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Articles Posted in Truck Accident

Accidents involving 18-wheelers are more likely to result in serious injury and death due to the sheer size and weight of these massive vehicles. Fortunately, most large truck accidents are preventable. Unfortunately, when accidents are caused by the negligence, substance abuse, or inadequate training of the truck driver, unsuspecting occupants of passenger vehicles may have little control of what happens next. That is why defensive driving is the number one way to avoid being involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer. And in order to drive defensively, one must never be distracted.

Top 10 Causes of Trucking Accidents

In some cases, a passenger vehicle driver is responsible for a collision with a truck. But the fault often lies with the truck driver, trucking company, or a third party. The top 10 causes of trucking accidents are:

  • Speeding
  • Truck driver fatigue
  • Cargo shifting or improper loading
  • Truck driver’s failure to obey the rules of the road
  • Under-inflated tires on large trucks
  • Truck driver substance abuse
  • Faulty or defective truck parts
  • Improper braking
  • Blind spots
  • Truck driver’s reckless or careless driving

With proper training, many of the factors above can be dramatically reduced. However, problems such as speeding, fatigue and substance abuse may indicate a more deeply-seated problem. The industry culture around trucking often promotes excessively-long hours and rewards speedy deliveries. For these reasons, speeding and driver fatigue are a very real problem. Trucking can also be a lonely job, and one that requires the driver to stay awake for extended periods of time. For this reason, substance abuse is a common issue, and many truck drivers battle addiction. A Boston trucking accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a large truck.

Trucking Accident Statistics

  • According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the number of truck accidents has increased by 20 percent over the last two decades.
  • Fatal large truck accidents cost more than $20 billion annually in the United States alone.
  • Driver fatigue is a factor in about 30 percent of all large truck accidents.
  • Approximately 130,000 people are injured in trucking accidents annually.

Who is Responsible?

Determining who is responsible for a trucking accident can be an extremely complex process. There may be multiple parties involved, including the:

  • Truck driver
  • Truck owner
  • Trucking company
  • Truck or parts manufacturer
  • Shipper of the truck’s cargo
  • Loader of the truck’s cargo

In some cases, only one party is responsible for a trucking accident. Other times, multiple parties are on the hook. For example, if an improperly-loaded cargo caused a truck to veer into oncoming traffic, the loading or shipping company may be responsible. But if the fatigued driver didn’t turn the wheel in time to stop the accident, he may be liable for continuing to drive while fatigued, and the trucking company may be liable for encouraging him to drive the excessive hours that led to his fatigue. A MA trucking accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a trucking accident. Continue reading

When passenger vehicles are involved in accidents with large trucks, the outcome is rarely good. Due to their sheer size and weight, collisions with tractor-trailers are often deadly. This is especially true when high speeds are involved. Unfortunately, truck drivers are often on the road for extended periods of time due to the time-sensitive nature of their loads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented hours-of-service regulations to prevent drivers from working excessive hours. However, it’s not uncommon for trucking companies to ignore these rules. And even when followed, the rules allow for 11 hours of driving time per day. If you’ve ever been behind the wheel for 11 hours, you know how tiring it can be.

Tips for Avoiding a Large Truck-Passenger Vehicle Collision

Sometimes it’s the truck driver’s fault. Sometimes it’s the passenger vehicle driver’s fault. Sometimes the accident is a result of bad weather or a mechanical defect. Whatever the scenario, the tips below will help you avoid becoming a statistic in a collision with a large truck. And if you’ve been injured in a large truck accident, a skilled Boston truck accident lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

  • Avoid driving in the truck driver’s blind spot, located directly behind the truck and beside it, near the rear.
  • Never change lanes abruptly in front of, and in close proximity to, a truck.
  • If a truck is making a right turn, do not attempt to maneuver to its right side.
  • Avoid making a left turn in front of a rapidly approaching truck.
  • If you wish to pass a truck, make sure you have sufficient headway.
  • Air turbulence and cross-wind from a large truck can be dangerous, especially for smaller vehicles. If you are passing a truck, use caution.
  • Do not drive between large trucks.

