no zone

Alabama’s Department of Transportation reports that there were more than 9,000 vehicle crashes involving trucks in 2015, the most recent year that data is available at this time. This is the highest number of truck-involved crashes in nearly a decade.

When these accidents happen, they are nearly always preventable. Unfortunately, due to their size and weight, semi-trucks tower over other passenger vehicles and are at a distinct disadvantage. While many people believe that these truck drivers have a bird’s eye view of everything happening on the road, this isn’t the case. The truth is that commercial trucks have limited visibility. Specifically, they have several blind spots that are referred to as “no zones.”

What is a Truck’s “No Zone”?

The term “no zone” comes from the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA), which has identified large areas around a commercial truck where the truck’s driver is unable to see passenger vehicles clearly, if at all. These are areas of limited visibility and where a truck crash is most likely to happen. There are four “no zone” areas around a truck.

The Front No Zone

Large commercial trucks can often move slow, which is frustrating for other drivers on the road. If you’ve ever been stuck behind a semi-truck for miles, you probably understand the temptation to swerve around them at the first opportunity.

This is a dangerous maneuver because there is a front blind spot with tractor-trailers that can extend as far as 20 feet beyond the truck’s cab. A Semi truck driver generally can’t see a vehicle in this zone, which can be deadly if a sudden stop becomes necessary.

If the truck driver can’t see a car directly in front of them, they will not be able to accurately judge their distance to stop. Thinking that the car ahead of you is the next car in line could lead to a dangerous accident where your vehicle becomes sandwiched in between a massive truck and another car.

The Rear No Zone

Tractor-trailers also have a significant blind spot immediately behind the semi’s trailer. Extending up to 200 feet, the no zone in the rear of the truck is not something you want to ignore. A motorist who follows a semi too closely could become involved in a serious accident since the truck driver may have no idea that you are behind them.

If a truck stops too fast and your car is in this no zone, you risk being involved in an underride accident. This happens when a passenger vehicle slides underneath a trailer, usually cutting off the top of the car and causing significant injury or even death to the vehicle’s occupants.

The Right No Zone

Believe it or not, a truck’s right no zone is the largest of the four blind spots. This area can extend as far as three lanes of traffic and begins roughly around the semi’s passenger side cab door. The blind spot extends outward to cover the lanes to the right of the truck.

Therefore it is so dangerous to pass a truck on the right or remain in a truck’s right no zone. If the driver can’t see you, you run the risk of getting hit or trapped when a truck makes an unexpected wide right turn.

The Left No Zone

The no zone on the left side of the truck is the smallest blind spot, but it can still be a dangerous zone for drivers. The rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the tractor-trailer’s mirrors, the driver of the truck probably can’t see you either.

Safely Sharing the Road with Semi Trucks

There are an estimated 15.5 million commercial trucks in the U.S., 2 million of which are tractor trailers. Sharing the road with these trucks can be dangerous, but you can take some steps to keep yourself and your passengers safe.

The first thing you can do is stay out of truck no-zones as much as possible. If you must pass a tractor-trailer, always do so on the left. Also, adjust your vehicle’s mirrors so that you can minimize your own blind spots and reduce the chances of an accident. If a crash does occur, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your rights.

Speak with a Qualified Alabama Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a crash with a commercial truck, please contact Taylor Martino as soon as possible. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will investigate your accident and fight for the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 1-800-256-7728 or contact us online today.

jackknife truck accident

Accidents involving tractor-trailers can be dangerous and have catastrophic consequences. Because these commercial trucks are so large, they are prone to any number of contortions that can cause severe injury or even death. One of the scariest types of accidents involving a tractor-trailer is a jackknife accident, in which the truck’s cab and trailer end up facing different directions. If you’re involved in one of these crashes, you may wonder about your rights to recover damages.

What is a Jackknife Accident?

