House Bill Would Extend Trucking Hours for Propane Haulers

By Randy Appleton

Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA) who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced legislation this week that would extend the emergency trucking hours of service related to the shortage of propane and home heating fuels. The Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation Act of 2014 would guarantee such an extension until May 31, 2014.

The Department of Transportation has already issued a temporary emergency declaration that will allow tank truck operators to deliver propane and other home heating fuels for longer hours. This is hoped to increase deliveries to the most affected areas – generally those in the Midwest and Northeast who are experiencing an unusually cold and snowy winter. But such declarations only are for 30 day periods. This Act would remove all of the uncertainty surrounding such declarations, according to Shuster’s office in Washington DC.

Under the Act, if the propane and home heating fuel shortage subsides before May 31, the US Secretary of Transportation could determine that the extension of the emergency declarations is not needed any longer. The secretary would make that determination on a state by state basis. He also would consult closely with the governors of the affected states.

There have been four regional declarations for propane and home heating fuels this winter. The most recent one was on Feb. 5 and will expire March 1. Those declarations cover the entire US east of the Mississippi.

According to another sponsor of the bill – Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI), this winter has been colder than normal, which has resulted in a higher demand for propane. This has been a big problem in northern states such as Wisconsin and other areas where families cannot heat their homes. In some cases, families have not been able to provide heat in their homes when the temperature was below zero. This legislation will provide more certainty for suppliers and will expedite delivery of propane and heating oil to homes that are running out.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

February 27, 2014   Posted in: Virginia (VA) Trucking Injury/Accidents Topics  No Comments

FMCSA: Driver Database Rule Official; Publication Coming Shortly

By Rick Shapiro

A proposed rule that will establish a database of CDL holders who failed or did not take a drug test is going to be published in the near future, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on Feb. 12.

The database is going to be implemented by the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, and will mandate that carriers upload any positive drug test results to FMCSA. It also requires them to check the database when they are hiring new drivers.

A Department of Transportation report from early February noted that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking should have been published by Feb. 14, 2014. The rule already had cleared the Office of Management and Budget at the White House. That cleared the way for the rule to be published.

The new rule is mandated by the current MAP 21 highway funding act. The actual implementation date for this new rule has not yet been released to the public.

Carriers will not only be required to report to the FMCSA any failed or refused drug/alcohol tests. They will also have to check the database every year for their current drivers’ records. They will have to report traffic citations if any citations occurred under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Owner operators are mandated by law to take random drug tests through a consortium. The owner operators must report to the agency any consortium or 3rd party drug test administrator it uses. It also must authorize it to turn in any information on any of its drivers, including themselves, to the new database.

According to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, the agency is trying to leverage technology to create a one stop verification point to assist companies in hiring drivers that are drug and alcohol free. The new proposal will move the agency further down the path of boosting truck and bus safety, as well as the general safety of the roadways.

Carriers would need to have written consent from drivers before checking the clearinghouse, and before accessing information within the database. If the driver does not give consent, that person will not be able to drive.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

February 26, 2014  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Virginia (VA) Trucking Injury/Accidents Topics  No Comments

Hours and Logbook Violations Get Mexican Company Removed from Pilot Program

For the first time in three years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) pulled the authority for a Mexican carrier company to participate in its cross-border trucking pilot program.

Sergio Tristan Maldonaldo, who does business as Tristan Transfer, had his authority revoked last month due to problems with management control. For example, drivers failed to comply with hours of service rules, and not mandating that drivers keep records of their duty status.

The carrier had five drivers and two trucks that received a conditional rating in a compliance review in December. FMCAS had given the carrier until Jan. 19 to correct the issues, but Tristan did not show that it had done this.

The Mexican carrier also have some violations that were related to alcohol and drug data. It had used drivers before they had gotten back a negative pre-employment screening exam. The carrier also did not investigate one driver’s alcohol and drug history for the last three years, before employing him.

Also, during inspections in November and December in 2013, enforcers reported four incidents where there were drivers with the carrier who did not speak English. In one of those cases, the driver was not able to understand English signals and signs. Several violations on the vehicles also were reported during those audits.

According to an inspection report in September, the investigator found that one truck was not meeting requirements for electronic logging. The same inspection showed that the truck had an exhaust leak under the cab and also a mandatory lamp that was not working.

