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Highway Safety: Rules Requiring Rest for Tired Truckers at Risk

Paying attention to your own driving can be hard for a number of reasons: bad weather, trackless tires, and distractions in your own vehicle. Paying attention to other drivers on the road is a priority, but it cannot be the only focus.

When you’re driving on the highway, it is important to pay attention to truckers and giving them the space they need to maneuver, but how do you know when a trucker has been sleep deprived?

Although there were always issues surrounding a trucker’s amount of rest, after the devastating and tragic accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan, the headlines began to pay closer attention to the problem.

Rules and RegulationsHighway Safety

Because accidents involving sleep deprivation are one of the leading causes of highway accidents today, officials are doing whatever is necessary to control these situations.

In 2013, the rules were finally changed. Truckers were to reduce their work hours from 82 to 70. A period of 34-hours was mandatory to continue working afterward. These rest periods were to include at least two periods between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and truckers were not to drive more than eleven hours in a day.

Reinforcement

Before the rules were set in place, it was difficult to get truckers to sleep during their shifts. After the rules were set in place, the trucking industry had many qualms with the regulations. First, they had issues telling truckers when they had to sleep and what times they needed to do so. Additionally, removing truckers from the road between the early morning hours caused an increase in trucks on the highway during regular traffic hours leading to a decrease in productivity.

Whether or not these rules will remain is still to be determined.

Why Rules Are Necessary

In 2012, The Department of Transportation suggested that over 3,500 people were killed in accidents involving trucks. While the numbers didn’t show any relation between sleep-deprived drivers, approximately 13% of these crashes involved fatigued drivers. This article suggests that driver-fatigue is the most common cause of crashes involving 18-wheel trucks.

Paying attention to the road can be difficult enough, especially with small children or other drivers, but preparing yourself for truckers and the possibility of an accident with one is simply overwhelming.

Consultation with Professional Truck Accident Lawyers

Getting into an accident with a trucker can be a tough situation to face, especially if you are dealing with life-threatening injuries. While it may be difficult to distinguish whether or not a trucker was too tired to drive, at Fetterman & Associates, PA we will do what is necessary to get the truth and get you the settlement you deserve. Call us at 561-845-2510 for a free consultation and you can get help from experienced professionals regarding your injury claims.

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Laws Created to Reduce Truck Accidents

Truck accident lawyers throughout Florida are hoping that the advent of new laws will reduce truck accidents, making roads safer for car drivers.

Federal Regulations

Fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents. This fact led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the U.S. Department of Transportation to mandate new federal regulations dedicated to reducing fatigue in commercial truck drivers.

Commercial truck drivers work long hours on a daily and weekly basis and are exceptionally prone to fatigue. They must often handle big rigs in tight situations that call for them to be exceptionally alert and dexterous.

The laws, which went into effect on July 1, 2013, were to be issued in every state by the end of an eighteen-month period. By January 2014, all trucking companies had to be in compliance.

New Rules Pertain to Driving Hours

Laws Created to Reduce Truck Accidents
Laws Created to Reduce Truck Accidents

The new federal regulations have reduced truck drivers’ work hours to seventy per week. Formerly, the maximum was eighty-two hours. A seventy-hour work week is acceptable as long as drivers rest for thirty-four consecutive hours during the week, which includes two nights of sleep during the hours that range from 1- 5 a.m.

This is designed to make sure that drivers sleep when their biological body clocks demand them to do so. Drivers must also take a thirty-minute break in the first eight hours of their shift. They may still drive up to eleven hours per week and may work a total of fourteen hours per day.

Truck accident lawyers welcome these changes, as it’s estimated they will save nineteen lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.

Driver Safety Targeted

There are other new federal laws that are concerned with safety. Strict regulations are already in place concerning drinking and driving, as a truck driver can lose his or her commercial license if he or she is operating their personal vehicle or truck with a BAL level of .04. In most states, an individual driving a personal vehicle is considered to be DUI if he or she has a BAL of .08.

New legislation that is in the process of being developed and implemented focuses on the following areas:

● Creating medical qualifications for commercial operators with drivers being evaluated by specially trained personnel. The testing will check for common and dangerous conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea.
● Developing a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for commercial motor vehicle drivers will track a driver and their alcohol or controlled substance intake. The point is to allow commercial trucking firms to screen drivers for drug or alcohol problems.
● The creation of driver information systems for monitoring operators. This will be in effect in the near future. These systems will be used to alert motor carriers to the times when drivers receive moving violations. This will give employers additional information when they conduct drivers’ reviews.

Have You Been Injured?

Truck accident lawyers observe that those who have been the victims of a negligent truck driver should not wait to contact a personal injury lawyer. Doing so may delay or even negate your attempt to receive justice. A personal injury lawyer with experience in winning civil lawsuits for those injured in truck accidents can review your case and guide you to your next steps.

