Archive for the ‘Semi Truck Accidents’ Category

Slow down! How speeding trucks are putting you at risk

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, annually there are nearly 4,000 people killed and an estimated 95,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks. Not surprisingly, most of those injuries were inflicted upon passenger car motorists and their occupants, and not the truck drivers. In fact, more than 70 percent of those injured in an accident with a large truck – defined as a truck with a gross vehicle weight of greater than 10,000 pounds – were occupants of passenger vehicles. And because of their size, large trucks are more likely to be involved in fatal multiple-vehicle wrecks. Government data shows that 80 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks involves multiple vehicles.
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How truck driver fatigue is putting you at risk for a crash

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 3,000 people die in large truck crashes and more than 95,000 are injured each year, and driver fatigue is a leading factor. To combat this problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued new rules to stop fatigued driving by making changes to the “hours of service” rules for truck drivers. The rule was complicated, but it basically boiled down to two updated requirements. One is that drivers take a 30-minute rest break within the first 8 hours of their shift so they can stay alert on the road. The other rule updated the use of the 34-hour rest period, known as the “restart”, which required that drivers have the opportunity to take a longer rest period and catch up on sleep before working another week.
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Truck driver shortages and new drivers are a deadly combination

It seems that not a day goes by without a news story about a truck accident in our area. That might be a result of less qualified commercial truck drivers traveling on our roadways. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA) a truck driver shortage is partly to blame. About 25,500 heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are employed in Colorado, and an estimated 1.6 million are employed by the industry nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this may sound like a large number, the ATA actually estimates that the U.S. is currently short 30,000 drivers with this number expected to surge to 239,000 by 2022. In fact, 90 percent of carriers recently said they couldn’t find enough drivers who met federal Department of Transportation rules. These rules, issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, include hours-of-service regulations that are designed to increase safety and driver working conditions by mandating that truck drivers take longer breaks between shifts. This means fewer hours on the road, which has left many commercial freight companies needing more drivers to get the job done. This increases costs for many of these shipping operators, and as a result, some trucking companies reportedly pressure drivers to spend more hours on the road even though the practice violates federal rules.

This issue hit Colorado front and center earlier this year when a Denver jury awarded a Littleton woman $770,000 for injuries she sustained at the hands of a tanker truck driver off Highway 6. The driver – who had more than 15 violations involving speeding and other infractions – later pleaded guilty to careless driving in charges brought by state prosecutors. As a result, many safety advocates have called for more stringent driver background checks to prevent these types of dangerous motor crashes.

Making matters worse is that the truck driver turnover rate has reached peak levels, as high as 92 percent according to ATA figures, compared to just 39 percent five years ago. This high turnover rate means new drivers are operating on our roadways with little knowledge of the areas where they transport goods. To fill this shortage, some shipping companies have pushed to get new – albeit inexperienced – drivers on the road.

“I know a lot of people think ‘Hey I can just be a truck driver,’” says Richard Lammers, owner of United States Truck Driving School, which has a campus in Fountain, Colorado. “It’s not like you can just walk in off the street and jump in a truck like you’ve been driving an automobile.” In particular, under Colorado law, truck drivers must have a valid Commercial Driving License, or CDL, when operating a commercial vehicle that has a maximum operating weight of 26,001 pounds or more, is built to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and is used to move hazardous material. The rigors of driving an 18-wheeler are more demanding and inherently more dangerous than driving the family car, and this may be leading to a growing number of accidents.

If you or someone you love were injured in a truck accident, an experienced Denver truck accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and discuss your options for recovering the compensation you deserve.

Auto Accident Attorney Denver – Bachus and Schanker Review Robert Irvin

Video Transcription
It happened July 19th, 2012, 10:40 p.m. at night and there was a truck, had the highway blocked, no lights on and when I realized it was there it was too late. And I tried to miss, but I didn’t. It kinda shattered my hip and all. A lot of it is a blur. I don’t remember quite a bit. I remember my cell phone ringing and it was my wife called me because I was on my way to pick her up at work. I think they [Bachus & Schanker] are great and I appreciate all their hard work. Kyle [Bachus] he seemed to be, well he explained everything that I could understand it. He didn’t use $50 dollar words. I sure appreciate his [Kyle Bachus] work and I sure appreciate meeting him.

Auto Accident Attorney Denver – Bachus and Schanker Review Robert Irvin

Truck drivers may be putting you at risk on wintry roadways

As the summer weather gives way to cooler temperatures, Colorado truck drivers are required to start thinking about traveling with chains. In fact, Colorado law requires truckers to carry chains from September 1 to May 31 if traveling on the I-70 corridor west of Denver between Morrison and Edwards. The Colorado State Patrol Motor Carrier Safety Section, which is charged with ensuring the safe operation of all commercial vehicles and operators within the state, can issue fines to commercial drivers for $500 plus a surcharge for not chaining up when the chain law is in effect. A commercial driver may also be fined up to $1000 plus a surcharge if a vehicle is unchained when required, and as a result blocks the road. When winter roads, like I-70, are shut down due to accidents, heavy costs are dealt to ski resorts, other businesses and commercial truckers — an estimated $800,000 to $1 million an hour, or about $143 million last year, according to State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs.

