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Authorities: Truck Behind I-90 Crash in Chautauqua

/ News, Truck Accident /

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Authorities investigating a deadly rollover crash say the incident was caused by a truck driver after a tractor-trailer rear-ended a vehicle on I-90 in Chautauqua County, south of Buffalo.

According to WGRZ-TV, Volodymyr Haperin, 41, of Ontario was driving a tractor-trailer between Exit 59 and Exit 58 in Chautauqua County on Wednesday when he struck the back of a Chevy Silverado pick-up truck. Police told reporters that Rush Addair, 81, of Indianapolis, Indiana was driving the pick-up with Iesha Lampton, 21, as a passenger.

As a result of the collision, Rush Addair lost control of the truck and was ejected. Iesha Lampton suffered minor injuries and the truck driver, Haperin, was not injured in the crash.

A Buffalo truck accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says truck accidents like these continue to plague local roads and highways.

“Truck crashes have been on the rise since 2009 and those in passenger vehicles often suffer the most devastating injuries,” truck accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Victims of truck crashes and their families can have a lot of questions. Who’s responsible? What about the loss of wages? How can I pay the medical bills or the funeral costs? An experienced lawyer can often help answer these questions.”

The Buffalo truck accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have been investigating truck crashes for over 50 years and Barnes says a thorough investigation is imperative.

“Truck drivers can travel thousands of miles each and can put in over 65 hours behind the wheel each week” Barnes said. “Exhaustion can be a real concern and it has been a factor in many truck crashes. We also know that truck drivers are more distracted today than ever before and these factors need to be looked at as possible crash causes.”

Barnes said there are other factors that he looks at every time he investigates a truck crash. Truck maintenance of both the cab and the trailer, accident history, the driver’s log books, the weight and distribution of the load, speed for the road conditions, pickup and drop off points, planned route information, was the driver behind schedule, last refueling point and discussions with witnesses can each reveal critical information. Poor truck maintenance can cause a truck’s brakes to fail and other vital systems can malfunction if the driver or company doesn’t conduct regular maintenance.

Recently, a Pennsylvania truck driver was ticketed for operating an out of service vehicle after his truck crashed into multiple vehicles in Binghamton. Officials said the tractor-trailer was carrying heavy stone blocks and inadequate brakes were a contributing factor in the crash.

The truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes look at every possible factor when they’re investigating a truck crash because it can help maximize a victim’s compensation, Barnes said.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck crash, Cellino & Barnes can help you obtain the best result possible. Call one of their experienced truck accident lawyers today and they will review your case for free.

Cellino & Barnes (800) 888-8888

Crisis on the Road

/ Truck Accident /

Crisis on the RoadNEW YORK – If you think the traffic is getting worse and your commute is getting dicey, you’re right. America’s roads and highways suffered a deadly year in 2015 and the trend hasn’t slowed down much.

A newly released government report shed a sobering reminder of how dangerous driving a vehicle can be. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 35,000 people were killed in traffic accidents last year. That’s a 7.2 percent spike over 2014.

A New York truck accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said the last time the nation experienced such a large single-year increase was 50 years ago and addressing the problem will take teamwork.

“Over the last few decades, we’ve seen a gradual decline in the number of car crashes but that all ended last year,” New York truck accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Even though today’s cars are equipped with the newest safety technology, drivers are more distracted than ever and infrastructure in many areas can be considered outdated or inefficient, so we all have to work together to make our roads as safe as they can be.”

A recent change in infrastructure could be behind a major crash that happened in Binghamton last week. The city released dashcam video of a 10-car pileup that happened on Highway 17 near Interstate 81, according to ABC News.

The video shows a tractor-trailer plow through afternoon traffic on Highway 17, less than a mile before the highway sharply merges into I-81.

The area has been under road construction, which could impact traffic. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, the construction includes lane closures, slow moving traffic and sudden stops.

Police said the truck driver was ticketed for faulty brakes and they are considered a contributing factor in the crash.

“Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and when it’s traveling at 50 miles per hour or more, the brakes had better be in good operating condition or the truck driver risks a disastrous crash,” Cellino said. “Luckily no one was killed in the Binghamton crash but several drivers may have suffered injuries to the head, neck or back; and recovering from these accidents has certain challenges.”

Many victims of truck crashes not only suffer severe injuries, they also face the burden of having to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and time away from work. However, the experienced team of New York truck accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes has helped many victims get compensation after a truck crash.

