Comments Off on Nonprofit Focused on Transportation Safety Schedules Annual Check
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced that this year’s Operation Safe Driver will occur from October 16-22, 2016. Last year, law enforcement agencies conducted almost 20,000 roadside inspections during the Operation week focused on transportation safety. Driving in excess of the speed limit was the main reason that warnings and citations were issued to commercial vehicle drivers. Other reasons that drivers were cited were for failure to wear a seatbelt, failure to obey a traffic control device, and for using a handheld phone. All together, 4,062 citations were issued, as were 3,929 warnings.
These safety inspections, aimed at reducing injuries and deaths caused by commercial vehicles, are warranted in the protection of drivers and their passengers on Missouri roadways. The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) reports crash data annually, and in its most recent report (2014), they indicated that 109 people were killed in commercial vehicle crashes, along with 3,185 people who were injured. Its definition of commercial vehicles includes “trucks having a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more, cargo vans, vans with less than nine occupants, limousines having 9 to 15 occupant capacity, buses having occupant capacities of 16 or more, and vehicles displaying hazardous materials placards.” These efforts, along with other inspections, can help to make highways in St. Louis and throughout Missouri safer.
KMOV news reported last week that a school bus with 14 children on board was involved in a car accident in St. Louis, Missouri. Eight of the children suffered injuries. Six children were transported to St. Louis area hospitals for treatment. The extent of their injuries was described as minor.
Car accidents involving school buses are common occurrences across the country. In general, the NTSB considers school buses safe. Advocates against seat belts on school buses argue, among other things, that school buses are “compartmentalized” for protection. This approach relies on seats that are padded and energy absorbing to protect the occupants who are “compartmentalized” between seats on the bus.
However, many personal injury attorneys in Missouri would consider the lack of seat belts to be a problem. In March of this year, ABC News highlighted the debate taking place in many states over whether school buses should be equiped with seat belts. The article pointed out that only 6 states have passed legislation dealing with seat belts on school buses. The article mentions the irony in requiring that the school bus driver wear a seat belt while all of the children go seat belt free on the bus.
Missouri does not require seat belts on school buses. It was, however, a Missouri school bus accident earlier this year on Interstate 44 that reignited the debate over whether seat belts should be required on school buses. In that accident, several students were injured and killed when their school bus was involved in a wreck with a tractor-trailer and pick-up truck.
Most Missouri accident lawyers would welcome the enhanced safety that school bus seat belts would provide to students traveling within this state.
Most St. Louis personal injury attorneys have had auto accident cases involving injuries to pedestrians. These cases are particularly troubling when the pedestrians are children. Earlier today, KSDK news reported that two pedestrian children were struck at a bus stop in Jefferson County while crossing the street to board a school bus.
According to DeSoto, Missouri police, the children were crossing the street to board a school bus when a driver failed to stop for the bus stop sign arm. Missouri law requires that the driver of a vehicle, upon meeting from either direction any school bus which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children and whose driver has given the signal to stop, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus and shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion, or until signaled by its driver to proceed. For the text of this Missouri law, click here.
The news article mentioned certain mitigating factors such as glare from the sun, but the need for extreme caution around a stopped school bus can never be underestimated. School bus accidents cause serious and devastating injuries and the need for extreme vigilance should always be present.
The latest news reports indicate that at least one of the young pedestrians from this school bus accident was released from the hospital soon after the accident. We can only hope that the second victim of this accident makes a quick hospital exit as well.
Comments Off on Federal Panel to Review Deadly Truck and Bus Accidents
As a St. Louis personal injury attorney, I was happy to see that the federal government recently convened a panel to focus on deadly bus accidents and truck accidents. In May of this year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a two-day panel to focus on ways to reduce the number of fatal truck accidents and bus accidents.
One proposal put forth by the government involves reducing the number of driving hours from 11 to 10 a day. The proposal also includes requiring mandatory rest breaks for drivers, limiting the work day to 14 hours and requiring drivers to take more time off to rest after reaching their weekly driving limit.
The Associated Press article discussing the NTSB focus group highlighted the tragic nature of many tractor-trailer, bus and truck accidents. The article discussed a tragic accident in which a 76 year old tractor-trailer driver who had slept only about five hours the previous night and had been driving almost 10 hours failed to see a line of cars stopped on the highway for a fender bender and plowed into and over several vehicles killing 10 people.
As any Missouri lawyer knows, truck accident cases and bus accident cases usually involve serious injury and death. The citizens of Missouri would be well served by increasing the safety of our highways through reasonable regulation.
Comments Off on Fatal Bus Accident Highlights Driver Fatigue
Yahoo News reported earlier this month that a May 31 fatal bus accident in Bowling Green, Virginia, took the lives of several people and injured many more. As a St. Louis accident attorney, I could not help but take note of this accident given the recent string of bus accidents in our area. In this case, the bus was transporting 59 passengers. According to reports, the driver fell asleep in the early morning hours and lost control of the bus causing a crash.