Even worse, more than 1,300 people are killed and 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement each year. A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration found that although large trucks accounted for only 7 percent of the total vehicles on our roads they were involved in crashes at more than double that rate. Moreover, passenger vehicle occupants are usually those who suffer the greatest injuries in accidents with large trucks, accounting for 76 percent of all injuries involving a semi-trailer.

“The reason for the requirement to carry these chains is that with the adverse weather conditions changing so rapidly in the Colorado high country we want to get these vehicles safely to their final destination,” says Rocco Domenico, Colorado State Patrol Sergeant. In fact, last February, up to 70 vehicles were involved in a series of winter crashes in the state, one of which involved a jack-knifed semi-trailer that hit multiple vehicles causing a chain reaction, and another accident involving a semi-trailer that flipped over on a snowy roadway, spilling 55 gallons of diesel fuel on Vail Pass, which took road crews hours to clear.

While passenger motorists cannot always avoid truck accidents, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) offers drivers some cold weather driving tips to avoid accidents with large trucks on wintry roadways:

  • Make sure to equip your car with safe winter tires. Bald or worn tires cannot grip the road and can be extremely hazardous. In just one winter day last year, of the 22 vehicles CDOT assisted that spun out and caused an accident or blocked traffic, 19 had bald tires.
  • Chains aren’t just for trucks. When authorities issue a mandatory passenger vehicle chain notice, make sure you follow it to keep you and your
    family safe.
  • Don’t crowd the plow. Snow plows are out clearing the roads for your safety and they need space to do their work. Don’t tailgate plows even though they travel slowly because they may need to make sudden stops. And remember, just because you can see a plow doesn’t mean they can see you, so exercise caution when passing.

If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, contact an experienced Colorado truck accident attorney who can evaluate your case and help you understand your rights.

Three People Live Because of One Little Boy

Although seven-year-old Collin Sanders passed away in 2002, he lives on through the survival of others. Collin, his two brothers, and two of their friends were in a minivan driven by Tracy Sanders, Collin’s mother. Tracy stopped to make a turn. A pickup truck behind them also stopped. And then the unthinkable happened. A commercial truck behind those two vehicles did not stop in time. It crashed into the pickup truck, which then slammed into the Sanders’ minivan. While Tracy and four of the boys only sustained minor injuries in the crash, Collin suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him comatose, and it soon became apparent he would not survive. Collin’s parents had many difficult decisions to make, but they say the easiest decision was to donate his organs.

Every year, thousands of people wait for organs and tissue. They need new organs to replace their own, which have been damaged either through disease or traumatic injury. But every day, 19 people die because they do not receive the organs they need in time. But the lucky ones who do receive donated tissue and organs can go on to live many more years than they would have otherwise. People who receive a donated kidney can give up dialysis. Those who receive hearts and livers can be active again, no longer confined to their beds. And visually impaired people can see again through donated corneas. Those are just a few examples of what organ and tissue donation can do.

Collin’s parents knew that organ donation was the right decision when they lost their son. Both organ donors themselves, they believe strongly in the cause. Although Collin died from a traumatic brain injury, his heart was also bruised in the accident, and could not be donated. But he was able to give life to two adults who received his kidneys, and a 20-month-old baby who received his liver. Those people are alive today because of Collin, and because of them, Collin also lives on.

It’s difficult for any parent to even consider donating their child’s organs. But it just so happened Tracy and Collin had talked about it one day when Collin was four. She was having a discussion about a donor patch with her other son who was a Cub Scout, when Collin piped up and said he’d be an organ donor.

Even when the potential organ donor is an adult, it can be difficult for their family to decide the right course. Sometimes people hold out hope for recovery, and the small window of opportunity during which organs can be donated closes.

This is why it’s extremely important for anyone who wishes to be an organ donor to not only register with an organ donation organization, but to discuss the decision with their family. Many states allow organ donors to indicate their choice on their driver’s license, making it easier for medical personnel to know their wishes so proper preparations can be made. Colorado allows residents to leave instructions on organ donation in a living will. But not discussing it with family first can cause strife and heartache when a family feels pressured to comply with their loved one’s wishes.

If you want to be an organ and tissue donor, and possibly save not just one but many lives someday, make sure your wishes are known. Talk with your family, address their concerns, and help them understand your choice. Then, if a tragedy ever occurs and your organs are needed, it will be one less thing for your family to deal with, and they can feel proud of you for saving someone’s life.

Denver Ranks 13th Least Courteous City in National Road Rage Survey

During our daily commute in Colorado, it’s not unusual to witness or be engaged in an incident of road rage.

An aggressive driver is weaving in and out of traffic and angers another driver already frustrated and tense from increasingly heavy traffic congestion. They engage in a cat and mouse game at 80 miles per hour.

A driver distracted while talking on a cell phone abruptly cuts into your lane with no signal almost causing a collision.

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Nearly 5,000 are killed in Semi-Truck Accidents Every Year

I had an interesting conversation with an irate semi-truck driver yesterday. He saw the Bachus & Schanker ad on TV and was “all fired up”. He let me know in no uncertain terms how offended he was by our ad.

What made my conversation with this irate semi-truck driver even more interesting was I had just received an email about the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, a national association of dedicated plaintiff lawyers (no defense lawyers allowed) who have joined together to help eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices across America. I was actually visiting their web site when I took his phone call. Talk about coincidence.

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