Common Causes of Accidents Caused by Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies

Truck accidents can be caused by improperly trained, fatigued, or negligent truck drivers. The best line of defense against these types of accidents is to always be vigilant when driving near a large truck. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by a cell phone, the radio, or conversation with a passenger. A MA truck accident lawyer can help if you’ve been injured by a negligent truck driver or trucking company. Accidents caused by truck drivers and trucking companies are often due to:

  • Improper or inadequate training
  • Unrealistic delivery schedules that promote speeding
  • Driver fatigue
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

Large Truck Accident Statistics

  • Nearly 4,000 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2014.
  • Almost 35 percent of truck drivers who are fatally-injured in truck accidents tested positive for at least one type of illegal drug.
  • The most commonly used drugs among truck drivers involved in fatal accidents are alcohol and marijuana, followed by cocaine. Amphetamines, methamphetamines, and other stimulants were also present in the systems of many fatally-injured truck drivers.
  • Drug and alcohol use is the second biggest contributing factor for accidents involving large trucks.
  • More than 60 percent of fatal truck accidents occur in rural areas.
  • Most fatal truck accidents occur on the weekends.

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As a Boston Law Firm that handles all types of accident cases, we follow how technology can help provide safer roadways, and how technology can help identify causes of accidents. The Highway Loss Data Institute conducted a safety analysis of crash avoidance technology to determine its effectiveness in preventing car accidents. Examples of crash-avoidance technology include park assist and autonomous braking features, lane departure warnings, and blind-spot detection. The study revealed that certain forms of this technology are quite effective, while others can actually contribute to accidents. Contact a Boston Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today.

While the study revealed that park assist features and blind-spot detection haven’t yet proven to be helpful or harmful, other features were actually associated with an increase in accidents. Lane departure warnings, for example, appear to cause an uptick in collisions. In addition to lane departure warnings, the study, which looked at Mercedes, Acura, and Volvo vehicles, examined various crash-avoidance features, including forward-collision warning systems, and adaptive headlights.

Features that Work

Forward collision warning systems alert drivers if they are moving toward other traffic too quickly. In addition to a warning signal, this feature may also automatically decrease the vehicle’s speed through the use of autonomous brakes. According to the report, there was a 14% crash reduction in the Mercedes and Acura vehicles with this feature. Volvos with this feature also experienced a lesser incidence of crashes, with a 10% reduction compared to vehicles without the system.

Adaptive headlights also appear to reduce the incidence of crashes, with accidents in these vehicles dropping by 10%. According to Matt Moore, the institute’s vice president, “These lights appear to help in more situations than we anticipated, though we don’t yet know why.”

Features that Hurt

As mentioned above, lane departure warnings are actually associated with a slight increase in accident claims. Although more research has to be conducted to determine the cause of this increase, there is some speculation that the problem can be blamed on the emerging, and as yet imperfect, technology. Warning signals may be inaccurate at times, resulting in an inappropriate reaction. “It may be that drivers are getting too many false alarms, which could make them tune out the warnings or turn them off completely,” said Moore. According to Consumer Reports, this inaccuracy can be especially problematic on windy, two-lane roads.

Moore believes that with further developments, the increase in accidents can see a turnaround. For example, a feature that autonomously forces the vehicle to remain in its lane could make the lane departure warning system more effective at crash prevention. In addition, warning signals can become so commonplace that drivers begin to ignore them. For instance, blind-spot monitoring detects large objects on the side of the car, including other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. As cars are constantly passing these objects, the warning signal – often a light – goes on frequently. Although many people find this feature helpful, it can also be easy to ignore. Continue reading

As one of the leading causes of death in the United States, motor vehicle accidents concern us all. Fortunately, the vast majority of auto accidents are not fatal. Approximately 80 people are killed on US roads every day, but more than 5 million non-fatal crashes are reported annually. Fatal crashes typically involve a drunk driver, speeding, distracted driving, or inclement weather. We have listed the top 5 causes of motor vehicle accidents below. Avoid engaging in these dangerous behaviors to dramatically reduce your risk of being seriously injured or killed in a crash. Contact a Boston Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today.

