Attorney Jonathan Perkins was quoted in an article about a trucking accident that is calling existing underride protection standards into question.
Underrides bars are protective barriers on the backside of tractor-trailers designed so that cars don’t drive underneath trucks should they rear-end one. These guards, however, are often not strong enough to withstand the impact of a collision. Jonathan Perkins was called in to discuss his knowledge of these kinds of accidents for the article, written by Brigitte Ruthman.
Truck drivers and the companies that employ them are required to follow strict regulations put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These rules ensure that trucking companies maintain suitable safety standards to protect all drivers and passengers on the road.
Any trucking accident can result in serious injuries and death to those involved, and accidents that occur because of FMCSA violations are usually avoidable. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, the physical, financial, and property damage that you face is often serious. Reach out to one of our Connecticut FMCSA regulation attorneys at (203) 397-1283 to learn how we can fight for you.
Commercial Drivers License Required by FMCSA
Commercial truck drivers must obtain special licensure in order to legally be allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle. In order to obtain this license, drivers must complete an assessment of knowledge and skills. Further testing may be required for applicants who plan to operate a truck with multiple trailers, a tank, hazardous materials, or a passenger vehicle. Any violation of safety standards and regulations could result in a driver’s loss of their commercial license and penalties for the trucking company.
In addition to obtaining the proper training and licenses, drivers must meet certain physical standards in order to be eligible to drive.
Fatigue – To be in compliance with FMCSA regulations, drivers are prohibited to drive for over 11 consecutive hours. Additionally, drivers must rest for 10 hours between shifts. These rules are meant to protect drivers from becoming tired on the road and endangering themselves and others.
Sobriety –Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a violation of safety standards and could result in the loss of a drivers commercial license.
To ensure the safety of others, commercial vehicle drivers must avoid these behaviors while behind the wheel:
Excessive Speed– Commercial motor vehicles are unable to stop as quickly as smaller vehicles. The mass and momentum of a speeding truck can cause serious damage in an accident.
Distracted Driving – Truck drivers should remain focused on the road at all times to avoid encroaching on other lanes and potentially causing serious collisions.
Aggressive or Reckless Driving – Commercial vehicles pose an inherent risk to other vehicles on the road when driven safely, so when a driver displays aggressive or reckless behavior they are far likelier to cause injury or death to others on the road.
Proper loading and regular maintenance are both important factors in properly securing a commercial vehicle.
Weight – Each truck has a maximum weight limit that it can safely handle. Attempting to carry cargo that exceeds this limit can put undue pressure on the vehicle, causing an accident.
Maintenance –Damaged or undermaintained commercial vehicles should not be operated. Depending on a driver’s employment arrangement, their company may be responsible for servicing their vehicle.
Hurt in a Truck Accident? Contact a Connecticut FMCSA Violation Lawyer
Being involved in a trucking accident can have a lasting impact on your life. If the accident was the result of a violation of regulations intended to keep you safe, you may have legal recourse. To learn more about how an attorney can help you pursue the compensation that you deserve from a driver or a trucking company, call (203) 397-1283 today.
When one vehicle follows another too closely, it is referred to as tailgating. When you are driving a passenger car, having somebody tailgating you is both annoying and dangerous, and often leads to a completely preventable accident. But commercial drivers who operate enormous 18-wheel vehicles know that having a car tailgating them or riding in any of their “no zones” can lead to a deadly outcome and is responsible for many truck accidents.
Why you should never follow a truck too closely
It is not entirely clear why a driver would tailgate a huge vehicle like a commercial truck: doing so cuts off their field of vision completely and prevents them from being able to see traffic and signage ahead. Beyond their own comfort, when a passenger car follows too closely behind an 18-wheeler, the driver puts both himself and his passengers at significant risk for injury in a truck accident for the following reasons:
Driving too closely behind a truck means they are unable to see what is happening ahead and can’t anticipate the truck stopping. This makes it more likely that they will slam into the back of the truck, and if that happens at a high rate of speed, their car could go under the truck and cause significant injuries to the car’s passengers.
The driver of an 18-wheel vehicle has no way of seeing what is immediately behind them. This area is referred to as the rear no-zone, and it extends a good distance beyond their back liftgate. The best position for the driver of a small car is somewhere far enough back that they are able to see the trucks side view mirrors.
Drivers of cars should also respect a truck driver’s side no-zones and avoid driving to the side of a tractor-trailer because the driver can’t see them. The rule for driving around a truck is the truck’s side view mirror. If you can’t see the driver’s face in the mirror, you need to assume that they can’t see you and don’t know you’re there. If the truck needs to shift lanes suddenly they’ll do so, thinking the lane is clear.