About 10 percent of all deadly highway crashes involved a large truck, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Part of the reason there were more fatalities on the road in 2015 is also due to more truck congestion.

Since 2009, companies have been putting more and more large trucks on the roads and as a result, deadly truck crashes have increased by nearly 15 percent over that time period. Last year alone, truck crashes spiked by over 4 percent.

If you’ve been injured in a large truck crash, the New York truck accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes will investigate all of the factors, including truck maintenance issues, driver distractions, driver fatigue, road conditions, and problems with infrastructure.

Call 800-888-8888 for a free consultation with a truck crash attorney.

For more legal information or safety tips, follow Cellino & Barnes on Twitter.

Road Debris Behind 200,000 Crashes

/ Truck Accident /

Road Debris Behind 200,000 CrashesROCHESTER, N.Y. – You’ve probably seen some dangerous things scattered across the highway. Maybe you’ve encountered plastic bags or even furniture in the roadway. For obvious reasons, these hazards are dangerous and in some cases, deadly.

According to a new study conducted by the AAA Foundation, debris has been a factor in more than 200,000 crashes on U.S. roadways over the last four years. Researchers said the crashes caused more than 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths since 2011.

A Rochester truck accident lawyer says drivers have to make sure they’re properly securing any load they’re hauling.

“Debris can be some of the most dangerous hazards on the roadway and drivers who fail to secure a load can face severe legal consequences in Rochester,” truck accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Not only can a driver get a ticket for an unsecured load; they can also be held liable if that debris causes an accident.”

When debris falls off a car or truck, the driver (or the driver’s employer) can be held liable for any damages that debris causes, the Rochester truck accident lawyer said. Commercial drivers are required to inspect their trucks before every trip and examine them for potential hazards.

Some falling debris can cause serious accidents like this one that occurred this summer in Minnesota when a motorcyclist crashed into an item that fell off a boat being towed by an SUV. Luckily, the motorcyclist survived but others aren’t so lucky when they hit debris.

When debris fell off a semitrailer in Northern California this summer, it caused a woman to veer off the road. Hours later, the driver was pronounced dead at the hospital. California Highway Patrol Officers then launched a massive search for the truck driver, who did not remain on scene.

According to AAA, two-thirds of all the crashes that involve highway debris are the result of objects falling off a car or truck and around 37 percent of all deaths in road debris crashes occurred when the driver tried swerving to avoid an object in the roadway.

Safety advocates say swerving is one of the worst things a driver can do, although it’s often reactionary. If possible, drivers should slow down and maintain control of their vehicle, even if that means striking the object in front of them.

Rochester truck accident lawyers say in most cases, the driver responsible for the debris is also responsible for your damages.

With offices across New York State, Cellino & Barnes offers free consultations to those who have been injured by highway debris. For contact information and office locations, find Cellino & Barnes on Best Lawyers.

Introducing: The Robot 18-wheeler

/ Truck Accident /

Introducing: The Robot 18-wheelerMELVILLE, N.Y. – Big rigs today are loaded with up to 80,000 pounds of cargo barreling down the highway at speeds over 55mph. Now image that same truck without a driver.

A group of engineers wants to make the self-driving truck a reality.

The group, made of 40 former employees of self-driving giants like Google, Apple, Tesla, and others formed a new company called Otto with the goal of transforming the commercial trucking industry.

Before the fear (or gratitude) sets in, a Long Island truck accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says initially, all self-driving vehicles should still have a driver at the wheel.

“Self-driving technology is so new, we don’t really know what would happen if we set a truck in motion with just the computer at the wheel,” Long Island truck accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Autonomous 18-wheelers could make the roads safer but tech companies won’t know until they try it with a veteran driver behind the wheel.”

Otto plans to attach sensors, cameras and lasers to big rigs that will eventually navigate more than 220,000 miles of US highways with little assistance from a driver. Currently, the plan will only put the machines in control on the highways. A driver would still need to be present when entering city streets.

Long Island truck accident lawyers say the most dangerous truck accidents occur in heavily populated areas or on small country roads.

“Trucks have very large blind spots, making them extremely dangerous,” Cellino said. “Truck drivers must be trained to spot smaller vehicles or people and avoid accidents with them, which can take months of driving lessons.”

Attorneys say trucks equipped with sensors and blind spot cameras are already on the roads – but the technologies attached to these big rigs are tools to help the driver avoid a crash. Leaving the truck in the hands of the machine could have catastrophic consequences.

“Without a trained driver at the wheel, there’s no knowing what would happen if any component fails or malfunctions on an 18-wheeler,” Cellino said. “Although the intention is to make roads safer, millions of drivers may feel better knowing there’s a trained human at the helm.”

Otto is currently eyeing the market for 1,000 truckers to volunteer their vehicles which would have self-driving kits installed in the cabs. Otto said the volunteers would still be expected to take the wheel in emergencies and monitor the truck to make sure it is following local driving laws.

If the company gets to see its ultimate goal, more than 5 million trucks could be equipped with driverless technology in the coming decades.

On one end, it would solve a truck driver shortage the nation is currently facing but on the other hand, are drivers willing to trust the machine?

Long Island truck accident attorneys say there are currently 3,500 deadly big rig crashes every year and many of the crashes are linked to driver fatigue. If you’ve been injured in a big truck accident, the Long Island truck accident lawyers can help you obtain the best result possible.

Contact a lawyer today or visit the Cellino & Barnes LinkedIn page to learn more about how Cellino & Barnes has helped thousands of clients get the compensation they needed.

New Bill Could Relax Safety Restrictions on Truck Drivers

/ Truck Accident /

New Bill Could Relax Safety Restrictions on Truck DriversNEW YORK – Some U.S. Senators have slipped new language into a transportation spending bill that could allow truck drivers to work longer weeks. The Senate Appropriations Committee released the updated text of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill that passed with a 30-0 vote on Thursday.

The bill fixes a drafting error made in last year’s spending bill but it could also allow truck drivers to spend up to 73 hours behind the wheel each week.

A Brooklyn truck accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says many truck drivers are already battling fatigue and upping the limits could put lives at risk.

“Truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of big rig crashes in Brooklyn,” truck accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Trucks are very dangerous vehicles and they must have an alert driver behind the wheel.”

Currently, truckers are restricted to 70 hours of drive-time each week. If the bill passes as it is drafted, truckers would be allowed on the roads for an additional 156 hours every year. In a press release, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) blasted the bill’s passage through the senate committee.

“Before today is over, 11 people will die in large truck crashes and 275 more will be injured,” AHAS Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Cathy Chase said. “[Thursday’s] ‘markup’ of the THUD bill lacked any actual ‘marking up’ of the bill, any discussion of the anti-safety provision in the bill, and any debate on how the bill will impact the American public.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Forbes both consider truck driving one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America today.

Brooklyn truck accident lawyers say truck drivers already have some of the most relaxed laws regarding fatigue in the transportation business.

“Airplane pilots are limited to about nine hours of fly-time in a single stretch and they must have at least 30 consecutive hours off each week,” Barnes said. “Truckers can currently work up to 11-hours per day and many of them drive seven days per week.”

Chase and other highway safety advocates believe the trucking industry lobbied for the new provision despite several high-profile truck crashes in the last 12 months.

“This closed door backroom politicking is a prime example of why the American public distrusts the process,” Chase said. “Unfortunately, the change made to the HOS Rule does nothing to address the serious problem of cumulative fatigue.”

Chase, frustrated with the rewritten bill, is now urging Congress to add language to the bill that would make sure truck drivers get more rest time and reduce fatigue.

For the latest information on truck safety and news reports, follow Cellino & Barnes on Twitter.

New Laws Will Change How Truckers Log Time

/ Truck Accident /

New Laws Will Change How Truckers Log TimeBUFFALO, N.Y. – If you’ve ever been sleepy behind the wheel, you know how dangerous fatigued driving can be. For those who work on the highway, fatigue can be a common enemy but a new law is aimed at enforcing regulations that were created to prevent drivers from driving under the stress of sleep.

Unfortunately, thousands of Americans ignore common sense and keep driving despite their body telling them to turn-in for the night. The problem is particularly dangerous in the trucking industry – where drivers often log over 11 hours each day while at the helm of a truck weighing up to 40 tons.

Beginning this year, commercial truck drivers and bus drivers will be using electronic devices to log their hours behind the wheel.

Buffalo truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes hope the new law will make the roads safer.

“Many big rig crashes occur because the driver was fatigued,” Buffalo truck accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Now that some commercial drivers will be required to log their hours electronically, it could the number of serious and deadly collisions.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said the logs are more difficult to tamper with and the electronic devices could provide a net savings of $1 billion each year. The administration estimated that electronic logs could prevent hundreds of truck crashes, saving dozens of lives and prevent hundreds of injuries.

Many high-profile truck crashes have been linked back to a fatigued driver. In August, federal regulators said a truck driver had been driving for 28 hours straight before a crash that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another passenger.

“Truck drivers have been using pen and paper to log their hours since the 1930’s,” Barnes said. “With electronic logging devices, drive time will automatically be logged by monitoring the number of miles driven and the amount of time the driver is behind the wheel – it’s just more accurate and it could save lives.”

Although the rules may seem new, the battle for electronic recording devices dates back to 1995 when Congress ordered the Department of Transportation to develop electronic logs. However, the FMCSA didn’t make changes until a lawsuit forced the administration to place heavy limits on trucker hours in 2004.

Many drivers have opposed efforts to require electronic logging devices. The Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association sued the FMCSA in an effort to block the new regulation citing on its website, “The need for truckers to spend money on an unproven technology that is no more effective than paper logs when it comes to safety and hours-of-service compliance.”

Companies will have two years to begin using electronic logs although many trucking organizations have already implemented the technology.

Extra Long Trailers Spark Safety Concerns

/ Truck Accident /

Extra Long Trailers Spark Safety ConcernsROCHESTER, N.Y. – A new federal mandate would force states to allow big rigs with extra-long double trailers on interstate highways. It would increase trailer length limits from 28 feet to 33 feet. Bigger trucks sound more efficient – but some senators say it could be risky too.

The Senate went on record this week by a vote of 56-31 against the mandate; saying it must be shown that the extra-long trailers don’t undermine highway safety. Officials want the Department of Transportation to complete a safety study before allowing bigger trucks on the road.

Rochester truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say bigger trucks could be concerning for drivers – as the number truck accidents have risen over the last few years.

“Since 2009, we’ve seen a slow but steady uptick in the number of truck crashes in Rochester,” truck accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “There are more trucks on the highways and safety is certainly a concern for those of us driving smaller, more vulnerable vehicles.”

According the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most injuries and deaths in large truck crashes happen to occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. In fact, they made up 67 percent of all deadly truck crashes last year – over 2,400 people.

Attorneys say most truckers are safe drivers – but they’re operating vehicles that can be very dangerous and deadly in many circumstances.

“Trucks already outweigh passenger cars by 20 to 30 times and any collision with a big rig comes with a higher risk of injury,” Barnes said. “It takes a truck longer to stop under sunny and dry conditions and when it’s wet or snowy, trucks may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision – that’s why it’s so important for drivers to give them space.”

Truck driver fatigue is also a concern. Some drivers are on the road for up to 11 hours each day – and nearly 80 hours every week. Surveys have shown that many drivers ignore these regulations and drive longer than federal laws permit.

Currently, 12 states allow longer trailers. With a cab, the total length of a truck comes to 91 feet. String just three of these extended trucks together and it will come close to covering the length of a football field.

The final transportation bill is expected to be sent to the White House before Nov. 20.

Stats: One in Five Trucks Shouldn’t Be On the Road

/ Truck Accident /

One in Five Trucks Shouldn’t Be On the RoadNEW YORK – Millions of trucks crisscross the country every day, hauling billions of tons in goods and vital fuels coming from factories, mines, warehouses, and farms. These trucks often weigh up to 80,000 pounds, more than 20 times the typical weight of a passenger vehicle. Inherently, trucks are very dangerous and federal regulations restrict a trucker’s driving time, load size, and onboard equipment.

A west-coast publication took a deeper look into some of these regulations and found only a portion of the trucks on the roads are inspected. Of more than 433,000 vehicles, only 3,800 were inspected at weigh station on a major U.S. interstate.

Brooklyn truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say some of the trucks driving today shouldn’t even be on the road.

“Most drivers are careful about safety and the maintenance of their vehicles but others cut corners and that can put lives at risk in Brooklyn,” truck accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “If a truck isn’t up to code, that driver or the truck company could be held liable for an accident and our attorneys will do everything they can to get our clients the best results possible.”

According to Department of Transportation statistics, 24 percent of big trucks and 7 percent of their drivers should not have been on the road last year. Attorneys say that adds up to one in five vehicles failing inspections.

Trucking industry advocates say the numbers may be inflated because inspectors target problem-prone vehicles and trucking companies. However, lawyers say any truck not passing inspection is a red flag.