If you have been injured due to the fault of a truck driver, contact Florida truck accident attorney at Fetterman and Associates, PA for a free consultation. Call 561-845-2510 or contact us online to find out how we can help today.

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18-Wheeler Truck Accidents

18 Wheeler Truck Accidents
18 Wheeler Truck Accidents

Semi-trucks, also referred to as 18-wheelers, are on the roads daily in the state of Florida. They help drive Florida’s economy and they are the reason the products you buy are on the shelves at your local retail or department stores.

Unfortunately, semi-trucks are also responsible for multiple deadly and devastating accidents each year. While there are dozens of reasons an 18-wheeler can be involved in an accident, several causes are more common.

If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, 18-wheeler accident lawyers in Florida can help ensure your medical bills, lost wages, and suffering are taken into consideration when obtaining a fair and just settlement.

Common Causes for 18-Wheeler Accidents

Distracted Driving – Whether it is from using a navigation system, or texting or talking on the phone, distracted driving can take an 18-wheeler operator’s eyes away from the road.
Drunk Driving – While rather uncommon for 18-wheeler operators, drinking and driving does happen. Sometimes a driver may have a drink or two on his or her break, only to feel the effects later, resulting in deadly truck accidents.
Driver Fatigue – This is the most common cause for 18-wheeler accidents in the United States. Due to the high pressure on trucking companies to meet delivery demands, coupled with severe labor shortages, more drivers are on the road for twenty-four hours straight without adequate rest. As the driver becomes fatigued, his or her response times are delayed which ultimately causes an accident.
Speeding – When a driver is under pressure to meet a delivery deadline, he or she may speed up to unsafe speeds to meet those demands. Attempting to stop an 18-wheeler in an emergency isn’t easy. This is another reason why truck accidents occur so often.
Weather – Severe or inclement weather, such as ice, snow or rain, can cause an 18-wheeler to lose control, jack-knife or slide into other vehicles.
Improper Maintenance – Because some trucking companies don’t have the time to take a truck out of commission for maintenance and repairs, these trucks then become prone to accidents. For example, brakes or tires were not properly replaced, leading to tire blowouts.

Hire an 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer in Florida Now

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, contact the attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA today. We offer free consultations and have extensive knowledge of trucking accident claims so we can help you receive the settlement needed to help you recover from serious injuries. Call us today at 561-845-2510.

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Blown Out Tires Lead to Tragic Truck Accidents

Blown Out Tires Lead to Tragic Truck AccidentsTruck accidents are often caused by defective tires. Truck tire blowouts are often due to serious road hazards often resulting in fatal accidents and severe injuries.
Most of us have witnessed the remnants of a blown truck tire tossed across the highway at one point or another. We’ve likely even had to perform some skillful maneuvering in order to avoid running over those ‘road gators’ (as they’re referred to) or to avoid them hitting our cars after the vehicle in front of us ran over them.
Did you know that debris that litters the highway causes more than 25,000 collisions and over 100 fatalities every year in Canada and the United States? According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, blown tire pieces are the number one debris in the road.

Proper Inflation Importance

Research has proven that the majority of scrap rubber and tire debris on the road is caused by under-inflated tires, making a tire prone to flats and cuts. As a tire on a truck comes apart, it often can cause a failure within other tires, either from a debris puncture or from additional tires carrying a disproportionate share of the load, causing tire failure and overheating.
The majority of tire-associated truck accidents are caused by improper tire inflation. These collisions are avoidable; truckers should maintain the right level of inflation for a given load and tire size. It isn’t the tire, yet the air inside a tire which carries the vehicle’s weight, absorbs shock and will keep the tire within its correct shape in order for it to operate as designed. It’s the one of the most important factors for ensuring a long and safe tire life.
Tires flex as they roll, bending the rubber and steel cords on a tire. The flexing generates heat, and tire wear includes the consequence of friction developed between the surface of the road and the tread as the tire is rolling along. Heat includes the worst enemy of a tire. A tire which is improperly inflated doesn’t roll as easily and smoothly as it was made to roll.
As tires are over-inflated, excess wear happens at the core of the tread because it’ll bear most of the truck’s weight. Over-inflated tires usually don’t absorb road hazards such as potholes and debris in the road, raising the risk of impact damage or sustaining a puncture.

Safety Steps

Tire pressure only should be checked when the tire is cool. Once a truck has been driven, the tires warm up and there’s an increase in air pressure, which results in an inaccurate reading. Upon driving a truck, a tire that is hot may take several hours to cool.
Alignment and tire pressure must be checked on a consistent basis. When inspecting his or her truck, a truck driver must look out for tire injuries and wheel problems. Rubbing your hand alongside the sidewalls and tread to feel for issues such as cuts, flat spots, bulges, shoulder wear, sidewall damage, etc. is a good method to checking for obvious issues. These quick and simple checks may assist you in avoiding, or at least minimizing the amount of catastrophic collisions.