A surprisingly large number of accidents between large trucks and passenger vehicles are caused by mistakes made by the driver of the smaller vehicle, but in a truck accident, it’s the passengers in the smaller vehicle who end up with the worst injuries. If someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident, call us today to learn what your rights are.
Have you ever seen a sheet of ice or snow go flying off of a tractor trailer? It’s a frightening sight and one that’s all too common for highway drivers following snowy cold weather or ice storms. When the “snow torpedo” lands on open road, it’s a dangerous distraction that can shake a driver’s attention and cause them to swerve: when it strikes a vehicle or pedestrian, it can turn deadly.
Everybody has an obligation to drive more carefully when the roads are covered with snow, and that is especially true of commercial truck drivers, whose vehicles have the potential for causing an extensive amount of damage. Though most people envision truck accidents in snow involving slipping, sliding, and trouble braking, the dangers of ice and snow on top of tractor trailers cannot be understated. One victim of this type of accident in Illinois was driving when a sheet of ice from a passing truck struck his car’s windshield. The windshield shattered, sending large and small pieces through the vehicle’s passenger compartment and lacerating his head, nose, and eye. He was lucky, as he was able to pull over and free himself from a large piece of windshield pinning him into the car, and a passing nurse administered treatment while first
responders were on their way.
There are several states that have passed laws with the specific goal of preventing this type of truck accident from happening. As of 2013, the state of Connecticut began requiring commercial motor vehicles to remove snow and ice from hoods, trunks, and roofs of their vehicles or face a fine of up to $1,250. Passenger cars had already been required to clean their vehicles of snow before venturing onto the roadways.
When a commercial driver causes a truck accident as a result of being negligent in removing snow or ice, or for any other reason, they can be held financially responsible for the damage that they cause, and in many cases, the company that hires them is liable as well. If a truck driver shows a disregard for the rules regarding removing snow and ice from the roof of their truck and it leads to injury or death, then they can be made to pay for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and more. For information on how we can help you if you’ve been hurt in an accident, contact the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.
Accidents happen, even to the most experienced drivers. Truck drivers spend their days on the road, but they are as susceptible to making mistakes as any other motorist. Unlike other motorists, they have specific risks that heighten the likelihood of an accident when compared to the average driver. However, there are ways to lessen these risks. The first step to doing this is understanding what makes driving a truck riskier and what the most common sources of accidents are for truck drivers.
Depowering Front Brakes
Trucks have the potential for depowering front brakes, which other motorists are unlikely to deal with. As an effort to lessen the wear and tear on brakes, truck drivers may decide not to use their front brakes. However, using only trailer brakes and downshifting in order to stop a truck heightens the risk for an accident due to the lessened control.
Time is money in any business but that is particularly true for truck drivers. To get to destinations on time or to make more headway, truck drivers will often forgo the necessary rest breaks they are required to take. While time logs are being designed to make that less of an option and are quickly making technological advances, there are always around any system. Fatigue is the 7th leading cause of driver-reported factors in large truck crashes, with brake problems, as described above, at number one.
Drug use is a major problem when operating a large truck. Even prescribed medication can pose some issues when not monitored or administered properly, or when unforeseen side effects kick in. However, when a driver decides to self-medicate, the risks are even higher. In some cases, truck drivers try to take medication aimed at controlling fatigue either over the counter or illegally. These pills can make the driver feel as though they are more alert, but they don’t cure the underlying physical and mental issues beneath fatigue.
Truck companies must be prudent in testing truck drivers for illegal substances but also other medication that is not necessarily illegal but could negatively affect one’s ability to operate heavy machinery. If you have been injured by a truck driver under the influence, it may be the company you must seek damages from. Contact our team today with the details of your case to get legal advice on your claim.
In the past two decades, the occurrence of truck-related accidents has increased by 20% with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reporting 4,897 individuals died and 130,000 individuals were injured in 2002 alone. In general, large trucks only account for 3% of injury-causing motor vehicle accidents. However, unlike other crashes, the effects can cause greater harm.
Also unlike other crashes, the driver may not be responsible for injuries even if they are clearly at fault. Instead, there is a “web of players” such as:
The truck driver.
The owner of the truck/trailer.
Either the person or the company that is leasing the truck or trailer from the owner.
The manufacturer of the vehicle, the tires, or the other parts if they may have led to or contributed to the crash or accident.
Either the shipper or the person who loaded the cargo if improper loading of the cargo contributed to the accident.
With so many hands on the wheel, so to speak, there are often internal arguments over whose insurance will cover the injuries and damages. Due to this, it’s imperative to know the cause of the accident, as it can help quicken the process for compensation.