A jackknife accident happens when the tractor trailer’s two sections head in opposite directions. Like a folding Swiss army knife, the cab of the truck goes one way while the trailer folds in at a right angle. When this “swing” occurs, it can create a dangerous situation on the road for unsuspecting drivers before the truck comes to a halt.

Since half of all truck accident fatalities occur on two-lane, non-divided roads, both on-coming vehicles and cars in the back can be affected. These accidents may also spill heavy cargo onto the roadway, cause multi-car pile-ups, or lead to dangerous vehicle fires.

What Might Cause a Commercial Truck to Jackknife?

Jackknife accidents are generally caused by a truck’s sudden change in speed, such as when it slams on its brakes. When the truck’s cab stops, the momentum of the trailer continues, and there is no place for it to go but a sideways pivot, creating the jackknife. The most common situations that lead to jackknife accidents include:

  • High Speed. No truck stops on a dime, but trucks traveling a high rate of speed (over 55 mph) increase their chances of having to brake suddenly, causing a jackknife reaction.
  • Curvy Roads. Roads with steep angles and curves can create dangerous situations where the truck will fold in on itself.
  • Adverse Weather. The chances of sliding jackknife accidents increase when roads are icy or wet or when visibility is poor.
  • Equipment Failure. Equipment failure such as bad brakes or hydraulics can cause a jackknife accident.
  • Other Negligence. Careless driving, drowsy driving, and distracted driving are just a few of the other ways that driver error can lead to one of these crashes.

Damages Suffered from Jackknife Accidents

Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When you are following the rules of the road and suddenly find 28 feet worth of metal trailer swinging in your direction, it can be a terrifying event. Jackknife accidents cause massive destruction, catastrophic injuries, and loss of life. Some accident victims struggle to put their lives back together as they recover from:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Burns
  • Permanent disfigurement

In addition to the physical trauma suffered from the accident which could require extensive medical care, you may suffer other losses such as missed time from work, permanent disability, and pain and suffering.

Who is Liable in a Commercial Truck Jackknife Accident?

Most jackknife accidents are preventable, which means that you have the right to demand compensation from those responsible for your losses. The most likely candidate for liability is the truck driver, who may have either violated traffic laws or failed to operate their vehicle responsibly. There is also the chance that the driver operated their vehicle more hours than allowed or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving.

The trucking company may also be held responsible in some cases. They must document the hours that the driver works as well as properly maintain the truck so that it is safe on the road. Other parties that might be at fault in one of these cases include equipment manufacturers and cargo loaders. When you work with a truck accident attorney, they will investigate your crash to determine who should be pursued for damages.

Get Help with a Jackknife Accident Lawsuit

If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one resulting from a jackknife accident, you need to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney about your rights. At Taylor Martino, our experienced personal injury attorneys have been representing accident victims throughout Alabama and Mississippi for more than 30 years.

We will review your case, advise you of your options, and do everything possible to hold the negligent parties responsible for your damages. Schedule a free consultation now by calling 1-800-256-7728 or contact us online.

Elderly population vulnerable to abuse and neglect

According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the fastest growing segment of the state’s population are the elderly. These are NaNas and Pop-Pops, mothers and fathers, WWII vets, grocery greeters, bankers, and former boardroom wonders. Despite myriad backgrounds and life stories, one thing all elderly individuals have in common is a susceptibility to abuse.

While we often think of neglect, exploitation, and physical and sexual abuse as grievances enacted upon the very young, a recent expose from the Minnesota StarTribune shows that elder abuse is on the rise—particularly within state care facilities. And while state regulations and treatments standards are in place, state regulators lack the staff and expertise to effectively and appropriately investigate, leading to investigations that drag on for years with penalties never enforced. Many state prosecutors allege that they are not notified of these investigations until months after the abuse has occurred, creating overall difficulty in bringing about criminal charges at all.