The bus company employing the driver had been cited on numerous occasions for violating safety rules involving driver fatigue. Apparently, the company had been cited for 46 violations involving driver fatigue rules over two years. The company was ranked in the bottom 14 percent of motor carriers. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), between 13 percent and 31 percent of commercial vehicle crashes are due to driver fatigue.
While this was not a Missouri accident, Missouri bus accident attorneys are no strangers to serious passenger and school bus accidents. The greater St. Louis region alone has had several high profile bus crashes in the last few years. Any St. Louis personal injury attorney would look at the facts of the Bowling Green accident and immediately consider the actions of the company employing the driver. The history of this company’s conduct might suggest an action for punitivie damages in a Missouri lawsuit.
A Missouri wrongful death lawyer investigating the Bowling Green accident would consider whether the company’s and driver’s conduct would constitute an aggravating circumstance under Missouri’s wrongful death laws. This claim is similar to a punitive damage count. When companies have a pattern of willfull misconduct, wanton or reckless behavior, punitive damages may be appropriate when someone is injured or killed.
The NTSB is looking at new rules and regulations to make bus companies comply with safety regulations regarding driver fatigue. One proposal is to install an automated method for keeping track of driver’s hours instead of paper driving logs. These new regulations should make Missouri roads safer for bus passengers and the citizens of Missouri.
Comments Off on Semi-Truck Accident Closes Highway 40 in St. Louis
As a Missouri truck accident lawyer, I took note of a KMOV report regarding an accident involving a semi-truck that closed portions of Highway 40 in St. Louis, Missouri last Saturday. The truck crash occurred on eastbound Interstate 64 on the Kingshighway exit ramp in St. Louis. According to authorities, the accident involved a car and a tractor-trailer. KMOV reports that two people were taken to the hospital with injuries. The news report shows the big rig overturned on the exit ramp.
The article does not discuss the suspected cause of the car/truck accident. Many times truck accident attorneys will use witness statements, physical evidence and information provided by first responders to get an initial impression as to the causes of an automobile accident. Through the formal discovery process in Missouri litigation, Missouri personal injury lawyers will develop additional evidence that may point to other causes of a collision involving a large truck, such as the one in this St. Louis accident.
Most St. Louis personal injury attorneys will investigate truck and auto accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that if the injury lawyer agrees to represent an injury victim involved in an accident, there would be no payment of any attorney’s fee unless a recovery were obtained in the case. This type of attorney fee is permitted in Missouri.
The victims of serious car and truck accidents in Missouri should consider having a Missouri accident lawyer investigate the claim as soon as possible after the accident. Early investigation may help in documenting the facts of an accident. If you would like a free consultation with Mr. Cichelero, please call 314-205-2886.
Comments Off on Tractor-Trailer Accident on I-270 in St. Louis County Causes Injuries
A tractor-trailer was involved in a car accident on April 15, 2011, on Interstate 270 near the I-70 and I-270 interchange in St. Louis County, Missouri. St. Louis area personal injury lawyers are quite familiar with this interchange. The Maryland Heights police responded to the call. A spokesman for the police said that a semi-truck tried to exit the highway at the last minute causing the tractor trailer accident. The news video showed several cars involved including a mini-van. Several people were injured with one person sustaining serious injuries. The police indicated that the driver of the tractor-trailer may be charged.
Tractor trailer accidents can cause serious injuries because of the size of these big rigs. Accidents involving large commercial trucks often involve different issues than motor vehicle collisions between passenger cars. The operation of a semi-truck is subject to additional state and federal regulation. Missouri personal injury attorneys who have handled big truck and tractor-trailer accidents will be familiar with the regulations. On the federal level, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has rules and regulations in place governing vehicle operation and driver conduct. For an example click here.
In 2006 the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a large-truck crash causation study. The study highlights the factors involved in large truck crashes. To view the study, click here. One finding of the NHTSA study was that, of large-truck drivers involved in crashes, 3% had driven their large truck for the first time within 6 months of the truck crash and another 7% had driven their large truck 10 times or less prior to the truck accident. One factor that a Missouri personal injury lawyer might consider is the tractor-trailer or large truck driver’s history.
Anyone injured in a trucking accident in Missouri should consult a Missouri truck accident lawyer. Because of the additional complexity involved in truck accidents, the advice or consultation of a personal injury attorney should be considered.
Comments Off on Worker Injured in Tractor-Trailer Accident in St. Charles County
KMOV news in St. Louis reports that a Missouri Department of Transportation worker was injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer in St. Charles County, Missouri, on Interstate 70 near the Zumbehl Road exit. Apparently, the tractor-trailer crashed into a Missouri Department of Transportation truck that was being used to work on Highway 70. The injured worker was in the MoDot truck at the time.
