Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

Amid concerns that large trucks driven by tired operators pose a greater-than-ever risk to Florida motorists, federal officials are contemplating loosening existing rules. As our West Palm Beach truck accident lawyers well know, driver fatigue is cited in hundreds of the thousands of deadly truck crashes each year. truck accident attorney

Despite the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Carrier’s implementation of many new rules and regulations pertaining to trucking rules and regulation – including Hours of Service rules designed to reduce drowsy driver accidents, there has been a 20 percent jump in the number of commercial truck crashes over the last 10 years.

Rules such as those for Hours of Service and mandated electronic logging devices (ELD) were introduced to curb the practices of so many trucking carriers that reward drivers based not only the amount of time they drive, but rather on the miles driven. Many industries truck drivers to push the envelope to make their living. Continue reading

A coalition of freight and logistics firms recently testified before Congress on the urgent need for improved trucking standards and safety, noting that while large trucks our indispensable to our economy – they’re killing us. truck accident attorney

In the last year reported per federal data, there were 415,000 large truck accidents, within which:

  • 4,761 people died
  • More than 600 truck drivers were killed
  • 148,000 were injured.

Further, more truckers were killed in 2017 crashes than in any other year in the past decade.

In recent testimony before the House’s Infrastructure Sub-Committee on Highways and Transit. The trucking Alliance spoke at a hearing titled, “Under Pressure – the State of Trucking in America.” Members of the Trucking Alliance in a prepared statement said the greatest pressure on the trucking industry should be on reducing these truck crashes and the deaths and injuries that result. Continue reading

A chain reaction tractor-trailer crash in West Palm Beach that injured one and killed two – including a 29-year-old medical student – recently resulted in a $45 million verdict in favor of the med student’s parents.truck accident lawyer

As our West Palm Beach truck accident attorneys can explain, these kinds of cases tend to result in higher verdicts and settlements than your typical car accident lawsuit for several reasons, including:

  • Because of the size disparity between large trucks and passenger cars, any collisions between the two are likely to result in severe injuries to occupants of the smaller vehicle. More severe injuries and deaths are a greater loss to the victim and loved ones.
  • Anytime a trucking company or construction firm is involved in a personal injury or wrongful death, there are usually numerous defendants, many with varying degrees of liability.
  • Trucking companies and construction firms – particularly construction companies that work roadside – carry high liability insurance policies. Although insurance coverage does not determine the amount of damages (courts are often careful to make sure jurors aren’t informed of the existence or amount of this coverage, as it’s considered prejudicial), the fact that it’s there improves the chances that if high damages are awarded, they will actually be paid. Florida requires passenger vehicle motorists to be financially responsible for a minimum of $20,000 in bodily injury (which is paid in addition to personal injury protection – PIP – benefits of up to $10,000). Meanwhile, federal law requires all truckers to carry at least $750,000 in liability coverage. Those that haul hazmat materials have to carry at least $5 million.

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Last week, our West Palm Beach personal injury law firm reported that the National Transportation Safety Board is calling for all states to ban texting and cell phone calls while driving. We also wrote about the upcoming debate among Florida lawmakers regarding whether or not to ban texting in the state.

This week, we’d like to blog about a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey on the distracted driving habits of Americans. Over 6,000 drivers participated. Per the results:

• At any moment, nearly one out of every 100 drivers is e-mailing, texting, surfing the Internet, or doing something else with a hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle.
• Most of those surveyed admitted to answering phone calls while driving.
• Close to two out of every 10 drivers surveyed admitted to e-mailing or texting. Drivers in the 21-24 age group were most likely to text while driving.
• Over 50% of drivers don’t believe that making a call affects their driving performance.
• About 25% said they don’t think that e-mailing or texting impacts their driving.
• 90% of drivers don’t like it if the person driving the car they are riding in is e-mailing or texting • More drivers said they read texts over sending them.
• Two times as many drivers admitted to answering calls over making them while operating a motor vehicle.