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For more information on this topic contact Taylor Martino, P.C. at (800) 256-7728 or locally at (251) 433-3131.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
Follow us on Facebook
The Cost Of The Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis in the United States is getting worse every year with related deaths doubling in the last decade and four times more than in 2001. While deaths have increased significantly so have the costs of dealing with the opioid crisis across the nation. According to a paper published by the White House in November 2017, the cost of the opioid epidemic reached an unprecedented $504 billion in 2015. This estimate is six times larger than the original estimate and is 2.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the U.S. for 2015. These statistics are very troubling.

 

Nationally, opioid related deaths are increasing at alarming rates. The following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show what is happening across the nation, and especially in the eastern half of the United States. Of the states reporting, these states have the highest increases in synthetic opioid related deaths from 2014 to 2015:

 

STATE2014 DEATHS2015 DEATHSPERCENT OF INCREASE
Tennessee13225190.5
Ohio5901,234107.3
West Virginia12221776.4
Illinois127278120
New York294668135.7
Massachusetts453949108.7
Connecticut94211125.9
New Hampshire15128594.4
Maine6211690.4
Georgia17428464.7

The CDC also reports that more than six out of ten drug overdose deaths involved an opioid in 2015, and that “Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999.”

Locally, the Southeastern United States is taking center stage with the number of deaths increasing dramatically and the number of prescriptions alarmingly high. Alabama has the highest prescribing rate in the nation with 121 prescriptions per 100 US residents. Mississippi accounts for 105.6 prescriptions per 100 residents, Georgia 77.8 per 100, and Florida 66.6 per 100. The prescription rate in the nation is unprecedented in history. In addition, from 2014 to 2015, Florida opioid related deaths rose by 22.7%, Mississippi by 6%, Georgia by 6.7%, and Alabama by 3.3% (CDC).

Side Effects of Prescription Opioid Use

Although prescription opioids can help with pain, there are many side effects that increase the risk of taking them for pain:

  • Drug Tolerance. Opioids produce an effect in the body where more is needed to create the same level of pain relief over time.
  • Drug Dependence. If the drug is stopped patients suffer withdrawal symptoms which shows drug addiction was present.
  • Increased Pain Sensitivity. Using opioids may actually increase a patient’s sensitivity to pain, causing a vicious cycle of needing more pain relief.
  • Constipation. Opioids frequently cause constipation which creates a need for other measures and the use of laxatives to combat the constipation. Recurring constipation can lead to other health problems and a life-threatening condition called impaction where the bowel is unable to move.

Other side effects include excessive sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, depression, decreased testosterone levels, itching, and sweating.

Monetary Cost

The cost of the opioid crisis purported by the White House includes both costs for those living with opioid addiction and the cost of the loss of life and the resulting cost to families and society as a result of these deaths. Some of these costs include healthcare costs since opioid abusers “utilize significantly more healthcare resources than non-addicted peers,” (The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis, Nov, 2017). In addition, costs come from lost earnings, especially as related to time lost from work due to illness, incarceration, and death over an expected lifetime. Other costs include:

  • Recovery programs
  • Criminal justice costs due to arrests, incarceration, trials, public attorneys, and all costs related to criminal justice
  • Caring for the families of the deceased who may fall into poverty needing to access government programs such as food stamps and free meals at school, as well as other programs
  • Care of infants born with opioid addiction
  • Care of children who die or are found unconscious due to ingestion of opioids found in their houses and elsewhere
  • Increased spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C

Human Cost

The human cost of opioid addiction, overdose, and death is alarming, especially since most opioid related deaths occur between the ages of 25 and 55 years old. In addition, the above mentioned study reported that deaths are actually under-reported and in reality, are up to 24% higher than officially documented. Human cost not only relates to the workforce and contributing members of society, but even more importantly the impact to children and families, both monetarily and emotionally. Parents are incarcerated and dying at alarming rates leaving broken families, grieving spouses and children, poverty, and a host of emotional difficulties related to these issues including future need for depression and anxiety counseling and other services.

