Missouri Truck Accident Blog

Industry Considers Safety Issues as Truck Accident Deaths Rise

By John Page on January 22, 2013 - Comments off

The number of deaths in passenger vehicle crashes dropped nationwide last year, but the number of deaths in large truck accidents increased, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Taking a closer look at the numbers has revealed a number of unsettling safety trends to both industry insiders and experienced truck accident attorneys. Causes of the increase in truck accident deaths include truck driver distraction and speeding, two behaviors that are known to cause motor vehicle accidents that can result in catastrophic injuries.

Truck Accident CausesAnother factor in fatal truck accidents that has caused an increased risk of death and injury to truck drivers is the fact that, unlike passenger vehicles, semi tractors are not currently held to any crashworthiness standards. While lack of crashworthiness most directly affects those inside the truck, it can also result in harm to those in a vehicle that collides with a truck or others who are sharing the roadway, like pedestrians or motorcyclists.

Reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by truck accidents each year has become a priority for several federal agencies, especially since these numbers have increased even as the number of deaths and serious injuries in passenger vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian and bicyclist accidents have all decreased nationwide in recent years.

Attorney John Page is an aggressive truck accident attorney in St. Louis and can pinpoint the causes of your injuries and hold any negligent parties accountable for their actions. For a free and confidential consultation, contact Mr. Page today at (314) 322-8515.

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FMCSA Asks for Driver Input on Changes to 34-Hour Restart Rule

By John Page on January 18, 2013 - Comments off

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently asked for feedback from truck drivers and trucking companies regarding proposed changes to the 34-hour provision in the agency’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules. The changes are intended to reduce driver fatigue, and thus the risk of fatigue-related truck crashes, by lining up drivers’ time off with the hours in which most people sleep.

The current rule requires drivers to limit the number of hours they drive in a week. However, a driver can currently “restart” the weekly count at any time by taking 34 hours off. Drivers are expected to sleep during their 34-hour break, and most drivers do so, but the 34-hour period does not have to cover any particular period of time, such as nighttime.

Under the revised rule, the 34-hour restart period could only be used once every seven days. The 34-hour period would also have to cover the period between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. at least twice, to give drivers the chance to sleep during the time of day when studies show the human brain is most sleepy and benefits most from being asleep. The FMCSA will collect feedback about the proposed rule before deciding whether the proposal needs to be revised and, if so, what changes to make.

When a large truck collides with a car, the results can be devastating. If you’ve been injured in a truck crash, don’t wait: call the relentless Missouri truck accident attorney John Page for a free and confidential initial consultation.

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FMCSA Strengthens Truck Driver Health Regulations in 2014

By John Page on January 10, 2013 - Comments off

Beginning in 2014, truck drivers who have certain medical conditions will need to be examined by a qualified medical professional more frequently, according to a recent ruling released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The new ruling clarifies rules about medical examinations that truck drivers must currently follow. Currently, those who hold Class A commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) must have a medical examination every two years. Those who have certain medical conditions or risk factors for certain conditions, like high blood pressure or sleep apnea, are referred for additional treatment.

Under the new truck driver regulations, drivers will have to receive their examinations from a medical examiner who is listed in the FMCSA’s database of qualified physicians. The results of each examination will be documented electronically, making it readily available if the driver later suffers an accident.

At particular issue are conditions that are made worse by the highly sedentary nature of truck driving, including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Because they spend long hours on the road and often stop in places that don’t offer exercise options or healthy food, truck drivers are at an increased risk for conditions that are made worse by a sedentary lifestyle – including conditions that can cause fatigue or other problems that may trigger a crash.

Truck drivers need to be healthy and alert in order to operate their vehicles safely. When a medical condition interferes, serious truck accidents and deadly injuries can result. If you’ve been injured in a truck crash, don’t wait: call the Missouri truck accident victim lawyers at Page Law today. Our number is (314) 322-8515; call today for a free, confidential case evaluation.

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As Car Crashes Decrease Nationwide, Truck Accident Deaths Go Up

By John Page on December 24, 2012 - Comments off

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released its report on fatal car accident deaths nationwide. The report revealed that car accidents in the U.S. are at an all-time low; 2011 saw 32,367 deaths, which is a 1.9 percent decrease from 2010 and the lowest number since the agency began recording car accident death statistics in 1949.

Unfortunately, while car accidents are down overall, the number of truck accidents and truck accident deaths in the U.S. increased in 2011, according to the NHTSA. This number includes an increased number of deaths suffered by truck drivers in crashes.

