Trucking Accidents

ATTENTION: “Distracted Driving”–It’s More Than a Thing, It’s An Epidemic

Pamela Mullis, Esq. “Distracted Driving” is generally defined by anything used that distracts you from driving responsibly: cell phone conversations (text or voice, handheld or not), eating, GPS systems, makeup…The umbrella term can be divided into three main types: cognitive, manual, and visual. In 2011, distracted driving caused over 3,000 deaths and 387,000 injuries—and possibly more (distracted.gov). Many of the crashes caused by distracting driving go underreported, according to the Office of Highway Safety Planning. Why? Without a witness, it is difficult to prove. And, cellphone records are often difficult to get—in some cases, not even considered. Ben Lieberman of …

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Trucker Texting Ban

Rules prohibiting  texting by Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers were  published in theFederal Register. Here are some important points: Texting increases the risk of a wreck 23.2 times vs. a non-texting driver A texting violation counts as a serious traffic violation and can disqualify a CDL driver Federal Employees were forbidden to text and drive on October 6, 2009 (74 FR 51225 and Executive Order 13513) Texting includes dispatch devices, cell phones, or ANY other texting device such as a laptop The FMCSA states the Duty to ensure there is no texting by the driver is imposed on the carrier directly. FMCSR impacted by the ban on texting include: 383.5    Definitions 383.51  Disqualifications of Driver 390.3    General Applicability …

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What can you get from a Caterpillar Engine Control Module (ECM) or Electronic Data Recorder (EDR)?

I recently was asked to do a presentation to a bunch of lawyers and police officers on the current state of technology with tractor trailer black boxes.  So, I had to brush up to make sure my information was current.  I thought this may be useful to some of you who handle tractor trailer cases. Most large truck engines have an engine control module (ECM), sometimes called a black box or an Electronic Data Recorder (EDR), that is responsible for monitoring and controlling important engine and vehicle parameters, such as speed, throttle, and braking. You can download this information from …

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How do you define “bad weather” for trucking accidents?

A trucker going too fast for roadway conditions in bad weather has always been a serious cause of  wrecks. The question is how do you define “bad weather” and what is the standard for trucker drivers who drive in adverse weather? There is a specific federal regulation – federal motor carrier safety regulation – that addresses this topic.  FMCSR §392.14 says: Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced …

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