Reasons for the Crisis

Obvious reasons for the crisis include the highly addictive nature of opioids and the number of overlapping or continued prescriptions being given. However, drug companies may also be a major contributor to the crisis. According to a December 2017 article in the Washington Post, the DEA had evidence already in 2014 against major infractions by one of the largest pharmaceutical drug companies in the US, McKesson Corp. According to the report, “investigators said they could show that the company had failed to report suspicious orders involving millions of highly addictive painkillers sent to drugstores from Sacramento, Calif., to Lakeland, Fla. Some of those went to corrupt pharmacies that supplied drug rings.” Unfortunately, a deal was struck earlier this year with McKesson and the Government agreed not to pursue charges. This information is disturbing in light of the monetary and human cost of the opioid crisis in the United States.

For more information on this topic contact Taylor Martino, P.C. at (800) 256-7728 or locally at (251) 433-3131.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
Follow us on Facebook

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The Evolution of the Opioid Crisis

With President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October 2017, Americans may be wondering how in the world we got here. Opioid related drug overdoses and deaths are increasing at an alarming rate in recent years, killing more than 60,000 people in 2016. Considering the following facts published by the White House in the study The Underestimated Cost of the Opioid Crisis, Nov, 2017:

  • The majority of these deaths fall between the ages of 25-55.
  • About two-thirds of opioid drug overdoses are from prescription medications.
  • The crisis is costing Americans over $500 billion per year.

In addition to the deaths between the ages of 25-55, an increasing number of children are being found unconscious or dead after accessing their parent’s drugs or coming in contact with these very dangerous drugs, and there is a surge of babies being born who are opioid dependent. In this article we examine the evolution of the opioid crisis to see how we ended up in this position as a nation.

Opioid History

Opioid addiction has been a problem for much of the history of the United States, but never at this level. Beginning in the 1990’s something began to change. There was a push by patients in the US to more effectively treat pain and pharmaceutical companies began to promote the benefits of opioid pain relievers. Pharmaceutical companies dramatically increased the size of their sales staff and gave out generous bonuses to sales reps. Doctors began writing prescriptions more liberally for all sorts of pain ailments from back pain to arthritis pain to chronic pain. Thus, began an epidemic use of prescription opioids in the United States.

An enlightening fact that has emerged in the evolution of the opioid crisis is that there has been a demographic shift among opioid users from the 1960s to the 2000s. In the 60s more than 80% of opioid users began by using heroin. In the 2000s, 75% report beginning with a prescription opioid pain reliever.

Opioid Crisis Statistics

According the Centers for Disease Control the rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States was 2.5 times higher in 2015 than in 1999. Examine these statistics per 100,000 people:

19992015
Overall Deaths6.116.3
Male Deaths8.220.8
Female Deaths3.911.8
Deaths Ages 55-644.221.8

The largest percentage of increases have occurred since 2013 and by 2015 deaths in the age range of 45-54 had increased to 30 per 100,000.

States with the statistically significant increases in death rates from 2013 to 2015 include an overwhelming majority from the eastern half of the United States including:

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

When comparing statistics from the Annual Surveillance Report Of Drug-related Risks And Outcomes, 2006 to 2016 data shows that current levels of prescriptions are trending downward overall, yet some states still have very high prescription rates:

Location20062016
Overall72.466.5
Oklahoma108.797.9
Alabama115.6121
Arkansas98.3114.6
Tennessee124.8107.5
West Virginia129.996
Kentucky122.697.2

What is Being Done Now?

The CDC published a report titled CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in 2016 which “provides recommendations for primary care clinicians who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.” This includes recommendations on when to use an opioid for pain relief, which opioid to choose, dosage and duration recommendations, and assessing risks and potential harm to patients.

