NEW YORK – The trucking industry is on the rebound and the number of trucks on the road has steadily been increasing since 2010. Although the trend is still far from the industry’s peak in the 1990’s, there’s reason for optimism in the nation’s capital.
A multi-million dollar lobbying push may open U.S. roadways to bigger tractor trailers and, according to some industry watchdogs, more dangerous traveling conditions.
Currently, federal commercial vehicle standards mandate trucks to weigh-in at less than 80,000 pounds and less than 29 feet in length. However, a $55.3 billion transportation spending bill would increase the length restrictions to 33 feet.
“Generally, the larger the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop,” truck accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Adding more weight to a tractor trailer could make highway travel more dangerous without the proper driver training.”
In 2012, large trucks were involved in thousands of crashes, killing 3,921 people and the number of deaths has steadily increased each year since hitting an all-time low in 2009.
In addition to larger trucks, the bill would extend the suspension of the 2013 restart changesto the hours of service rule until the DOT can demonstrate the changes lead to “significant improvement in all outcomes related to safety, operator fatigue, driver health and longevity, and work schedules.”
Currently, drivers can stay behind the wheel of a large truck for up to 82 hours in eight days.
“Driving logs can be some of the first things our lawyers look at when evaluating a truck accident,” Cellino said. “If a truck driver exceeds the maximum amount of time on the road for the week, it’s not only illegal: it can also drastically increase the chances of a serious accident.”
The House Appropriations subcommittee in charge of setting the 2016 DOT budget recommended the plan to a full committee; which can make changes and/or recommend the bill for a later vote on the House floor.
NEW YORK – The number of large truck crashes have steadily been rising since 2010. In the last five years, heavy trucks and buses played a role in over 14,000 fatal accidents. Many researchers believe an improving economy is allowing more companies to put more 18-wheelers on the road and the increased number of trucks can statistically account for the increased number of accidents.
However, new research found the truck’s tires may be directly responsible for crashes. In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied multiple tire blowouts and found that high speed and a lack of maintenance is to blame.
“Truck tires were not made for speeds over 75 miles per hour. Unfortunately, some truck drivers push the speed limit and in some areas, they’re moving at speeds greater than 75 or 80 miles per hour on highways around New York,” truck accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.
New York truck accident lawyers say speed is clearly a factor in many truck crashes and adding special speed limits for trucks and better enforcement of truck lanes could improve highway safety.
“The distance it takes a vehicle to stop greatly increases at higher speeds,” Cellino said. “If large trucks that weigh 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle are going 65, 75, or even 80 miles per hour, that’s a recipe for disaster and it doesn’t matter what kind of tires are on that vehicle.”
NEW YORK – It’s an unfortunate fact about driving: car accidents happen. Studies show motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death around the world and these dangerous accidents occur roughly once every minute.
Crashes become even more dangerous when it involves a tractor-trailer or other large truck. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 4,000 people are killed every year in crashes involving big rigs. Hundreds of thousands more are injured.
“These trucks are often referred to as the lifeblood of the economy. Statistically, they’re also some of the deadliest moving objects in the world,” truck accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.
In the United States alone, more than 300,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes last year. Roughly 3,500 people died as a result of those crashes.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 97 percent of those killed in truck-car collisions were occupants in the smaller car.
Statistics also show truck accidents coincide with economic booms and busts.
“In periods of economic growth, there are more trucks on the road and we see a huge spike in crashes,” Cellino said. “Industries are still feeling the effects of the recession so there aren’t as many trucks on the road right now but that trend is beginning to change.”
Fatal crashes involving large trucks are on the uptick; increasing between 2 and 4 percent each year since 2011.
Tractor trailers often need twice the space for stopping room and blind spots are increased considerably around the truck’s side and rear. Accident attorneys tell drivers to have a heightened awareness while operating around large trucks.
Q: Two and a half years ago my husband suffered a head injury when his car was rear-ended by a large commercial truck. He was in a coma for five days. He now experiences frequent, severe headaches. His short-term memory does not seem to be as good as it used to be and he just seems different in many ways. Are we entitled to be compensated for the way that this has changed our lives?
A: Yes. Your husband’s physicians and other medical providers would be called to testify about the nature of his brain injury, and how his type of brain injury can affect different mental functions such as short-term memory. It is not uncommon for people with “mild” brain trauma to appear to be perfectly normal to the outside world, while family and close friends understand the fundamental changes that the person has experienced.