While there are plenty of things that can go wrong on the road, especially given the lengths most truck drivers will travel during a trip, there are more common causes that most accidents will fall under. These include driver error both leading up to and during the trip, mechanical failures, traffic signal failures, inclement weather and road design or construction. The top two most common are driver error and equipment issues.
Drivers of large trucks are ten times more likely to be the cause of a truck accident compared to other factors, making it the most common cause of truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found both action and inaction by drivers was the critical cause for 88 percent of all truck accidents. With long hours on the road and other factors such as speeding, fatigue, inattention, work environment, unfamiliarity with roads and distractions, it is no surprise that this is the most common cause for crashes.
Equipment Problems and Failure
The second most common cause of truck accidents is when the equipment or parts of a large truck fail. This can include anything from defective tires to design errors. In other cases, mechanical errors are due to failure to maintain the equipment, such as removing or depowering brakes, leading a truck to jackknife, or tire blowouts from wear.
If you have been the victim of a larger truck accident, contact us today. At Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers, we have worked with truck accident cases and understand the nuances and small details that come from these big cases.
There are few times in life more emotionally-charged than losing a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person. Despite the emotions, it’s important to have the right information and important questions answered before pursuing legal action. While many will want to immediately hold the person accountable, it can pay off to take a step back and full understand what comes with the territory of a wrongful death claim.
What is a wrongful death claim?
The compensation gained from a wrongful death claim is meant to help financial aid family members following a fatal accident. This is often when the family members had been financially and emotionally dependent on the deceased.
Who can seek damages?
A good rule of thumb is whether the person is part of the estate. Surviving spouses and children are the most common, but surviving parents and other family members may also be able to seek damages.
What damages can be covered?
Damages following a wrongful death fall into two categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages include monetary losses and the expenses that came as a result of the death such as funeral arrangements and medical bills. Noneconomic damages cover losses and injury that are harder to quantify, such as lingering effects of injuries.
Can I be compensated for pain and suffering?
In a wrongful death suit, pain and suffering may be sought when the victim did not die instantaneously. Collecting for your own pain and suffering is much more difficult to claim.
Can I claim emotional distress as a bystander?
In some circumstances, damages can be sought as a bystander. Family members who witnessed the death or saw their loved one at the scene of the accident may be able to collect compensation for their emotional distress. They might be compensated for emotional and psychological injuries that would be expected from the loss of a loved one.
Can I seek damages for loss of consortium?
When your spouse passes away and you have children, you are losing your parenting partner. In Connecticut, you can seek compensation for the loss of the ability to enjoy their companionship such as the spouse’s affections, companionship and sexual relations.
If you have lost a loved one suddenly due to the careless actions of another person, contact the Connecticut wrong death lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to find out how we can help.
The state of Connecticut has strict rules regarding the need for professional drivers to maintain a current Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Many of these rules and requirements were created in order to cut down on the risk of truck accidents occurring on America’s roads. One of the most valuable advantages that a driver can provide for themselves during this process is a CDL training course. Below you will find an overview of the application process, as well as information about how adequate CDL training can help prevent truck accidents in Connecticut.
CDL licenses are covered by national regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In Connecticut, a CDL is only available to drivers who are at least 18 years of age and who already possess a valid standard driver’s license. The process begins with obtaining a CDL learner’s permit, which can be difficult to obtain. In addition to providing all appropriate documentation and payments, applicants are asked to pass a written CDL Knowledge Test based upon the type of license they are seeking and, if they pass their permit, provides limited abilities until they become a full CDL holder. In order to get the full CDL, there is also a skills test that needs to be scheduled and passed, covering basic vehicle control, on-road testing, and vehicle inspection.
The American Transportation Research Institute conducted a study in 2008 analyzing the impact of driver training on safety and the incidence of truck accidents. Their review looked at three specific safety metrics, including:
Department of Transportation (DOT) reportable accidents
Traffic violation convictions
What they found was that in the subset of drivers that they followed, there were 6,978 incidents, broken down into 416 DOT reportable accidents, 5,603 property damage incidents and 959 traffic convictions. They found a direct correlation between the driver’s age and length of employment and the number of accidents that they had been involved in. They also found that the more hours the drivers had spent in their overall training program and the more instructional environments they were exposed to, the fewer incidents the drivers were involved in, though age and work experience also played a significant role.
Preventing truck accidents is a matter of importance to drivers on the roads of Connecticut and across the nation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has indicated that the driver-related causes of motor vehicle crashes fall into four categories: non-performance (driver falling asleep or suffering a medical condition); driver inattentiveness or distraction; poor decision making on the part of the driver; poor performance such as directional control or overcompensation. Though there were many associated factors, including mechanical problems or traffic flow, increased training can have a direct positive impact on the number of truck accidents on our roads.