In addition, in a 2015 address titled What is the Federal Government Doing to Combat the Opioid Abuse Epidemic?, Nora D. Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, stressed that the recent initiative by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services would implement better prescription practices as well as reversal drugs, research, and promotion of findings to the public as well as healthcare facilities and practitioners. In addition, measures would be taken to develop treatment plans with “reduced potential for misuse and diversion.” Types of intervention shown to be successful are:

  • Delivering addiction/overdose education and prevention in schools and communities
  • Supporting drug monitoring programs
  • Distribution of reversal drugs such as naloxone to opioid users
  • Investigation and prosecution of inappropriate use of opioids by doctors and pharmacies

For more information on this topic contact Taylor Martino, P.C. at 1-800-256-7728 or locally at 251-433-3131.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
Follow us on Facebook
Mycobacteria Infection

A number of patients who recently had surgery may have been exposed to dangerous bacteria that is notoriously hard to diagnose. The bacteria can have life-altering, even deadly consequences. What is worse and frightening is that the patients probably don’t even know they have been infected and may not learn that they have been infected until it is too late.

The problem, which has become global in scope, is that a few years ago certain medical equipment frequently used during cardiac surgery was contaminated with bacteria in a German manufacturing plant. The contaminated equipment was then shipped to hospitals in the United States. Unfortunately, hospitals have used this equipment for years without properly cleaning and disinfecting it, thus exposing countless patients to a dangerous pathogen called non-tuberculosis mycobacteria. And because mycobacteria is a slow growing organism, most patients don’t even know they have been infected until they become sick or incapacitated, which can take many months.

The contaminated medical equipment is frequently referred to as a heating-cooling system. The purpose of the heating-cooling system is to keep patients either warm or cold during surgery to optimize the chance of successful surgery. These machines are routinely used during open-heart surgery. A German company called Sorin Group (now known as LivaNova) manufactured a popular model known as the Soren 3T heating and cooling system. The Soren 3T’s were sold all over the United States.

Beginning in 2011, a number of reports began filtering in about patients suffering from unusual mycobacteria infection after heart surgery. The risk of a mycobacteria infection from heart surgery is normally very low, so a cluster of new cases was alarming. The one common thread among these cases was that a Soren 3T heating system was used during surgery. In July of 2014, Soren sent a letter to a number of medical facilities using the 3T model that outlined important information about reported mycobacteria infections. The letter notified hospitals about the problem and recommended strict adherence to the company’s cleaning and disinfection protocols.

According to a recent FDA release, Soren discovered that the mycobacteria contamination originated in its plant in Germany. In other words, these machines were contaminated during production and sent to medical facilities already colonized with dangerous bacteria. Compounding the problem, the evidence is beginning to emerge that these machines were not being properly cleaned by hospitals. Thus, the mycobacteria was permitted to colonize the machines and potentially infect countless patients during surgery.

The nature of mycobacteria has made this recently discovered crisis even more dangerous. Mycobacteria is notoriously slow growing and subtle. Often patients do not feel its effects until months after exposure. This is very dangerous because it allows the infection to grow and spread over time. Without intervention with antibiotics, these infections can become a major health risk. Patients who received valve replacement surgery are at particularly high risk because the bacteria can grow on the valve and eventually break off causing a potential stroke or even death.

Taylor Martino is a law firm that serves victims in Alabama and Mississippi. If you believe that you, or a loved one, has been affected, please contact us today for a free and confidential consultation and case evaluation by calling 251-433-3131 or by email.

Steven A. Martino, Esq.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P.C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
 Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
Follow us on Facebook
Practice Road Safety

Holiday events and celebrations can be exciting times for family and friends to get together. But, get-togethers with family and friends can turn into tragedies when people are killed or injured in traffic crashes.

As the holiday season is approaching, motorists need to be mindful of actions that will make their holiday travel safer. Drivers can protect themselves and their passengers by following these holiday travel rules.

1. Before beginning any trip, have your vehicle tuned up and make sure it’s in good shape for travel. This is especially important for winter driving conditions. Vehicle safety changes based on the weather around it. If you are not sure what all to check ,take your vehicle to your local service department.

2. Make sure you and everyone in the car is properly wearing their seat belts and riding correctly in car safety seats. Remember, the rear seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride. Being on the road for long periods can cause some passengers to move their safety belt or even remove it. Make sure you check frequently to assure proper use.

3. Have flexibility in your travel plans. Having flexibility allows for unexpected events that may arise in different areas. This gives you plenty of time to reach your destination and not feel rushed. Rushed driving causes more accidents.

4. Stay fresh and alert when driving. Take plenty of breaks and do not push yourself to meet an unrealistic schedule. If you get tired, pull off the road.

5. Don’t speed and follow all traffic safety/driving rules. Use the correct lanes, signals, and other driving courtesies to notify other drivers of your intentions.

6. Lastly, don’t drink and drive. Don’t use your cell phone while driving.

All in all, there are several ways you can practice road safety while driving this holiday season. Taylor Martino wants everyone to be safe, buckle up and obey the law. Happy Holidays!

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Alabama-Car Wreck-Injury- Mobile-AL-Car-Accident-Lawyer

If you have been in an Alabama Car Wreck and sustained injury by an uninsured driver, you are required by Alabama Law to put your insurance company on notice of the wreck. You are required by your insurance policy to do it promptly after the wreck. Some policies have time limits, and if you go beyond a time limit, you may not be allowed to use your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on your policy. Why is this important? It is important because if you are injured, and hit by a driver who does not have any insurance coverage, or doesn’t have enough, then you can use your uninsured motorist coverage if you purchased it. But, if you did not timely put your company on notice, your company will try to get out of providing the coverage for you on your policy.

Alabama-Car Wreck-Injury- Mobile-AL-Car-Accident-Lawyer

Many people are concerned that using their uninsured motorist coverage will make their premiums go up , but if the wreck was not your fault, and you have not had repeated claims on your policy, then your premiums should not go up. After all, you have paid for this coverage over the years, and you should use it when the time comes that you need it.

What exactly is uninsured motorist coverage? Let’s look at an example: if you are hit by a driver who has only $25,000 in liability coverage on their policy, and your damages from the case including lost wages and medical bills total $50,000, then you should use your uninsured motorist coverage to help pay the claim. If you have $25,000 in UM coverage on your policy, then you would be entitled to add that on top of the at-fault person’s coverage to help pay for your damages. It is called “stacking” and you are entitled to stack your UM coverage on top of the at-fault insurance driver’s coverage if your damages warrant stacking. You should check your policy to see if you have “added on” or “excess” UM coverage. If you do, you can stack it. If you bought “reduced by” then you won’t get to add your UM to the at fault insurance company’s coverage. The take home point here is to check your policy to make sure you don’t have “reduced by” UM coverage, and if you do, change it by calling your agent to “added on” UM coverage. Also, you should buy the highest amount of UM coverage you can afford, as this may someday be needed if you are hurt badly in a wreck.

If you have been in an Alabama Car Wreck and Sustained Injury by an Uninsured Driver, contact an experienced Mobile, AL Car Accident Lawyer TODAY!

RICHARD H. TAYLOR
Taylor Martino, PC
51 St. Joseph Street
P. O. Box 894
Mobile, Alabama 36601
OFFICE: (251) 433-3131
FAX: (251) 433-4207
richard@taylormartino.com

Tractor trailers deliver goods all over the country every day of the week. Their drivers often work brutal hours and travel great distances, all while dealing with the pressure of tight deadlines—and in some cases, while carrying hazardous cargo. The combination of these factors creates a potent mix that can lead to serious—even fatal— truck collisions.

