Articles Tagged with Truck Accidents

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A recent car accident involving a truck may result in an investigation as to who was at fault and whether there was negligence involved. The accident happened on Long Island and involved a garbage truck and a BMW. The accident apparently happened at about 4 a.m. in an intersection. The two vehicles collided, killing both individuals in the BMW. When the vehicles collided, there was apparently a very loud explosion of flames.

Police say the accident was so serious that it was hard to identify the two individuals who died in the BMW. Authorities took the driver of the garbage truck to the hospital.

When a smaller vehicle is involved in an accident with a truck, no matter the size, the outcome is often quite serious. Smaller vehicles are often no match for these large vehicles. Whether it’s a garbage truck or a semi, there are a variety of reasons why a truck accident might occur.

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The number of individuals expected to die in trucking accidents during the coming year exceeds the numbers of those who have died in commercial airline accidents during the past 45 years. According to a New York Times opinion piece, there is increased suspicion that the trucking industry is getting off too easily when accidents occur. And there are concerns that Congress is not creating the kinds of regulations that will help improve these circumstances.

Recently, Congress has made proposals allowing for truckers to work a maximum of 82 hours per week rather than 70 hours of work over an eight-day period. House members also apparently have discouraged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from making investments in wireless technology used to monitor drivers and their trucks. Congress has shown a willingness to approve of heavier and longer trucks used upon the roads which will create dangers. And there has been discussion of reducing the minimum age of drivers who travel interstate from 21 to 18.

Truck crash fatalities rose 17 percent from 2009 until 2013. While deaths due to truck fatalities rose during these four consecutive years, car drivers, truck drivers and passengers are commonly the victims of such crashes.

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There are many car accidents occurring across our country on a daily basis. Some may be just one-vehicle accidents with minor damage while others may involve several cars and a complicated pileup. We know that a lot of accidents occur on Interstate 90 and Interstate 81 near Syracuse, but we also have to take into consideration that some of these accidents involve semis. Large commercial trucks and semis use these interstates to move products within New York and to other states.

Although some of the over-the-road drivers are very experienced at what they do, they still end up working extremely long hours. Those long hours and overnight drives can cause them to be fatigued, which could result in an unfortunate accident with another vehicle on the freeway.

So what happens when you are involved in a truck accident? Oftentimes the injuries that come from such an accident are tragic, either resulting in long-term disability or death. Weighing up to 40 tons, these trucks can cause a lot of damage to any vehicle that may be hit.

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We note on our legal website the often devastating consequences that ensue for New York drivers and occupants in passenger vehicles when they become involved in crashes or collisions featuring large commercial trucks.

In fact, we cite the obvious regarding big rigs on the Syracuse Truck Accident page at the personal injury law firm of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, noting that, given their unrivaled size and weight, “they can readily mow over, crush or crumple a two-ton car.”

That is flatly scary. Moreover, the prospect of such accident outcomes might readily conjure up in the minds of drivers in passenger cars and trucks other factors that increase the accident odds for 18-wheel rigs and other highway behemoths.

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In a number of our posts, we have highlighted the dangers that semi-truck pose to the driving public. Indeed, truck drivers are specially trained to handle the largest vehicles on the road, but there are a number of myths that are prevalent that could lead to truck accidents. Through this post, we will highlight these myths and the truths that dispel them. 

Myth: Truck drivers don’t need seatbelts – The truth is that truck drivers, like drivers and passengers in cars, need to wear their seatbelts. Even though a truck driver is not likely to be crushed when involved in an accident, he or she still runs the risk of being thrown from the vehicle. Because of this, truckers must wear their seatbelts.

Myth: Truck drivers are capable of driving fast in bad weather – The truth is that excessive speed increases the risk of an accident in ideal weather conditions, and that risk increases when road conditions deteriorate. So when roads are wet or packed with snow or ice, truckers must reduce their speed just like everyone else.

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We have noted in a number of our posts that semi trucks are the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Their size may be helpful in transporting large quantities of goods from region to region across New York and the northeast, but they also post a danger to common motorists. For instance, the average size of a semi truck is 20,000 tons (i.e. 40,000 pounds), where a car may weigh in at 3,000 pounds.

That does not bode well for those in passenger vehicles. Because of this danger, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sponsored national Brake Safety Week. The purpose is to make sure that trucks and buses across the nation are in compliance with national safety rules. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, braking violations make up the largest portion of out-of-service violations found during roadside inspections. 

Properly functioning braking systems should be of the utmost importance for truck drivers, trucking companies, law enforcement agencies and the public alike. After all, if a large vehicle has trouble slowing down and stopping, it is an accident waiting to happen. As such, state and federal officials conducted safety checks to identify loose or missing parts, worn brake pads, rotors and drums, as well as potential problems with hydraulic fluid.

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The end of the summer driving season does not mean that trucks become less dangerous as fall arrives. In fact, drivers must be more aware of trucks as road conditions deteriorate in the coming months.

While the roads have not become terrible yet, the days are getting shorter, which means it is more likely to encounter trucks at night. Nevertheless, regardless of the time of day you encounter a truck, there are a number of things drivers should do to avoid accidents with the behemoths of the highway.

This post will highlight a couple of them. 

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The trucking industry can be a brutal, unforgiving, and time sensitive business. This means that things that keep trucks off the road and moving are dealt with harshly. Suffice it to say, traffic is the enemy. Weigh stations are received with disdain. And illnesses? They happen, but it is more likely than not that a driver will be behind the wheel while sick and even tired.

While time is of the essence to trucking companies, pushing drivers too far may result in severe penalties. Such was the case with a company that was forced to pay $20,000 to a driver who was punished because he refused to drive because he was under the weather. 

According to a recent overdriveonline.com report, the trucking company had suspended the driver without pay for reportedly refusing to dry because he was feeling ill. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) assessed the punitive damages because the company had a policy that encouraged drivers to drive despite being sick or exhausted. The company disagreed with the assessment, and vowed to appeal it to federal court.

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In many of our posts on the trucking industry, we note that semi-trucks are very dangerous because of their size, and that accidents with passenger vehicles can be deadly. Additionally, we highlight how injury victims face long roads of recovery, and how many are not compensated commensurate with their injuries.

However, we tend not to focus on the problems that lead to these accidents; namely excessive speed and fatigue. These elements are important because they factor into the time frames that truckers have to deal with in order to deliver goods by a certain time. These times may not take into account the wait times that truckers may not have any control over, and the delays caused by traffic and weather. 

Because of this, truckers may be forced to work more than what is allowed under federal guidelines, and not receive the proper rest that would keep them sharp while behind the wheel, all the while not getting paid what they deserve.

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It is no secret that driving a semi-truck is a dangerous job. With how large these vehicles are, and how many people are hurt in truck accidents each year, drivers must be careful about how they operate their vehicles around big rigs. At the same time, truck drivers must be vigilant as well. There are a number of things they can do to reduce the risk of being in an accident. This post will highlight a few of them. 

Check blind spots before lane changes – Just like drivers must check their blind spots for smaller vehicles (i.e. motorcycles), truck drivers have to use additional care in looking for cars that may be in their “no zones.” A wrong move by a truck driver in these instances can have devastating consequences.

Slow down in work zones – Indeed, most highways and streets call for vehicles to slow down in work zones, but sometimes people just don’t do so. If you need a reminder of how devastating a work zone accident can be, look no further than last year’s truck accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan; who still has not recovered from his injuries.

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