How simple truck side guards could save thousands of lives

Most city streets, with tight intersections and multiple stoplights, were not designed to accommodate tractor-trailer trucks alongside pedestrians and bicyclists. Large trucks have a high, wide gap between the truck’s front and rear tires. This dangerous space is where 50% of the deaths from truck and bicycle collisions occur. A truck side guard is a panel that blocks the dangerous space between the truck’s front and rear wheels. This simple safety device prevents cyclists—and pedestrians—from being trapped and crushed by the truck’s rear wheels. Dozens of people die each year in side-impact truck crashes. Hundreds more are seriously injured. Yet, side guards are still not required safety equipment for trucks in Seattle, or in  Washington, or in most of the

Families of truck crash victims take action through Truck Safety Coalition

Every year, thousands of Americans suffer fatal injuries from truck crashes. Each one of those victims could leave behind dozens of family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors who are affected by a preventable tragedy. This week, the Truck Safety Coalition hosted a Sorrow to Strength conference. Truck crash survivors, and the families and friends of those killed in truck crashes, gathered to talk to members of Congress about improving truck safety. Check out #SorrowtoStrength on Twitter to see what happened at this week’s conference. One of the hardest things I do in my law practice is meet with the family of someone who’s been killed in a crash. Families often struggle after these tragedies, and feel helpless to solve the problems

This crash shows you exactly why trucking companies are supposed to do safety inspections

A quick lesson in trucking law: maintenance duty You probably know that specific laws and regulations apply to all commercial trucks that use our public highways.* One of those rules: every trucking company must have a regular truck maintenance program to keep its equipment in safe operating condition. As a back-up, the truck driver must also conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections to check for any equipment defects. In short, a trucking company and truck driver are responsible for making sure the truck is safe before it hits the road. Maintenance is a major factor in trucking accidents crashes Truckers are responsible for safely moving 80,000 pounds of vehicle and cargo, and —just like your car—those vehicles need regular equipment checks and

Senator’s Truck Safety Act calls for hourly pay, insurance fix

Late on Friday, Senator Cory Booker introduced The Truck Safety Act (S. 1739). The bill would update Reagan-era insurance minimums; pay truckers for their time instead of their mileage; and, make commercial trucks use some of the same safety technology as passenger cars. Fixing the minimum amount of insurance for trucks The minimum amount of insurance for a commercial truck in 1980: $750,000 The minimum amount of insurance in 2015: $750,000 Booker’s proposed bill includes a long-overdue market correction: raise the insurance minimum to $1.5 million, and tie the insurance levels to inflation so we don’t have this problem again in another 30 years. Trucking groups are fighting this fix to the insurance minimum: they shouldn’t be. Liability and damages

Congress is wrong: why the minimum insurance limits for trucks need to change

In June, the US House of Representatives passed a transportation bill – HR 2577– with a strange provision: it stops the Department of Transportation from updating minimum trucking insurance requirements. Commercial truck insurance minimums haven’t changed in 30 years. The federal government sets a “floor”: a minimum amount of insurance coverage commercial trucks must carry. There are good reasons for this, primarily: Medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses from truck crashes are covered by the trucking companies, not by the injured persons or the taxpayers; and It establishes an entry-level safety standard for commercial truck drivers. If you can’t afford insurance, then you can’t afford brakes, tires, maintenance, etc. The concept is good. The practice is flawed. The last time

Sleepy truckers putting everyone on the road at risk

Commercial truckers who admitted to falling asleep while driving are believed to cause more than 750 fatalities and 20,000 injuries every year. In truth, that estimate is likely quite low. It’s almost impossible to know how many truck accidents crashes sleepy truckers cause. The same is true for car accidents crashes: very few drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel and causing a crash. But what we do know is fatigued driving is a bigger problem for truckers compared to other drivers, due to the sheer amount of time they spend behind the wheel. Safety Rules Change Keeping Sleepy Truckers on the Road The new changes in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours-of-service rules probably won’t help. Truckers are


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