From 2010 to 2011, the number of truck accidents that claimed a truck driver’s life increased 20 percent, according to the NHTSA, from 530 in 2010 to 635 in 2011. The number of injury-causing truck accidents also increased 15 percent. However, the number of deaths of non-truck occupants in large truck crashes decreased slightly in 2011.

Researchers have not pinpointed a cause for the increase in truck accident deaths. Current hypotheses include the fact that speed limits for large trucks have increased in some parts of the U.S., or the fact that more trucks are on the road as the economy improves.

At Page Law, our St. Louis County truck collision lawyers are determined to win the compensation our clients need in every case we handle. We’ll investigate your truck accident thoroughly and hold any negligent parties accountable for their actions. To learn more about our services and your legal options, call us for a free consultation today at (314) 322-8515.

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Citing Safety Violations, FMCSA Shuts Down Trucking Company

By John Page on December 20, 2012 - Comments off

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently shut down a Louisiana-based tree service company, citing multiple safety violations involving the company’s large trucks and other equipment, according to an article in Today’s Trucking.

The out-of-service order was given after the FMCSA discovered that the company had willfully violated a previous out-of-service order, continuing to run trucks with serious safety problems despite the FMCSA’s order to stop doing so. The FMCSA also found that the company failed to keep the required accident reports or vehicle inspection and maintenance reports.

Finally, the FMCSA also found that the company had hired drivers without valid commercial driver’s licenses or without the required medical checks. At least one of these drivers was involved in a truck accident, according to the FMCSA.

One of the primary responsibilities of the FMCSA is to ensure that trucking companies and drivers follow federal safety regulations, which cover such critical issues as truck safety and maintenance and the basic health and behavior of drivers. When drivers or their employers violate these safety regulations, the FMCSA has the authority to issue penalties, including ordering drivers or trucks off the road until safety issues are resolved. Out-of-service orders can in turn prevent some of the most common causes of truck accidents, including faulty equipment and drivers who are untrained or distracted by medical conditions.

At Page Law, our truck accident attorneys in Missouri won’t rest until we have determined exactly what caused your truck accident and held any negligent parties accountable for their actions. For a free and confidential case evaluation, call us today at (314) 322-8515.

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Understanding the FMCSA’s Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

By John Page on December 10, 2012 - Comments off

When a truck accident causes injury, a tenacious Missouri truck accident attorney will start by looking at the most common causes of truck accidents, including truck driver fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes “Hours of Service” (HOS) rules on truck drivers in order to curb driver fatigue. Unfortunately, many companies try to skirt the HOS rules, and even drivers who follow them are not immune to fatigue that might result in an accident.

The basics of the HOS rules include:

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit. Drivers of large trucks may only drive for 11 hours in every 24 hours. This 11 hours may only start after the driver has been off-duty for 10 consecutive hours.
  • 14-Hour Limit. Drivers may only drive within the first 14 hours they are on duty. After 14 hours have passed, drivers may be “on-duty,” but may not drive. This 14 hours may only start after the driver has been off-duty for 10 consecutive hours.
  • 60 Hours in 7 Days, 70 Hours in 8 Days. A driver may only drive 60 total hours in any seven-day period or 70 total hours in any eight-day period.
  • 34-Hour Restart. In order to restart the seven-day or eight-day driving periods, a driver must take at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. Drivers are encouraged to include the period between midnight and 5 a.m. in their sleep cycles during the 34-hour restart period.

The Missouri truck crash lawyers at Page Law can help you find out what caused a crash and win the compensation you need. Call us at (314) 322-8515 for a free consultation.

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Poor Brake Maintenance Can Lead to Missouri Truck Accidents

By John Page on November 27, 2012 - Comments off

Large trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, and at full speed, they can require a distance longer than a football field to stop. Consequently, brakes are one of the most crucial pieces of safety gear a tractor-trailer has; as such, proper care and maintenance of brake systems is key to preventing truck accidents.

As many as 700,000 vehicle defect violations involving brake systems are recorded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) each year. Common problems include air leaks in brake hoses, brake chambers that don’t match or are the wrong size, worn-out brake linings, and brakes that are out of adjustment.

Preventative truck maintenance is key to making sure that a truck’s brakes work when the driver needs them most. However, many trucks don’t get the maintenance they need. Because the time a truck spends in the repair bay is lost money to the company that operates it, many companies – whether individual drivers or big shippers – push their trucks and trailers as hard as they can. Some tractors and trailers may go months without maintenance.

To help solve the brake problem, some trucking companies are using the same maintenance schedule and inspection criteria the FMCSA uses in its own regulations. While regulators say this move will help, they note that paying attention to the individual truck, as well as to the general rules, are key ways to prevent a crash.

When a large truck collides with a passenger car, motorcycle, or pedestrian, serious injuries are almost inevitable. If you’ve been injured in a truck crash, let the truck accident attorneys at Page Law put their experience to work for you. Call us today at (314) 322-8515 for a free, confidential case evaluation.

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U.S. Highway 66 Truck Crash Claims Pacific, Missouri Woman’s Life

By John Page on November 14, 2012 - Comments off

A truck accident on U.S. Highway 66 near Eureka, Missouri claimed the life of a Pacific woman when she lost control of her Dodge Dakota and collided with a tractor-trailer, according to a recent news report in the Eureka-Wildwood Patch.

Investigators believe the fatal Missouri truck accident was triggered when the 55-year-old Pacific woman hit a guardrail on U.S. Highway 66. She apparently overcorrected, swinging back across the highway, and collided with a tractor-trailer that was traveling in the far lane. The collision claimed her life, totaled her vehicle, and caused extensive damage and possible injuries to the driver of the tractor-trailer, a 54-year-old Nevada man.

The truck driver was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash, say investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Investigators do not believe, however, that the Pacific woman was wearing her seat belt when the crash occurred.

It has not yet been determined whether her missing seat belt contributed to her death, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), death is more likely in a car-truck accident when the occupants of the smaller vehicle are not buckled in. If the vehicle overturns during the crash, the risk of death increases dramatically if the occupants are not wearing seat belts.

Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries. Every year, hundreds of Missourians lose their lives in this type of accident. If you or someone you love has been injured in a large truck accident, don’t wait: call a relentless truck collision lawyer in Missouri at Page Law. Our number is (314) 322-8515. Call us today for a confidential consultation, or use our online Contact Form for assistance.

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FMCSA Offers Hours of Service Exemptions to Truckers Doing Post-Sandy Cleanup

By John Page on November 6, 2012 - Comments off

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced it is temporarily lifting hours of service (HOS) restrictions for truck drivers and trucking companies who are involved in clean-up and restoring services following Hurricane Sandy. The storm claimed at least 39 lives and left millions along the eastern seaboard without power.

The FMCSA order only exempts those drivers who are directly participating in the cleanup effort. The order also temporarily exempts drivers from some recordkeeping requirements and certain inspections of equipment or logbooks.

Hours of service requirements limit the amount of time truck drivers may drive in any one day and the total number of hours a driver may drive before being required to take at least 34 hours off to sleep, eat, and recover. Currently, most drivers are limited to 11 hours behind the wheel per day as part of a total work shift of no more than 14 hours. During the remaining 10 hours in the day, the driver is “off duty,” and most drivers take this opportunity to sleep.

In a separate announcement, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) pledged $10 million in emergency funds to help rebuild roads in the hardest-hit states, including New Jersey and New York.

Driver fatigue is a major source of serious truck accidents. If you’ve been injured in a truck crash in Missouri, please don’t hesitate to contact an aggressive St. Louis truck collision attorney at Page Law to learn more about your legal rights. Call us today at (314) 322-8515 for a free, confidential case evaluation.

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Brake Inspections Are a Big Part of Preventing Missouri Truck Accidents

By John Page on October 26, 2012 - Comments off

Large trucks, like tractor-trailers, rely on their brakes to slow down and stop, just like smaller vehicles. However, large trucks often have different types of braking systems from smaller cars. These systems are designed to accommodate the larger size and considerable weight of a fully-loaded tractor-trailer. When they are not inspected or maintained properly, however, brakes may fail, causing serious injuries.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), problems with brakes account for 30 percent of all large truck crashes. They’re also the reason 10 percent of all trucks put out of service are ordered off the road. Without properly-working brakes, a truck cannot slow down, stop, or maneuver properly. Even if an alert driver notices a problem and hits the brakes in time to slow or stop the truck, worn-out or defective truck brakes might not kick in before it’s too late to avoid a crash.

The seriousness of brake problems is one reason that a brake defect rates a “4” on FMCSA’s Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA) scorecard. CSA data is kept for each trucking company, and CSA investigations may be used to place trucks or companies out of service. Problems are rated on a seven-point scale, making a “4” for brake problems alone a major concern.

Drivers who share the road with trucks can’t always see or predict problems that might cause a truck accident, but they may be severely injured in a crash nevertheless. If you’ve been hurt in a Missouri truck crash, a St. Charles County truck collision lawyer at Page Law can help you hold any negligent parties accountable and get the compensation you need. Call us today at (314) 322-8515 for a free, confidential case evaluation.

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