Because of tractor trailers’ massive size and weight, when they get into a collision, it is often horrific in nature: and more often than not, it’s not the truck driver who suffers. When involved in fatal truck accidents, the truck driver survives over 86 percent of the time. There are a variety of factors at play, but the biggest reason is that huge trucks offer a great deal of protection to their drivers; for the other vehicle involved, however, that size dramatically increases the chance of fatalities. According to a 2008 federal report, 8 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involve large trucks, while those same trucks make up only 2 percent of motor vehicle injuries. The most common scenario in these types of crashes is a truck jackknifing due to equipment failure, improper braking, or adverse road conditions.

Reasons for Truck Collisions

  • Vehicle malfunction. The biggest culprit in this category is defective brakes. A 2006 federal study showed that deficient or poorly adjusted brakes were a factor in 29.4 percent of all fatal truck crashes, and that about 19 percent of all inspected commercial vehicles were found to have brake defects. Other causes include light/marker/signal malfunctions, lack of proper tire pressure, and suspension problems.
  • Driver speeding, often to meet a deadline.
  • Driver fatigue.
  • Driver inexperience.
  • Driver inattention, often due to eating or talking. This is one factor that leads to the single biggest cause of truck fatalities: the failure of the driver to stay in the proper lane.
  • Unsafe driving given inclement weather conditions.
  • Overloading of cargo

Although truck driver training is rigorous, if a commercial trucking company is facing tight deadlines, they may put drivers on the road after incomplete or inadequate training. In addition, one of the agreements in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) makes it easier for Mexican truck drivers, whose training is less intense than that of their American counterparts, to work in this country.

Though there are always multiple factors contributing to any car accident, when a truck is involved, the stakes are immediately raised. Not only does the size and weight of the truck increase the chance of serious personal injury, a truck’s cargo can create health problems as well. Overturned trucks carrying hazardous waste, flammable liquids, or other toxic materials can put you in immediate danger, even if you are not personally involved in the accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in the Mobile, Alabama or Pensacola, Florida area, then please contact the experienced lawyers at Taylor Martin, P.C. for a free evaluation.

Dangerous ET-Plus guardrails

Ed Rowan, Esq. of Taylor Martino, P.C. recently met with an expert engineer, Dr. Brian Pfeifer of BEC Consulting about his extensive experience investigating potential defective designs and installation of guardrails and barriers along highways and interstates. His specialty is roadside safety and analysis of maintenance of traffic issues.

The sole purpose of guardrails and barriers is life safety – to protect us from a hazard that is on the other side of the guardrail or barrier in case of a crash such as trees, embankments, and other structures. All across the United States, there currently exists a potentially defective end cap installed on guardrails (called the guardrail terminal) – this is an endcap called the “ET-Plus” manufactured by Trinity Industries. This end cap does not collapse when a car impacts it, but rather has the potential to cut the car into pieces and the rails have speared through the driver or passenger-side doors, into seats and through the vehicle floors. This particular guardrail endcap has been the subject of a recent $680 million verdict in Texas and the company faces at least 40 product liability lawsuits nationwide over its ET-Plus product.

A recent study conducted by the University of Alabama-Birmingham concluded that a redesigned version of the ET-Plus guardrail system places motorists at a higher risk of serious injury or fatality than its previous version. The study examined eight years of data for injury and death crashes in Ohio and Missouri involving five different guardrail end terminal designs. The study found that the ET-Plus design was 3.95 times more likely to produce a fatality than its predecessor, the ET-2000 design. In addition, the ET-Plus guardrail was 1.45 times more likely to produce a severe injury. The study was funded by The Safety Institute and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

If you were seriously injured in a crash and there was a guardrail or barrier involved, there could very well be a defectively designed and/or installed guardrail or barrier that did not serve its one and only purpose – to protect you.

Please contact Ed Rowan at (800) 785-8755 or at ed@taylormartino.com for a free and confidential consultation.

TAYLOR MARTINO, P. C.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
51 Saint Joseph Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602
Toll-Free: 1-800-256-7728
Main Tel:  251-433-3131
Follow us on Facebook