Truck Accident Lawyer West Palm Beach

Truck Accident Lawyers in Florida at Fetterman & Associates, PA is ready to fight for you if you have been the victim of negligence in a truck accident. We offer comprehensive legal services to those who have been involved in serious commercial truck accidents. Contact us today at 561-983-4584. We’re ready to represent you and ensure that you receive justice.

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Truck Accidents in Florida Each Year

How Many Truck Accidents Are There Each Year in Florida?

Truck accidents are increasing at an alarming rate in the state of Florida. An accident with a truck or other commercial vehicle isn’t like an accident involving a car or other small vehicle. The results of a truck accident are often devastating.

Truck Accident Statistics

● Every sixteen minutes a person is gravely injured or killed in a truck-related accident in the United States.
● There are over 400,000 accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks each year in the United States.
● Tractor-trailer trucks account for 140,000 injuries each year.
● An estimated 3,700 passenger vehicle drivers and passengers are killed in a car accident with a truck each year in the United States.
● Fatigue is the most common cause of truck accidents.

Why Are the Numbers So High?

Truck Accidents in FloridaTruck accident numbers continue to climb throughout the United States, and especially in Florida. This is because the state of Florida relies on trucking companies to import and export goods, which helps build the state’s economy. As a result, because there are so many trucks on the road in the state, the number of accidents is expected to increase.

Many trucking companies are facing a shortage in drivers. As a result, there aren’t enough qualified drivers to keep up with delivery demands. The trucking workforce is shrinking and companies are finding it difficult to locate and hire qualified truck drivers. Additionally, the truck driver turnover rate is substantially high. As a result, many drivers are forced to drive more than eight hours per day (which is never recommended) in order to keep up with demands.

Some common reasons truck accident lawyers in Florida have to file suit include:

● Fatigued Driving
● Inexperience
● Alcohol or Drugs
● Overloaded Trucks
● Poorly Maintained Trucks (especially brakes)
● Distracted Drivers
● Poorly Maintained Safety Systems
● Failure to Yield
● Driving or Veering off the Road

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Truck Accident?

The damage from a truck-related accident is likely to be severe to a driver of a passenger vehicle. Even if the truck driver was not found at fault, there may be a third party that is responsible for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. It is in your best interest to contact truck accident lawyers in Florida to handle your case.

The attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA Law Team are your truck accident lawyers in Florida. We have handled hundreds of truck accidents throughout the state of Florida and we can represent you during your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 561-666-9850.

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Truck Accidents are Not the Same as Car Accidents

Any type of motor vehicle accident has the potential to create devastating results including property damage, personal injury or death. But, truck accidents have the propensity to do much more damage than your average car accident; therefore, they should not be treated as an ordinary car accident.

The laws truck drivers must abide by vary from cars as well as insurance coverages. There are distinct differences between an accident involving a truck and one involving two-passenger vehicles.

Commercial Truck Drivers Have Different Laws

Truck Accidents are Not the Same as Car Accidents
Truck Accidents are Not the Same as Car Accidents

There are various state and federal laws that impose rules and restrictions on commercial truck operators. If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck or other commercial truck, these laws must be assessed and it must be determined if the driver violated those laws.

Commercial are held to certain restrictions for the following:

  • A limited number of driving hours in a period of time.
  • The use of a cell phone or other device.
  • How the truck is maintained.
  • What the truck is carrying (i.e. hazardous materials, etc.)

Potential Vicarious Liability Problems

Unlike your average automobile accident, truck accidents have a variety of liabilities to consider. Some liabilities can include determining whether the driver was an employee or contractor of the trucking company, if the driver was acting within the duties of his or her job during the time of the accident, and whether or not the driver was detouring from his or her required path.

There Are More Parties Involved

Accidents with commercial trucks or vehicles typically involve lawyers and other parties. Not only are you suing the driver that caused the accident, but you could be suing their employer, the company that manufactured parts for that vehicle or even the company responsible for maintaining the vehicle.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today

The Law Team at Fetterman & Associates, PA can help you with your truck accident case. We have experience in the trucking industry and understand the vicarious liability issues you may face. Contact us for a no obligation consultation by dialing 561-316-2746 or fill out an online inquiry form.

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Defective Equipment Causing Truck Accidents

Truck accidents aren’t always caused by driving negligence. Every day poorly maintained trucks alone lead to deadly and serious collisions. As a matter of fact, the Department of Transportation has reports that show nearly 30 percent of all collisions are caused by malfunctions with a truck’s brake system.