The pilot program for the FMCSA has 13 participants at this time and will end in October 2014. The agency announced in December that it had cleared another carrier into the program, but that carrier is not yet listed formally as a participant. It is expected that that carrier will be listed as a participant this month.

A federal court ruled in 2013 that the pilot program with Mexican carriers could continue. There was disagreement between Congress and stakeholders in the US trucking industry about whether Mexican CDLs would be considered equal to a state CDL. The three judge panel on the case decided that the pilot program did allow the Mexican truck drivers to use their Mexican CDLs.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

February 20, 2014  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: National Trucking Accident/Injury Topics  No Comments

Truck Crash Figures Tied to Economy and FMCSA’s Effectiveness

Bill Bannister, Chief of the Analysis Division for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) presented arguments regarding FMCSA’s effectiveness in reducing truck crashes. He gave his presentation at a Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee meeting.

Bannister stated that there was a big reduction in truck crashes due to the effects of the recession since 2009. He noted that slow improvements in the economy in recent years increased the truck crash rate. Still, Bannister said that some efforts by the agency helped to reduce the numbers of crashes.

Last year, enforcers did 3.5 million truck inspections in the U.S., which put 21 percent of trucks inspected out of service. This included five percent of drivers. Per testing measures approved by FMCSA, these actions were believed to reduce the number of crashes by 16,000 and save up to 500 lives.

The chief also noted that the agency did 18,000 safety reviews of carriers and issued 6000 Notices of Claim. About 770 carriers were classified as unsatisfactory, or unfit. These actions are believed to have prevented 1500 crashes and saved up to 90 lives, he said.

Don Osterberg, Schneider National Senior VP and a member of MCSAC, contradicted Bannister’s claims. He stated that the increase in crashes since 2009 was a truth that the agency did not really want to deal with. Osterberg said this is true especially in light of CSA and related regulations that were passed in the last five years.

Bannister countered that crashes have been reduced in the last nine years, and many studies have been completed on the economy’s condition to crash rates. He noted that crashes still are not at a similar level today compared to 2009. He said that the rate of increase has declined, and the agency expects that this will continue to decline. But the economy is indeed improving so there is more economic activity, and more chances for crashes to occur.

Larry Minor from FMCSA also pointed to one bright spot for the trucking industry and FMCAS: Up to 80% of New Entrants passed last year. This is a number that has increased in 10% increments in the last three years.

According to data by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 33,561 highway fatalities in 2012, and there was an increase in large truck fatalities, with increases the last three years. The NHTSA stated that the number of large truck fatalities increased 9% in 2012 to 697.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

February 17, 2014  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Virginia (VA) Trucking Injury/Accidents Topics  No Comments

Overweight Coal Trucks Make for Deadly Consequences in Car Accidents

Recently a coal truck in West Virginia (WV) took out power for hundreds in McDowell County after it crashed into a power pole.  Luckily no none was hurt in this accident but most coal truck accidents don’t end so well.  West Virginia is the second-largest coal-producing state in the country and in early December, two people were hospitalized after a coal truck hit a car in Chelyan, West Virginia.  The car was mangled almost beyond recognition.

One reason that truck accidents are often so deadly is because of the sheer size of the trucks and the weight they carry.  To make matters worse last year the West Virginia Legislature raised coal truck weight limits from 80,000 pounds (lb) to 120,000 lb on roads in 15 counties of the coalfields in southern West Virginia after years of controversy over the issue of raising the limits.

Raising the legal weight limit for coal trucks has led some drivers to overload their trucks even more.  According to the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, these trucks have been weighed at nearly 200,000 pounds. A recent article published by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News reports that more than 85 percent of them are overweight. This means nothing but trouble for passenger cars and pedestrians on West Virginia roads.

As truck accident injury attorneys we know that if one of these overweight or even legally weighted trucks crashes into a car the results are often tragic.  To make matters worse for a grieving family or an injured victim the tractor, the trailer, and the truck operator, may all have separate available insurance policies.  The trucking industry doesn’t make it easy. They often don’t provide the actual operator’s name, or what trucking company has the primary insurance.  We can only hope that most truck drivers abide by current weight limits and drive safely.