If you have been injured in a truck accident and you believe that driver performance or negligence of some kind played a role, the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation about your case.
There are few things more frightening to a highway driver than the sight of a tractor trailer looming in the rear view window, or speeding by at an unnecessary and unsafe speed. But an even bigger concern is the driver that has not gotten enough sleep and falls asleep behind the wheel. Truck drivers work under unrealistic deadlines, and may choose a few more hours of driving over getting the sleep that they need. Tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and when that much weight is not being properly controlled, catastrophic accidents can occur. The Connecticut truck accident attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers caution truck drivers and everybody who gets behind the wheel to get enough rest and to avoid driving while fatigued. The most important tips to avoid driver fatigue are the ones that prevent you from driving when you are impaired by exhaustion. Here are our top recommendations to help you recognize when you need more sleep.
People who look for tips to avoid driver fatigue are ignoring an important scientific fact – if your body is tired, there is nothing you can do to avoid falling asleep. Your brain manufacturers chemicals that tell your body to rest, and you can only ignore them or fight them for a short period of time. You will eventually fall asleep, and no amount of coffee or singing, or any other trick is going to keep you awake. There are specific causes of driver fatigue, and these include not getting good quality sleep, not getting enough sleep, and driving when you would normally be asleep. In some cases, drivers may be suffering from a medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. This is an obstruction of the airway that causes them to wake up hundreds of times throughout the night, gasping for air, without ever being aware that it is going on.
One of the most important things that you can do to prevent yourself from driving while fatigued is to recognize the telltale signs. These can include:
Realizing that you have ‘lost time’ and are not aware of what has happened in the last few minutes
Tired or heavy eyes
Straying over the lane lines
Impatience with other drivers or passengers in your car
When you are tired, your driving is severely compromised. Researchers have found that driving while extremely fatigued is comparable to driving while intoxicated. In fact, drivers who operate a vehicle after having been awake for 17 hours have the same level of impairment as having a blood alcohol of 0.05, and those who have been up for 24 hours are impaired at the same level of those who are at twice the legal blood alcohol concentration.
Driving while fatigued slows reaction time and leads to nodding off behind the wheel. It impacts judgment and makes it nearly impossible to concentrate. If you have been harmed by a truck driver who you believe may have been driving while fatigued, contact the Connecticut truck accident attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.
We’ve all had the experience of being stuck behind a snow plow on a snowy highway. Though it is tempting to go around this slow-moving piece of machinery – especially as it sprays rock salt onto your windshield – doing so is a dangerous and ill-advised. There are a number of winter safety tips that can help you stay safe and prevent truck accidents, whether they are with snow plows or any other large vehicle on the road.
When you are heading out onto winter roads, you need to take steps to keep yourself and all others around you safe. The first thing to remember is that you need to reduce your speed to what is most appropriate for road conditions. When visibility is hampered by snow, rain or ice and the roadways are slick, it is important that you lower your speed in order to provide you with greater control of your vehicle.
Even before you head out during the winter, make sure that your vehicle is winter-weather ready. Before the weather turns bitter, take your car in for a tune-up and check-up to make sure that all of its systems are ready for frigid temperatures. Switch out your old windshield wipers to make sure that you’ve given yourself a clear view of the road, and have your mechanic check the status of your tires, your batteries, and your vehicle’s heating system and defrosters. Never allow your gas tank to fall below half full and make sure that you have stocked your vehicle with winter essentials, including an ice scraper and brush for snow, a small shovel, road flares, jumper cables, and a bag of either rock salt, kitty litter or sand in case you need added traction on icy areas.
Your vehicle should always be emergency ready, but especially during the cold winter months. Make sure that you have water and food, a blanket and gloves, and a flashlight with fresh batteries. Finally make sure that before you leave for any trip, you have listened to the weather forecast and any updates on road conditions, and that you have directions to ensure that you know exactly where you are going.
Knowing that you are prepared for winter roads is a big help, but you also need to drive with appropriate levels of caution, particularly when the roadways are snow covered. If you do end up behind either a single snow plow or a plow train, remember that they are there as a service to you and other drivers, and that driving incautiously around them invites car accidents. Driving too close behind a snow plow is not a good idea – always leave at least three or four car lengths between the back of a snow plow and your own vehicle. It is never a good idea to pass a plow at all, but especially not on the right, as that is the direction where the snow, rocks, and slush will be pushed to.
Truck accidents can happen any time of year, but especially during winter weather. Though many of these accidents are caused by the truck drivers, some are the fault of other drivers acting in haste. Make sure that you are not one of them! If you do end up in a truck accident and sustain an injury, be sure to call the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to learn more about your rights.