Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

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An underride truck accident occurs when a smaller vehicle collides with and slides underneath the truck, generally crushing or sheering off the roof of the smaller vehicle. While the most common type of underride accident occurs at the truck’s rear end, such accidents can also occur at the side or front of trucks. Underride accidents are often more devastating than other types of truck accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides extensive information about different types of trucks and variables involved in underride accidents. Since 1953, the United States has required underride guards and put guard standards in place. Over the years, guard standards for trailers and semi-trailers have been tested, strengthened and updated.

Here are some significant statistics reported by the NHTSA and gathered from a study that focused on underride accidents from 2008 to 2009:

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Trucks pose a risk to every other vehicle on the road. In 2011, there were nearly 14,000 large truck collisions in Indiana, with 143 fatal collisions. One of the biggest hotspots for trucking accidents is the Borman Expressway. Indeed, a crash on the Borman Expressway involving a car and a semi-truck resulted in one fatality in early February.

Here is what you need to know about the Borman Expressway and how to stay safe:

  • Dangerous trucking congestion — The more trucks on a road, the more dangerous it becomes. The Borman Expressway has a continual congestion of large trucks, tractor-trailers and semis because it is a free alternative to the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road. This creates a danger to smaller vehicles on the road for the following reasons:
    • Trucks have a large amount of mass, and therefore cause greater damage in a collision with a smaller personal vehicle.
    • Trucks are larger than smaller personal vehicles and cause visual obstructions on the roadway.
    • Trucks have “blind spots” that can cause deadly collisions.
  • Unsafe trucking practices — Truck drivers on the Borman Expressway have a reputation for unsafe driving practices. This includes common instances of the following:
    • Speeding
    • Tailgating
    • Aggressive driving
  • Safety tips — Motorists need to exercise extra caution when driving on major trucking thoroughfares, such as the Borman Expressway. Safety tips include:
  • Make sure you can always see a large truck’s side mirrors so you know the driver can see you.
  • Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the large truck.
  • Do not cut off a large truck.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident on the Borman Expressway, consider speaking to an Indiana truck accident attorney. Our skilled attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve following a crash.

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Driving any kind of vehicle requires a clear head, the ability to respond and attention. For truck drivers, the long hours on the road and chronic disruption of sleeping patterns can result in lower reaction times and serious overall impairment that put them and all other motorists at increased risk of an accident.

New rules from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) aim to reduce truck accidents caused by fatigue. In 2012, fatal accidents involving large or light trucks killed 400 people in Indiana, according to the state. In 2011, FMCSA passed rule revisions to address the number of injuries and fatalities caused by truck accidents across the country. Fully effective in July of this year, the rule changes call for the following:

  • Truck drivers are now limited to a 70-hour driving workweek. This change reduced the hours of service (HOS) a driver could operate a truck by 12 hours.
  • A 30-minute break is now required during the first eight hours of a driving shift.
  • A driver or trucking company that exceeds defined limits by three hours is subject to fines for each offense.

These rule changes call attention to the dangers of fatigued driving. For as many as one-third of truck operators, part of the reason for daytime drowsiness may not just be hours in a cab, but sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder experienced by motorists and individuals of all types that is caused by age, genetic disposition and factors like smoking and excess weight. As a profession, truck driving requires odd sleeping schedules and does not allow for much exercise, so sleep apnea may be more common among truckers. In highlighting the dangers of driving long hours and the effects of sleep apnea, the FMCSA hopes to reduce accidents and save lives.

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Size matters, especially when your 5,800-pound Toyota Highlander is sharing the roadway with a 70,000-pound tractor-trailer. Passenger vehicles generally come out on the losing end of collisions involving a large truck. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 3,757 people were killed in nationwide crashes involving large trucks during calendar year 2011.

Large trucks are classified as having 10,000+ pounds gross weight vehicle rating (GVWR). Motor carriers ranging from tractor-trailers to UPS delivery trucks qualify as large trucks. Of the 188,132 total crashes reported for Indiana in 2011, 2,074 involved large trucks. Indiana Traffic Safety Facts indicates the state followed the 2011 national data trend with respect to large truck crashes:

  • Total fatal crashes involving large trucks – 143 fatal crashes
    • Single-vehicle – 19 fatal crashes
    • Multi-vehicle – 124 fatal crashes
    • Total injury crashes involving large trucks – 1,931 injury crashes
      • Single-vehicle – 292 injury crashes
      • Multi-vehicle – 1,639 injury crashes

Crashes caused by truckers vary in point-of-origin from failure to perform safety checks and driver fatigue, to factors like cell phone usage and speeding. The trucking industry has vast resources when it comes to defending their drivers. Their insurance adjustors often behave like vultures, swooping down on injured victims or grieving families attempting to get them to quickly settle any current or future claim against the trucker or trucking company before they’ve had an opportunity to consult with an attorney.