CT

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

February 13, 2014   Posted in: Virginia (VA) Trucking Injury/Accidents Topics  No Comments

Truck Accident Injuries: The Difference Between Rocks and Negligence

Tractor trailers, semis, big rigs, whatever you call them they can create havoc on the interstate.  If your daily commute has you on the interstate it’s only a matter of time before you here the startling crack of a rock that has just been hurtled 70 mph into your windshield.  Unfortunately you can’t recover damages to your car from an errant rock.  However when parts, pieces or items being hauled by the tractor trailer fly off and hit your vehicle you may be able to recover.  This was true for the family of a man killed by a part breaking off a truck.  A Texas jury awarded the family $281 million for the wrongful death truck injury lawsuit.

The Virginia (VA) truck accident attorneys at Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton and Favaloro are often asked what is the difference between a rock hitting your car from a big rig and a part flying off the truck? Truck companies and drivers are required to keep their vehicles safely maintained.  So if you suffered an injury due to the negligence of a truck driver, yes, you may have a potential case. Truck drivers and operators are also responsible for securing their loads, and if they are negligent in doing so, then you have rights as an injured party. If you are stuck behind a truck that is carrying a load that appears to be unsafe and can’t move over to another lane, make sure you remember enough information about the truck or the company so that you can identify the responsible party in case of an accident.  However a truck driver doesn’t have control over the rocks that fly up from his vehicle and the best advice we can give you is to give these large vehicles the room they need.

If indeed you are harmed by a truck driver’s negligence you will have questions since these types of accidents aren’t like a regular fender bender.  We are often are asked, “Is my claim against the driver, or his company?”  Usually, both the driver and the company he was working for will be named as defendant in a potential suit, but speaking with a lawyer about this is the best way to figure out what to do.

CT

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

December 10, 2013  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: National Trucking Accident/Injury Topics, Virginia (VA) Trucking Injury/Accidents Topics  No Comments

Truckers Question Potential Ban on Texting While Driving

By Rick Shapiro

There’s a growing consensus that texting while driving is highly dangerous and many states are banning the practice altogether. This stems from a myriad of car accidents and studies indicating a strong correlation between texting and distracted driving. For example, a UK study revealed texting while driving was on par with driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Our firm has written a special FREE report on distracted driving, which includes extensive information on texting while driving. Be sure to take a look.

Even with states taking action, a federal ban has been bandied about in on Capitol Hill. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has legislation which would deny states a percentage of federal highway funds if they don’t implement a texting while driving ban.

Most people concede texting while driving is something that needs to be restricted. Nevertheless, there is one group of drivers who don’t support such major action – truckers. Many truck companies have computers and hand-held devices in their vehicles in order to communicate with drivers and provide directions. They contend this type of technology should be exempt from any federal legislation.

However, the evidence is not in favor of the trucking industry. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute videotaped drivers who use the computer technology in the cab of their trucks and found they’re at 10 times greater risk of crashing, nearly crashing or wandering from their lane than truckers who did not use those devices, according to the New York Times.

In Virginia (VA), Old Dominion Freight Line is in the midst of a legal battle stemming from a major accident where their truck driver was using a hand-held device and smashed into a motorcyclist. If stories like this continue to emerge, truck companies may not be able to escape federal texting regulation and could be forced to remove, or dramatically alter, their on-board computer devices.

As an injury lawyer who regularly represents people seriously hurt in car/truck accidents, I’m for whatever helps decrease the incidences of these types of accidents. The damage trucks can inflict on people is disturbing and drivers needs to remain alert at all times when they’re behind the wheel.

 

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

October 17, 2013   Posted in: National Trucking Accident/Injury Topics  No Comments

Five Car Pileup In Charlotte, NC Involves Two Tractor-Trailers

By Jim Lewis, VA/NC Trucking Accident Attorney

One person was hospitalized following a five-vehicle crash on I-77 during the morning rush hour that involved two tractor-trailers. To learn more, read the full story here…

“Two Tractor-Trailers And Three Passenger Cars Involved in Morning Pileup On I-77″

CA

About the Editors: The Virginia (VA) trucking accident attorneys at Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro have experience handling truck accident cases in Virginia, North Carolina (NC), and other Southeastern states. Check out our case results, which illustrate our track record of success in truck accident personal injury cases. Trucking injury lawyers Attorneys with our firm have been listed among the Best Lawyers in America since 2008. Attorneys with our personal injury law firm have also been named Virginia Super Lawyers since 2010, an honor fewer than 5 percent of practicing attorneys receive. To learn more about Virginia truck accident injury law, take a look at this free report written by an experienced truck wreck injury attorney in Virginia.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

April 30, 2013  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: National Trucking Accident/Injury Topics  No Comments

Truck Driver Charged With DWI Following Deadly Greensboro, NC Crash

By Jim Lewis, VA/NC Trucking Accident Attorney

What Happened:

The driver of a tractor-trailer in Greensboro, NC has been charged in a fatal wreck that left another driver with life-threatening injuries. Police say the truck driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Police say the tractor-trailer driver was heading east on I-40 when he collided with a Toyota Prius driven by Khristopher Blue. Blue had been in a minor accident when his car drifted off the road and he then overcorrected, spinning out in the interstate. Tragically, the intoxicated tractor-trailer driver was not far behind and crashed directly into the Prius, killing the driver and severely injuring the female passenger.