The Department of Transportation, in 2010, instituted a CSA (Compliance Safety Accountability) program to further ensure the security of big rigs on our nation’s highways. Every truck has to be CSA compliant, and a large portion of that compliance is making sure that trucks are maintained properly.

Tires, lighting, and braking must be three main aspects of the maintenance schedule of a truck. A poorly lit or unlit truck, failed brakes, or busted tire all could lead to accidents.

Defective Equipment Causing Truck Accidents

The CSA program expects motorists to regularly check these main components prior to driving a truck. If the truck’s CSA ratings indicate recurrent issues with tires, lights, or brakes, someone may be held liable for negligence within the instance of a collision which causes death or severe injury.

However, who’s held liable? The liability may lie with multiple parties:

Truck driver: If a driver of a truck was responsible for regularly inspecting his or her truck yet was negligent in doing this, he or she might be responsible for your injuries.

Trucking company: If a truck driver reported an issue to the trucking company yet they did not repair it, or if the company was responsible for rig maintenance and inspection, they might be liable for all accidents.

Parts manufacturer: If the brakes or additional parts were correctly inspected and maintained yet failed due to a defect in manufacturing, the manufacturer might be liable.

Traumatic brain injury, chronic back problems, and severe disabilities all are long term issues which can occur in victims fortunate enough to survive truck accidents.Emotional and physical maladies that result from a collision deserve compensation for lifestyle changes, medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.

Read Also :-

If you’ve been injured in a collision, or if you’ve lost a family member to a truck accident, you may qualify for a proper settlement. Poorly maintained trucks may be the reason for the accident. Contact a lawyer who specializes in truck accidents as soon as you can to assist in ensuring adequate compensation for all injuries.

Contact Aggressive & Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers in Florida Today

The Law Team at Fetterman & Associates is ready to fight for you if you have been the victim of negligence in a truck accident. We offer comprehensive legal services to those who have been involved in serious commercial truck accidents. Contact us toll free at 561-845-2510 or fill out our easy inquiry form. Our experienced truck accident attorneys are ready to represent you and ensure that you receive justice.

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Florida Truck Accidents May Increase Due to Driver Shortages in 2014

So often truck accidents and personal injuries to other drivers and to pedestrians are caused by either truck driver fatigue or inexperience. There’s a problem looming that may cause truck collisions to increase due to both fatigue and inexperience. These include a shortage of drivers and new regulations governing the trucking industry.

Truck Driver Age Issues

Florida Truck Accidents May IncreaseDriver shortages in the trucking industry are related to numerous issues, including the aging population in the U.S. The median age for Americans according to the U.S. census in 2000 was 35.3. In 2010, it stood at 37.2, and the fact is we are not getting any younger. In some regions, it is at 40 years old. Estimates say that since the census in 2010, the population’s median age is close to 39 years.

With an aging population, the number of competent drivers who are able to deal with the physical and mental rigors of driving a commercial truck will continue to shrink.

Shrinking Commercial Trucking Workforce

Another problem has to do with the shrinking labor force in the U.S. This is linked to age, and in terms of fewer truck drivers being available, it is connected to people migrating to white collar jobs and the high tech industry.

Big Rig Truck Driver Turnover Rate

The trucking industry has a high turnover rate. In 2012, during the third quarter, the turnover rate was 104% according to the ­­ American Trucking Association, with some positions seeing a change more than one during that short time. That’s an alarming figure when connected to commercial truck driving accidents where a large percentage of accidents are attributed to driver inexperience.

More 18 Wheeler Drivers Needed

New regulations mean that more drivers are needed, which, once again, may result in drivers who are not experienced enough driving commercial trucks and being put into situations for which they are not ready. New rules have lowered the number of hours of service per week that a driver may put in by 12%. Jobs should be plentiful, but who will fill them and how long will they stay in them? Plus, there are always those times when drivers violate rules concerning hour of service, which does occur.

Florida 18 Wheeler Truck Accidents

Florida, which ships large amounts of produce and various products all over the country, is a major player in the trucking industry. Concerns regarding shortages and a rise in truck accidents and personal injury claims are based on trends, facts, and factors that indicate there will be greater stress and strain on those who drive.

If you have been injured due to a commercial truck driver’s negligence, which may be connected to distracted operation, fatigue, inexperience, or other issues, it’s important to contact an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law. If you have questions concerning injuries and losses associated with a commercial truck accident, contact the Law Team at Fetterman and Associates at (561) 845-2510. You may also contact us by filling out the form on the right side of this page.

We’ll gladly arrange an appointment with our experienced truck accident attorneys where you may ask questions and have your case assessed. If we feel it would be to your benefit to pursue a civil suit, and you would like to do so, we’ll represent you in your personal liability suit.

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