In these cases, it is the lawyer’s job to make sure that the jury understands the extent to which a brain injured person and his family have been affected by the brain trauma. If your husband has not received thorough neurological and neuropsychological evaluations during the regular course of his medical care, it is imperative that your attorney make appropriate arrangements for these evaluations.
A brain injury of the type that you describe can also affect a person’s ability to earn a living, and may cause a diminution in the person’s earning capacity. These losses are also compensable under New York law.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury or if you have a question, please call a Cellino & Barnes Brain Injury Attorney now at (800) 888-8888 or contact us.
Q: I was driving my SUV during a routine snowfall and was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer truck driver. The truck driver claimed that the roads were slippery and that he could not stop at the stoplight. I was the second vehicle in line and the impact pushed me into the first vehicle. Both my vehicle and the vehicle in front of me were stopped at the time of the impact. My vehicle was totaled and the vehicle in front of me also suffered significant damage.
The driver in front of me hit her head on the steering wheel and suffered a significant gash across her forehead. I suspect she will be left with a nasty scar. I suffered whiplash. I know whiplash sounds suspicious but I can tell you that I can hardly move my neck and the pain radiates down my arms. My hands tingle and feel like they are asleep. I have an appointment to see my doctor. Why would I need a lawyer?
A: In a perfect world you would not need a lawyer, but unfortunately, the insurance company for the defendant knows how to handle matters like this and will likely have a great advantage over you. For instance, you probably have no idea whether you should accept an immediate settlement offer if presented to you by the insurance company.
You also probably have no idea what the case could be worth. You also probably don’t realize that the insurance company will have you examined by one of their “independent doctors” that will likely find that your injury is not serious or is pre-existing. Attorneys often handle these cases on a contingency fee where they do not get paid unless they win a settlement. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident and need legal advice, let the truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes help you.
Q: Last year I was driving on the expressway and I was cut off by a tractor-trailer. He sideswiped the passenger side of my car forcing me into the wall. At first, I didn’t think that I was hurt too badly, but my back was killing for weeks and I finally decided to see a doctor. The doctor ran some tests, and it turned out that I had two blown discs in my back. I had fusion surgery, but now my doctor says that the fusion doesn’t look too good and he might have to go in again.
All I know is that my back is still killing me, and I’m broke because I haven’t been able to work. My no-fault insurance has run out, and I can’t even afford to pay for my pain pills. Where do I go from here?
A: You have the right to be compensated for the way that this accident has damaged your life. If there is any silver lining in your situation, it is the fact that the tractor-trailer that caused your accident probably had a large amount of liability insurance coverage. Typically, trucking companies will carry policies with high liability limits because when big trucks are involved in accidents, people tend to suffer serious injuries.
Whatever the reason might be that the spinal fusion did not take, the insurance carrier for the trucking company will be responsible because the damages flow back to the party who caused the injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident and need truck accident legal advice, let a truck accident lawyer at Cellino and Barnes help you.
Q: Late last year my niece was rear-ended by a Mack truck. The truck driver claimed that his brakes failed and he couldn’t stop. At first, we didn’t think that my niece was hurt too badly. However, they later discovered that she had bleeding into her brain, and she has been left with a partial paralysis on her left side. What do you recommend?
A: The insurance company for the truck will undoubtedly attempt to avoid responsibility for what happened to your niece by claiming that the accident was “unavoidable.” The “brake failure” claim is suspicious, and for this reason it is critical that your niece’s attorney make immediate arrangements to have an expert inspect and evaluate the trucks brakes.
She should not rely on the police investigation, and certainly not on the insurance company’s or the trucking company’s conclusions. The police investigation may not be as thorough as is necessary, and the insurance company’s conclusions will likely be biased and self-serving. Even if the truck’s brakes did fail, there is a significant issue as to the sufficiency of the trucking company’s maintenance program.
Your niece’s attorney will need to obtain all records related to this. If the company had a slipshod brake maintenance program, they should not be permitted to escape responsibility by attempting to claim that the accident could not have been avoided. Your niece obviously suffered life-altering injuries as a result of this accident, and no stone should be left unturned to make sure that she receives the compensation she is due. The truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes are available 24/7 to answer your questions.
I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.