“Truck drivers and their companies have a huge responsibility to safety,” Barnes said. “They are in charge of operating a 40 ton vehicle along a crowded freeway packed with cars and SUVs that could be crushed due to a malfunctioning truck or a driver who hasn’t had enough rest.”

The American Trucking Associations said violations don’t typically cause crashes and some trucking advocates are pushing for more traffic law enforcement over inspections.

Attorneys, on the other hand, say inspections play a vital role in keeping America’s roads and highways safe. Lawyers say brakes are among the most common violations truckers are cited for; and with a truck weighing 20-30 times more than a passenger car, it’s arguably the most important piece of equipment on a tractor-trailer.

When Big Trucks Cause Big Wrecks

/ Truck Accident /

When Big Trucks Cause Big WrecksBUFFALO, N.Y. – Tractor trailers are vital for today’s commercial trade. Unfortunately, these big rigs are also deadly machines carrying up to 80,000 pounds of goods. That’s more than 20 times the weight of a standard passenger car.

Big truck collisions are also on the rise in America. Since 2011, the number of crashes involving a tractor trailer has increased by over 7 percent.

Truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say these crashes almost always affect people in passenger cars due to the extreme weight difference.

“Trucks can take much longer to brake and because of the area’s extreme weather, these crashes can be very serious in Buffalo,” truck accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Truckers must be aware of the road conditions and slow down when there’s rain or ice.”

About 1 in every 10 highway deaths happens in a crash involving a large truck, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That’s thousands of families impacted by truck crashes each year.

Recently in Chicago, a mother was walking with her 2-year-old daughter inside a stroller when they were struck by a semi-truck while at a crosswalk. Both were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Police said the truck driver didn’t yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk and failed to reduce speed.

In Portland, Oregon, a garbage truck collided with a car early in the morning, killing the driver.

In Virginia, a 64-year-old woman was killed after a truck hauling wood and debris crossed a double-yellow line on a curvy road, crashing into the woman’s vehicle just after noon.

“These trucks are dangerous at all times of the day or night,” Cellino said. “It’s important for any driver to give these big trucks space but unfortunately, that doesn’t always prevent a crash.”

Buffalo truck accident lawyers say most truck crashes are preventable with the proper training and handling of a tractor-trailer. Victims of these crashes may be entitled to compensation for any injuries suffered as a result of one of these collisions.


The Lowdown on Big Rig Regulations

/ Truck Accident /

Lowdown on Big Rig RegulationsROCHESTER, N.Y. – A war is being waged across the nation over big rig regulations and standards. Members of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are pushing for new safety regulations and guidelines for big truck drivers to follow. At the same time, truck drivers and their advocates are arguing against the safety measures.

In one battle, federal lawmakers are mulling a proposal that would require electronic ‘speed limiters’ in large trucks. The technology would force all large truck drivers to travel no faster than 65 miles per hour. A group claiming to represent the interests of professional truck drivers, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), drafted their own petition in the hopes of preventing speed limiters from becoming reality.

Rochester truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes said truck safety is a hot topic because of increase in the number of crashes.

“Car accidents have been steadily dropping across American cities like Rochester,” truck accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “Truck accidents, on the other hand, have been slowly increasing since 2010.”

Experts believe the increase in truck crashes is a direct correlation with increased truck traffic. During the economic recession, companies cut-back on trucking and shipping routes but in the last five years, trucking has made a comeback.

In 2012, more than 77,000 trucks were involved in injury crashes, the most since 2006.

“Trucks can be very dangerous vehicles,” Cellino said. “Some of these trucks can weigh over 70,000 pounds – more than 20 times the weight of your typical car.”

Truck drivers are already required to abide by a variety of rules and regulations set forth by the federal government. One of the most notable regulates the number of hours a driver can operate a vehicle in a certain stretch of time. Some of these regulations were temporarily suspended in 2014.

Last year, a truck accident injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian on the New Jersey Turnpike, raising questions about truck safety. This month, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed they had discovered the truck driver who caused the crash had been awake for 28 hours before the crash.

“Rest is vital for any driver,” Cellino said. “Whether you’re riding on a 400-pound motorcycle or operating a 40-ton big rig, rest is important for your safety and the safety of others.”

The American Trucking Association has concluded that hours of service regulations should be in place but the amount of time drivers are on-the-clock and off-the-clock is a hotly-contested subject.

Members of Congress expect to debate truck safety while drafting its 2015 Highway Bill after its August recess.

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