Police say the woman was taken to Moses Cone hospital with life-threatening injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer has now been charged with DWI, DWI in a commercial vehicle and various other alcohol related offenses. The police say they are continuing to investigate the accident and what may have led to the initial problems with the Prius.

The North Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney’s Perspective:

We extend our sympathy to the family of the man who died and the seriously injured passenger. Losing a loved one is always hard, but especially so when the accident comes out of the blue. The family of the victim in this tragic case should contact an experienced North Carolina (NC) wrongful death attorney to ensure that the driver is held accountable. Even though criminal charges are being pursued against the driver, it’s important to understand that a civil claim for compensation can still proceed regardless of what prosecutors decide to do.  

Potentially Helpful Information: 

If you’re considering reaching out to an attorney, make sure it’s someone who has experience handling such difficult and emotionally trying cases. My firm handled one case where our client was killed by the driver of a tractor-trailer, leaving his wife and four children behind. In that case, we were able to secure a $2.4 million settlement for the family. Though the money does not help to heal the deep wounds left after the man’s death, it helps provide some much needed money to a family in need.

If someone you love died due to the reckless or negligent behavior of another person, you’re likely confused about how to begin the process of holding the at-fault party accountable for his or her actions. Wrongful death actions can be confusing and are often unfamiliar to most people who, thankfully, have little experience with such lawsuits. For more information on the process, read through my firm’s guide on the wrongful death claims process in North Carolina.

Have Questions? Check out our FAQs 

If you recently lost a loved one in a tragic North Carolina accident and are not sure how to move forward, it might be helpful to check out my firm’s answers to some frequently asked questions regarding wrongful death claims. For instance, you may be wondering what a wrongful death claim is, how a court calculates damages or even what the difference is between a wrongful death claim and a normal personal injury action. For these answers and more, read my firm’s North Carolina wrongful death FAQs.

Here’s a Google Map showing the area of the deadly accident:


View Larger Map

CA

About the Editors: The Virginia (VA) trucking accident attorneys at Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro have experience handling truck accident cases in Virginia, North Carolina (NC), and other Southeastern states. Check out our case results, which illustrate our track record of success in truck accident personal injury cases. Trucking injury lawyers Attorneys with our firm have been listed among the Best Lawyers in America since 2008. Attorneys with our personal injury law firm have also been named Virginia Super Lawyers since 2010, an honor fewer than 5 percent of practicing attorneys receive. To learn more about Virginia truck accident injury law, take a look at this free report written by an experienced truck wreck injury attorney in Virginia.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

April 29, 2013  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Virginia (VA) Trucking Injury/Accidents Topics  No Comments

One Death Results From I-95 Accident Involving Tractor-Trailer

Virginia State Police announced that a man died after being struck by a tractor-trailer on I-95. The driver’s car had broken down by the side of the road and the driver had exited his vehicle when he was hit by the truck and died at the scene. At the time of this posting, state police were working to identify the driver’s family of his death.

To read the full story, click here: One Death Results From I-95 Accident Involving Tractor-Trailer.

About the Editors: The Virginia (VA) trucking accident attorneys at Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Favaloro have experience handling truck accident cases in Virginia, North Carolina (NC), and other Southeastern states. Check out our case results, which illustrate our track record of success in truck accident personal injury cases. Trucking injury lawyers Attorneys with our firm have been listed among the Best Lawyers in America since 2008. Attorneys with our personal injury law firm have also been named Virginia Super Lawyers since 2010, an honor fewer than 5 percent of practicing attorneys receive. To learn more about Virginia truck accident injury law, take a look at this free report written by an experienced truck wreck injury attorney in Virginia.

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

April 21, 2013  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Virginia (VA) Trucking Injury/Accidents Topics  No Comments


SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline