatigue

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Truck drivers with untreated sleep apnea have a five times greater preventable crash risk than those who are being treated or do not have the ailment at all, according to a new study published in the journal Sleep on Monday.

Driving trucks while drowsy is quite dangerous. Even riskier are those with sleep problems.

“It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of all large truck crashes are due to drowsy or fatigued driving, which would account for almost 9,000 fatalities and up to 220,000 serious injuries,” says senior author Stefanos Kales from the Harvard Chan School.

Fitness tracker evidence has begun to make an appearance in personal injury claims. Fitness trackers, like Fitbit, Garmin, and Jawbone are widely popular as an aid to help with exercise regimens. Along with the popularity among consumers, they have also come to the attention of the legal industry and insurance companies to uncover health data to use as evidence in accident injury cases, and even criminal cases, too.

Most people use their fitness trackers to monitor and record their activity levels throughout the day or while working out. These gadgets give a documented record of the level of activity and endurance of an individual and may also record heart rates, sleep patterns and other health data.

The first court case using fitness tracker evidence in a personal injury claim took place in 2014. The Canadian case used evidence from a fitness tracker to show that the plaintiff, who had previously been a personal trainer, had substantially lower activity levels than would be expected for someone their age and profession. An analytics company used the data from the fitness tracker to compare it to the general population in determining that the plaintiff’s activity levels were below average. The fitness tracker was supplied as evidence to show that the plaintiff deserved financial compensation for their accident injury.

While this case shows that fitness trackers can prove useful in injury claims, it is important to note that they can also be used by insurance companies to deny claims and can even be self-incriminating in other types of cases.

In March 2015 a Pennsylvania woman’s fitness tracker was used against her in a criminal case. Her story was proven to be false as her fitness tracker results were used against her and she was charged with filing a false report.

The idea of using fitness tracker technology is pretty new for courts to consider and could make an impact in a personal injury claim, potentially good or bad. In general, the extent of a plaintiff’s physical injury is quantified through medical records. This is why it is so important to seek medical attention immediately if you have been injured in any type of accident that was not your fault so that you have a record of your injury, treatment, and any ongoing problems associated with the injury.

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The death toll on U.S. highways rose 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015.

According to new figures from the Transportation Department, low fuel prices have contributed to a jump in miles driven by Americans.

The preliminary figures represent a “troubling departure” from a general downward trend over the past decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a report released Tuesday.

In 2014, the fatality rate hit an all-time low.

Americans drove about 51.9 billion miles more in the first half of 2015 than the same period last year, which equates to about a 3.5 percent increase, according to the NHTSA. Job growth and low fuel prices also may be factors in the sudden, unexpected surge in highway fatalities, the agency said. There was also more leisure travel and driving by young people, which can contribute to higher fatality rates.

The sad news is that the death rate also increased. Fatalities per million vehicle-miles driven rose in the first half of 2015 was 1.06 percent, or 4.4 percent higher than the same period in 2014.

In final figures for 2014, 32,675 people died in U.S. motor-vehicle crashes, a 0.1 percent decline from 2013. The fatality rate declined to 1.07 deaths per million vehicle-miles traveled, which was a record low for a complete year.

States in the Southeast — Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee — saw a 15 percent increase in fatalities. The second highest increase, 11 percent, was recorded in a group of Western states: Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. California and Arizona saw no increase in fatalities, and the New England region saw an increase of 1 percent.

The biggest factors in traffic fatalities remain the lack of seatbelt use and drunk driving, according to reports. Nearly half of all people killed in road crashes do not wear seat belts, and one-third of all fatalities are in crashes involve intoxicated drivers.

Distracted driving accounted for 3,179 deaths in 2014, about 10 percent of the total. Drowsy driving was involved in 2.6 percent of the fatalities.

States without mandatory motorcycle helmet laws saw a “far higher” number of fatalities than states with mandatory helmet laws, according to reports. There were 1,565 motorcycle deaths in 2014.

Bicyclist deaths declined by 2.3 percent, but pedestrian deaths rose by 3.1 percent from the previous year. In 2014, there were 726 cyclists and 4,884 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes.

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