When a worker is injured in the course of their employment through the negligence of another automobile driver, the injured worker may have both a workers’ compensation claim against his or her employer as well as a liability claim against the driver causing the injury. A Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer might file a claim on behalf of the injured worker. Generally, Missouri workers’ compensation law provides benefits to Missouri workers in the form of payment of medical costs, payment of temporary disability benefits and payment of any permanent disability benefits. For more information on Missouri workers’ compensation benefits, click here.
A Missouri personal injury lawyer, in this case a truck accident lawyer, might also pursue a claim against the tractor-trailer driver as well as the company the driver was working for at the time of the accident. This might be a liability-based claim arising out of the negligent actions of the tractor-trailer driver. The KMOV article does not go into details about the facts of the semi-truck accident, but the driver’s conduct would be relevant in determining whether any punitive damage factors were present.
While both Missouri workers’ compensation claims and third-party liability claims may be pursued, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may be entitled to some reimbursement from proceeds of the third-party claim for benefits paid to the injured worker. It usually is helpful, if not necessary, to have a Missouri personal injury attorney advise as to the relationship between the workers’ compensation claim and third-party truck accident case.
Comments Off on Bus Companies in Crashes Cited for Safety Violations
The USA TODAY is reporting that a review it conducted of government records showed a number of bus companies cited for safety violations have not had follow-up audits. According to USA TODAY, the follow-up audits are to determine if companies are following required safety rules and regulations. These rules include drug and alcohol tests of drivers and hour limitations on driver operation. The USA TODAY analysis of government records found that 433 out of 3,100 motor coach operators were listed as “on alert” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is charged with overseeing both bus and truck safety. For a sample of FMCSA rules regarding common carriers, click here.
The USA TODAY article was prompted by two recent east coast bus crashes. In one incident, a bus was involved in a crash near New York on March 12, 2011. Fifteen passengers were killed in that bus accident. According to the USA TODAY, the company had five violations of “fatigued driver” rules since May 2009 leading up to the accident.
Missouri bus accident attorneys are familiar with crashes of tour bus and passenger bus carriers. Many bus companies pass through St. Louis and Kansas City en route to all parts of the country. When a bus accident takes place, it usually commands a lot of news because of the number of people who could potentially be injured or killed. In Missouri, when an accident does occur, the Missouri personal injury lawyer may want to investigate all aspects of the driver’s conduct, the company’s safety record and any other information relevant to driver conduct and training.
Common carriers like bus companies are subject to enhanced regulation. With prompt and effective enforcement of these regulations, bus accident injuries in Missouri and nationwide might be reduced.
Comments Off on Texting While Driving a Problem in Missouri
As a St. Louis personal injury attorney, I was concerned about a recent U.S. Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports magazine study that showed the widespread nature of distracted driving, especially among young people. In the poll, 63% of those under the age of 30 acknowledged driving while using a cell phone and 30% said that they have sent text messages while driving. As everyone knows, distracted driving can lead to serious automobile accidents. To view the joint study, click here.
Distracted driving has become a serious problem in Missouri and the United States as a whole. Every day in Missouri lawyers represent victims of car and truck accidents caused by distracted driving. The Department of Transportation says nearly 5,500 people in the U.S. were killed in distracted driving automobile accidents in 2009. The joint report of the Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports found that car crashes were the leading cause of death for teens; that teens were involved in three times as many fatal car accidents as other drivers; and, that the risk of a motor vehicle accident is 23 times more likely while texting. This problem is so prevalent that the federal government has set up a website solely dedicated to distracted driving. Click here to view the site.
In the wake of increased texting and phone usage behind the wheel, several groups have stepped forward to offer some simple and basic strategies for reducing these practices. For example, a recent St. Louis news report discussed a new tool to help prevent teens from reckless driving. Parents can obtain bumper stickers that assign a number to the vehicle. If drivers of other cars see the teen driver texting, they can call and report it. For more information, click here.
For Missouri personal injury lawyers, texting while driving can be included in allegations of negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle when the texting driver is involved in an automobile accident. When the Missouri car accident attorney represents an individual who has been injured in an auto accident, investigation of the facts of the car wreck will include trying to determine what the driver that caused the crash did wrong. What did he or she do that was negligent in the operation of their vehicle? This might include an allegation that the offending driver was inattentive or failed to keep a careful lookout for other cars on the roadway. Some attorneys may even include a punitive damage count for texting while driving if that conduct played a role in causing a serious car accident.
The Missouri legislature has recently considered revisions to Missouri’s law prohibiting certain drivers from texting. Legal changes and a greater awareness of the dangers of distracted driving will hopefully lead to safer roads for all Missourians.