Top 5 Causes of Auto Accidents

  • Speeding: We’ve all been guilty of driving over the speed limit at some point in our lives. Maybe you’re running late for work, or you have to get to the school bus on time. Even driving 10 miles above the speed limit increases your chances of being involved in a crash. Speed limits are set for a reason. If you’re driving too fast for a particular area, you may be unable to respond to road hazards, animals running into the road, vehicles backing out of driveways, or cars entering from blind corners. Although arriving late can be a major inconvenience, it’s certainly better than expensive property damage, painful injuries, or death.
  • Distracted driving: In the age of smart phones and other electronic devices, distracted driving has become increasingly deadly. Although texting is one of the main types of distracted driving, it is far from the only type. Adjusting navigation systems or the stereo, applying make-up, talking to passengers, and talking on the phone all take your attention from the road. Even minor distractions can prove fatal. As one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents today, distracted driving concerns all Americans. In response to this growing problem, many states have enacted laws to combat distracted driving, such as banning cell phone use while driving.
  • Driving under the influence: Any amount of drugs or alcohol in your system impairs your ability to drive. Up to 20,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes every year. Avoid driving under the influence by always choosing a designated driver before you go out. The importance of this cannot be overstated. We have worked with countless clients whose lives have been forever changed because of a drunk driver.
  • Fatigued driving: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 100,000 reported crashes are due to driver fatigue every year. These result in over 1,500 deaths and about 71,000 injuries. The groups most at risk for fatigued or drowsy driving include adults between the ages of 18 and 29, adults with children in the household, men, shift workers, individuals who are sleep deprived, and those with sleep disorders

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On Tuesday afternoon, a tire came off the rear axle of a Dodge RAM pickup truck while the driver was headed southbound on Route 128 in Lexington. According to David Procopio, a spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police, the tire came loose, crossed the jersey barrier, and struck another vehicle in the northbound lane at approximately 1:15 p.m. Sadly, the driver of that vehicle, a Toyota Camry, was fatally wounded in the accident. Contact a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Today.

Flying Wheel Strikes Two Vehicles

The fatally injured operator of the Camry was 26-year-old Charles Hu of Lexington, MA. According to police, the left rear wheel of a 1997 Dodge RAM broke free from the rear axle of that vehicle. The preliminary investigation indicates that once the wheel came free, it crossed the median, struck and bounced off a Toyota Highlander, and then struck the victim’s Camry. The collision caused serious damage to the Camry’s roof and windshield and resulted in fatal injuries to the driver. According to police, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The 50-year-old Braintree man who was driving the Toyota Highlander escaped without injury.

Cause of the Accident Still Under Investigation

The driver of the Dodge RAM was a 19-year-old Amesbury woman. Currently, no charges have been brought against her. However, the Massachusetts State Police are continuing to investigate the fatal accident and will determine if she was at fault once the investigation has been completed. The State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section will assist Troop A of the Massachusetts State Police with the investigation. The Mass Department of Transportation and Lexington Fire and EMS also assisted at the scene. The name of the Amesbury woman will only be released if charges are filed against her. Continue reading

The East Street Bridge in Westwood, Massachusetts has a long history of causing problems for trucks that exceed the height limit posted at the entrance of the bridge. Despite this warning, many individuals have attempted to pass under the bridge anyway—but a majority of those vehicles do not emerge unscathed. The latest victim of this low bridge was a box truck that had its roof scraped off while the driver attempted to pass underneath the bridge despite the various warnings. This incident took place on Thursday, and residents in the surrounding area are not surprised at the latest development.

Westwood Police Officers received a call at approximately 3:00 PM Thursday reporting that a box truck delivering food was traveling toward Route 128 when they struck the East Street Bridge—sheering off the roof of the vehicle. Refrigerator insulation spilled from the truck following the collision and the road subsequently became littered with debris. Local residents say that this is just the latest in a series of events where they have seen a wide range of items spilled across the road following crashes underneath the bridge. Anything from Twinkies to ice cream and now to refrigerator insulation could be found covering the street after a collision. Approximately $40,000 has been spent to provide signs and warnings around the bridge to inform drivers of its 10 foot 6 inch height clearance. The warnings are often disregarded, and Westwood residents and law enforcement officials are left to deal with the aftermath.