As evidenced by the survey results, most drivers think that they can text or talk on the phone safely while driving. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Cell phone conversations and texting takes a motorist’s attention away from the task at hand, which means he/she is not 100% focused on the task at hand. This can make it hard to avoid causing or becoming involved in a South Florida traffic crash. Remember that it takes just a few seconds for a catastrophic Miami motor vehicle accident to happen-those same seconds that a driver’s eyes are off the road in order to read an e-mail or dial the phone.

Over the last couple of years, Federal, state, and local safety officials have made a concerted effort to educate people about the dangers. Yet even when there are laws limiting cell phone use or banning texting, some people can’t seem to stop themselves, which places everyone in danger.

Drivers can no longer say that they didn’t know that distracted driving can kill people. As the victim of a distracted driving accident, you may be able to pursue Palm Beach traffic crash damages from the negligent motorist.

More drivers texting but few think it’s dangerous, survey says, The Denver Post/AP, December 9, 2011
NTSB pushes for nationwide ban on cellphone use for drivers, The Washington Post, December 14, 2011
National Distracted Driving Telephone Survey Finds Most Drivers Answer the Call, Hold the Phone, and Continue to Drive, NHTSA (PFD)


More Blog Posts:

As NTSB Recommends Full Cell Phone While Driving Ban, Florida Again Considers Whether to Make Texting Illegal, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 13, 2011
Coconut Creek Woman Killed in Broward County, Florida Car Crash Involving Lighthouse Point Police Vehicle, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011
West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2011 Continue reading

In the upcoming legislative session due to start next month, Florida legislators will once again consider whether texting should be banned in the state. Right now, Florida is one of 15 US states that haven’t made texting while driving illegal. Florida is also among the few states without any type of restriction on cell phone use while driving. Our Miami personal injury law firm is familiar with the types of catastrophic South Florida car crashes that can occur because someone was distracted driving.

This time around, however, lawmakers who favor a statewide texting ban may be coming into the debate with the extra support they need following today’s recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board that use of cell phone and text messaging devices while driving be made illegal throughout the US-unless, of course, there is an emergency situation. Although the NTSB cannot impose state laws, its recommendations are taken seriously by lawmakers.

The federal safety board called is calling for the ban because it says distracted drivers are threatening public safety. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, distracted driving was a factor in at least 3,092 US traffic crashes last year and at any moment during daylight hours, close to 1 out of 100 drivers is using handheld phones. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt even went so far as to call distracted driving the “new DUI.”

When explaining the need for a nationwide ban, the NTSB cited the tragic multi-vehicle Missouri traffic pileup in August 2010 involving a tractor-trailer, a pickup truck, and two buses. More than 30 people were injured and two people killed, including the 19-year-old driver of the pickup, who, within 11 minutes, sent or received 11 text messages. The other victim that died was a 15-year-old that was riding the school bus.

Texting, emailing, and talking on the cell phone are dangerous activities when done while driving. You want to work with a Palm Beach car crash law firm that knows how to prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injuries or a loved one’s death. Just because these driving habits are still legal in Florida does not mean you cannot recover damages.

Cellphone ban while driving? The tragedies behind the issue, Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2011
NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving, CNN, December 13, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Coconut Creek Woman Killed in Broward County, Florida Car Crash Involving Lighthouse Point Police Vehicle, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011
West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Leaves Police Officer with Serious Injuries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2011
Miami-Dade Car Accident Lawsuit Filed in Florida Wrongful Death Case Against Coral Gables Teenager, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2011 Continue reading

According to the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there has been a 4.6% drop in the number of Florida traffic deaths. Compared to 2009, when there were Florida 2,565 motor vehicle fatalities, there were 2,444 Florida traffic deaths reported in 2010. That’s a nearly 31% drop since 2005. County wise, the number of traffic fatalities also went down in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties last year.

2010 figures also show, however, that the number of Florida pedestrian deaths have gone up by 3.5%. There were 482 pedestrian fatalities in 2009 and 499 Florida pedestrian deaths in 2010.

Other 2010 Florida Traffic Facts:

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, two Wellington teenagers were killed yesterday night and a third one injured after the car they were riding crashed into the back of a semi-truck on South Boulevard East of the Glades. An investigation into the Palm Beach County tractor-trailer accident is currently under way.

