Memphis Personal Injury Law Blog

North American Truck Drivers on Notice: Secure Those Loads

It’s official. Truck drivers throughout North America are on notice that their cargoes need to be properly secured.

Everyone in the trucking business knows the importance of properly securing cargo to avoid unnecessary safety risks, yet serious accidents continue to occur due to improperly secured loads. Can governmental oversight limit the frequency of these accidents?

Cutting through the fog of insurance policy language

After a significant car accident or other motor vehicle accident, the insurance companies get involved almost immediately. The insurance company executives will play nice with the victims and their families, and act as though they want nothing more than to help out.

The truth, however, is quite different. Insurance companies do not make money by doing the right thing in every case. In fact, many motor vehicle accidents result in endless insurance policy language minutiae that all works to minimize, delay and deny policyholders’ rightful claims.

ATV Accidents and Injuries Worse for Children than For Adults

Most people feel that All-Terrain-Vehicles (ATVs) are relatively safe. Safe enough to let their children ride them, either as passengers while an adult is driving or as drivers themselves.

However, ATVs are not as safe as some people think. Just looking at the lack of coverage and seat belt protection makes this fact obvious, and science and also backs up common sense in proving the dangers of ATVs, especially to children.

The legal ramifications of automated cars could be staggering.

Remember when people used to cause auto accidents? 

It looks possible that those simpler times we be nothing more than a memory. With the advent of automated self-driving automobile technology, it looks like computers will be the most frequent defendant in motor vehicle accident claims.

Of course, a computer can't be a defendant in a legal claim. But we will see computer-operated cars as the cause of motor vehicle accidents with increasing frequency. There is no chance that automated vehicles will be perfectly safe and make the right decision every time, so this increase in automated vehicle accidents will have a dramatic impact on the world of auto accident claims.

Truck drivers need to make sure their cargo is secure.

One of the most common causes of truck accidents is improperly secured loads. Because the cargo isn't visible from the outside, people don't really think about the impact that an unsecured load can have on a moving truck. But shifting loads can send a truck off course, resulting in serious accidents.

Tennessee truck driver declared an 'imminent hazard to public safety'

truck crash 3-T.JPGDid you know the federal government has the power to take dangerous commercial truck drivers off the road?

Last week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of transportation, took action against a Tennessee truck driver, declaring him to be an "imminent hazard to public safety."

As such, the FMCSA routinely forbids individuals from operating any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

FMCSA's imminent hazard order states that the driver's continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce "substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public if not discontinued immediately."

A rough week in Vermont

The driver in question was licensed in Tennessee, but the incidents that led to his being banned occurred in Vermont. A single four-day period saw this driver get arrested two separate times for alcohol-involved incidents.

Don't be embarrassed about hitting that cow

cow-t2.JPG

There is a kind of auto accident that is sometimes hard to ascribe to negligence. We are speaking of the single car accident - a crash in which you are injured

You can think of many situations in which the driver appears to bear responsibility for the accident and injury:

  • A car crashes into a tree.
  • A car strikes a cow.
  • A car drives into a railing.
  • A car drives into a culvert.

These are almost comically embarrassing situations, until you consider what actually happened.

  • The reason the car crashed into the tree was because another driver - perhaps unaware of doing so -- forced him off the road. This is known as the phantom accident. The other driver caused the accident, but sped away, oblivious.
  • The car struck the cow because the owner of the cow let it wander onto the highway.
  • The car drove into the railing because a lumberyard truck dropped a ton of 4x4s onto the highway.
  • The car left the highway because the brakes failed, and the driver was unable to control the car.

You see the pattern. To judge a single car accident, you need to understand the context in which they occurred.

It wasn't your fault, or the cow's.

2016 was a deadly year for Tennessee drivers

Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. No matter how hard we work to mitigate the associated risks, there is always a possibility of some type of accident happening. This has been particularly noticeable for many Tennessee drivers for the last year.

Unfortunately for many people, researchers and safety officials have been unable to point to any one thing in particular that has caused an increase in traffic fatalities over the course of 2016. Instead, the increase seems to be coming as a result of multiple factors and trends.

How to drive on ice

snowyhighway.JPGEvery year we have to re-learn how to keep from sliding into another vehicle or off the road. These six tips may save you money. They may save your life.

1

Slow the heck down

Ice decreases the tension of driving. It makes it harder for tires to grip the road. In a sense, it loosens the gravity that holds you where you are. When ice is present, brake action is useless or even counterproductive. When conditions are icy, you should never exceed 45 mph. When black ice covers surfaces like bridges, slow down to a crawl.

2

Know your limitations

You live in Tennessee. It's very difficult to be an expert on icy conditions here. We're lucky if we get three snowstorms per winter. Don't tell yourself, "I've got this." Because you don't. Curiosity killed the cat - overconfidence could be what gets you.

3

Buckle up

You should do this every single time you switch on the ignition. No trip you take is guaranteed safe - particularly not when the snow is blowing sideways and your visibility is limited to 100 feet.

What's the best way to deal with road rage?

A road rage incident in New Orleans last week demonstrates how crazy our highways have become. The two male drivers pulled off the road. One man accused the other of cutting him off. An argument ensued, and ended when one driver pulled out a gun and shot the other man dead.

The victim was former NFL running back Joe McKnight, who played for the Jets and Chiefs.

Road rage is on the rise. You can be driving along and suddenly another driver appears, mad as hell. They think you cut them off, or were driving too slow, or failed to signal.

Why are they so mad?

You get the feeling that they are really angry about something else, and you just got in their way. It's extremely upsetting. The driver may curse at you, shake a fist, threaten to rear-end you or drive you off the road entirely. The angry driver may get out and pound on your car, and threaten you. Sometimes you get angry, too, as happened in the McKnight killing.

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