On Thursday afternoon, resident Scott Charland said he heard the impact of the crash and was concerned for the safety and well-being of those who may have been involved. Reports have not indicated that anyone was injured in the crash which is a welcomed relief for those who have had to witness so many accidents in the past few years. According to reports, there were 15 crashes at the bridge site in 2014 alone. The East Bridge is operated by the MBTA, as their commuter rail line passes over it. The MBTA also had an incident with one of their buses causing an accident at the same site a few years prior. Efforts have been taken in order to prevent any further damages from arising, but so far it seems as though those efforts have been in vain.

Driver fatigue may be a huge contributing factor in accidents that take place nationwide. An accident that took place just last year could have been the direct result of a driver who had simply been on the road for too long and wasn’t as acutely aware of his surroundings as he should have been. Comedian Tracy Morgan was one of the victims of this particular accident—he suffered head trauma from the accident as well as a broken leg and broken ribs; he was also in a coma for two weeks due to the extent and severity of the injuries he suffered. One of the other passengers in the limousine that was carrying Morgan and friends that was struck during the accident was a fellow comedian by the name of James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, who subsequently died from the injuries he sustained during the crash.

The accident occurred on a New Jersey turnpike that was under construction at that time. A Wal-Mart truck operated by driver Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Ga., slammed into the back of the limousine carrying Tracy Morgan and his friends. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has stated that Roper had reportedly been awake for over 28 hours when the accident occurred—an issue that may have impaired Roper’s ability to react clearly while on the road. In addition to the driver fatigue Kevin Roper may have been suffering, he was also in excess of the 45 MPH speed limit posted in accordance with the construction zone he was traveling through before striking the limousine. The NTSB has indicated that due to the excessive speed Roper was traveling at, he started a chain reaction involving 21 individuals in 6 vehicles after colliding with the back of the van-like limousine. Information about the additional individuals who were involved in the accident and the injuries they sustained was not immediately divulged. Continue reading

 

Any type of auto accident can cause serious injury and even death, but those involving large trucks can be particularly devastating. Due to the sheer size and weight of a large truck (in excess of 10,000 pounds), accidents are far more likely to involve multiple car collisions and result in death.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a report in 2007 that highlighted the most common causes of truck accidents. The “Large Truck Causation Study” report is the first of its kind to examine the wide scope of factors that contribute to large commercial truck accidents. Using a nationwide sample of 967 crashes, researchers concluded that certain circumstances are most prevalent in truck accidents. Below is a list of the most common trucking accident causes, and their corresponding level of risk. Continue reading

A jury has awarded a 40-year-old woman $32.5 million for injuries she sustained in a 2006 truck crash. Kristen Zak, then 31, sustained a traumatic brain injury and developed partial paralysis after the car she was a passenger in slid on any icy patch of road and into a median. There it collided with a transport truck that had crashed into the median just an hour before.

According to the plaintiff’s truck crash attorneys, trucker Terry Brown Jr. had been going too fast and did not follow safety regulations, which required him to put out reflective triangles and turn on the disabled truck’s flashing lights. The jury found Brown and J.B. Hunt Transport 30% liable for Zak’s injuries. Matt Robison, who was driving the car she had been riding when the accident happened, was found 40% liable.

After the truck crash, Zak, who now also suffers from serious cognitive deficits, was left wheelchair-bound and unable to take care of her young daughter or recognize the man who was fiancé.

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Worcester, Mass. – A fatal accident involving two pedestrians and a tractor-trailer occurred Thursday evening, just after 9:30 pm. When police arrived at Kelley Square, they found 24-year-old Sarah Ewing pinned under the truck’s rear wheels.

Witnesses said the driver of the 18-wheeler pulled to the side of Millbury Street to let a fire truck pass, then entered Kelley Square and attempted a right-hand turn toward I-290’s on-ramp. According to a preliminary investigation, the truck apparently cut the turn too sharply resulting in a collision with a light pole. The two pedestrians involved in the accident were standing by the light pole at the time of the collision. Upon impact, the pole began to fall, forcing the pedestrians to run in the direction of the truck to avoid being struck by the falling pole.

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