Per police, 18-year-old Mazelle M. Demeraski was driving a Camry east on Southern Boulevard when the car struck the rear corner of a semi’s trailer as the larger vehicle was crossing the intersection at C.R. 880. The impact of the crash caused the smaller car to roll over.

Demaraski and 18-year-old Jahmila Mariaca, both Wellington, Florida residents, were pronounced dead at the crash site. A third teen that was with them, 18-year-old Royal Palm Beach resident Eriberto Gomez Jr., was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

It is no longer a secret that texting and surfing the Internet while driving can be dangerous. Yet people continue to get hurt and die because someone was looking at the phone, checking email, sending texts, or surfing the Web rather than paying attention to the road. As our Palm Beach personal injury law firm has mentioned in the past, the US Department of Transportation reported 5,474 distracted driving crashes in 2009 alone. Not only that, but 11 teens a year are killed because of texting while driving. Also, the National Safety Council reports that 28% of traffic crashes that occur involved drivers talking on the phone or texting.

At Palm Beach Atlantic University yesterday, participants were given the opportunity to experience virtually how catastrophic texting while driving can become when they tried texting while on a virtual course. The simulated program, run by PEER Awareness road manager Robert Tower, travels to different schools to help educate teenagers about the dangers of texting combined with driving. The program also includes news footage of interviews with families who lost loved ones in distracted driving accidents involving drivers who were text messaging.

Hopefully, education and awareness will discourage teens and adults from texting or doing anything that keeps them from watching the road. Recently, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against a woman accused of updating her Facebook while driving. The pedestrian who died was a 70-year-old man. Also, another man accidentally drove his car through a bridge guardrail and into a river because he was texting.

Unlike in a number of US states, in Florida there is still no ban on texting while driving even though 17 bills have been introduced pushing for this. That said, this does not mean that texting while driving is not negligent driving when injury or death occurs as a result.

Program exposes the dangers of texting and driving, Sun-Sentinel, February 21, 2011
Ban on Texting while Driving Urged for Florida, First Coast News, February 9, 2011
Representative says texting while driving ban could fail in FL, WZVN, February 21, 2011
Suit: Woman in fatal crash was updating Facebook, Chicago Tribune, February 15, 2011
Man who was texting behind wheel drives off Danvers bridge and into river, police say, Boston.com, February 22, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving, National Safety Council
Distraction.gov, US Department of Transportation
Distracted Driving, Peer Awareness Continue reading

It’s been a little over two years since a Miami-Dade truck accident claims the lives of three young siblings. Now, Gabriel Delrisco, the drunken trucker who rear-ended the minivan they were in, has pleaded guilty to three counts of DUI manslaughter. He now faces up to 45 years in prison.

Delrisco was driving at speeds over 60 mph and with a blood alcohol content that was three times above the legal limit when he collided with the Serrano family’s vehicle that was stopped at a red light near Homestead on January 25, 2009. Killed in the Miami-Dade motor vehicle collision were Hector, 10, Esmeralda, 7, and Amber, 4.

Delrisco has apologized for his actions, and his attorney says that they don’t believe there is a “viable defense to the case.” The children’s parents, Hector and Mirian, say it is too late for an apology and that that their lives have been destroyed. Hector was in the minivan with the kids on the night of the fatal Miami-Dade auto crash.

Two people were killed yesterday when the car they were riding was hit by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 and dragged 760 feet. Two other autos were also involved in the Florida semi-truck crash.

The two truck collision victims that died are Todd Olthoff and Marcy Olthoff, both 48. Also injured in the four-vehicle collision were Philip Keen, 74, and Sandra Keen, 72, who were briefly trapped in their auto. The driver of the fourth vehicle, Filbert Delva, 35, sustained minor injuries. A construction worker at the scene also sought medical care at the local hospital.

The Florida Highway Patrol says that the trucker, Miami Lakes resident Eduardo Avila, failed to slow down in a construction zone, which was near a closed exit ramp. That was when he rear-ended the Olthoffs’ vehicle, which ended up pinned under the tractor-trailer’s undercarriage. Avila then went on to rear-end the vehicles that were transporting Delva and the Keens.