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With the extensive experience we have had as truck crash attorneys, know that longer trucks mean greater danger on Interstate highways. Others in Florida share our opinion. In September of 2015, the Sun Sentinel editorial board passionately and convincingly wrote about the hazards motorists face if forced to share the road with trucks approximately 91 feet in length.  The editorial board hit the issue right on the nose.

Congress proposed allowing interstate commercial carriers the option of connecting two-33 foot long trailers (sometimes referred to as “twin-33s”) hitched together by a dolly to a tractor. Federal law permits two-28 foot long trailers (“twin-28s”). Anecdotally, the editorial board argued that passing two-28 foot long trailers hitched together is difficult. The board noted that these trailers are difficult to overtake or pass because the wind blows them around. The board speculates that adding 10 feet to the passing distance will make passing harder. The board did note that approximately 4,000 people were killed and about 100,000 people injured in large truck accidents annually. Twin-28s already have an 11% higher fatality rate than the standard length 53-foot tractor trailers.

Other evidence supports this claim. An independent study recently published from the University of Tennessee estimates that truck crash fatalities will increase by 200 people per year if twin-33s were permitted on the roads. Additionally, the pavement and bridges over which these huge trucks must pass create additional strain on the infrastructure. The independent study determined that bridge and repair costs would reach $5 to $10 Billion annually. Continue reading →

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As experienced South Florida accident and injury attorneys, we look to federal safety regulations during our accident investigations. The federal and state safety regulations help us prove the negligence or recklessness of truck drivers who caused injury to our clients. Federal and state regulators play a vital role in protecting the public from harm resulting from unsafe trucks and negligent driving behavior.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a federal agency charged with enforcing safety regulations relating to commercial vehicles such as big rigs, cargo tankers, and large passenger buses used in interstate commerce.  The FMCSA has the authority to investigate commercial vehicle crashes as well as investigate truckers’ compliance with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. The FMCSA may revoke licenses for failure to comply with safety regulations. The FMCSA regularly revokes DOT licenses for failure to abide by safety regulations and endangering the public. The FMCSA issued two such rulings within the last two years.

In August of 2016, the FMCSA revoked the DOT license of a Florida company after an investigation into a deadly crash. The agency ordered the company to cease all commercial activity involving its trucks whether in or out of the state of Florida. The FMCSA found that the company posed an imminent threat to public safety.  The crash happened on July 2, 2016, when the commercial vehicle failed to stop at an intermittent red light and slammed into another commercial vehicle that had the right-of-way. Five people died in the crash, and twenty-four others suffered injuries. Continue reading →

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As one of the top Miami truck accident injury law firms, we need to understand accident reconstruction. Sometimes we hire our own experts to reconstruct the crash for us and then testify at trial Most times, however, law enforcement reconstructs the accident as a vital component of their investigation.  We can use the law enforcement investigation as part of our case against the truck driver and truck company. We work very hard to digest the science behind the conclusions in the report and convey the concepts in a way that works best for the case.

Accident reconstructionists agree that every accident is made up of similar events. Each event provides valuable data which needs to be closely analyzed. Every step in the analysis leads to a conclusion. Faulty data and incorrect presumptions can give rise to an erroneous conclusion. Care must be taken by the crash reconstruction to accurately record the data and use the appropriate equations to make findings and draw conclusions.  Continue reading →

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As Miami-based personal injury attorneys, we see crashes frequently that involve dump trucks. Dump trucks are especially dangerous because of their potential to cause significant harm. The trucks are heavy, fast, and do not stop on a dime.  Motorists must beware of the risk of truck crashes. A distracted driver or a driver operating a dump truck that is not well maintained has the potential to cause massive loss of life and cause serious personal injuries.

The state of Florida has experienced several terrible dump truck accidents in 2016. For example, on October 17, 2016, in Collier County, a dump truck crashed killed a 45-year-old woman. The woman was turning left with a green, left turn arrow. A large dump truck operated by a man ran the red light. The dump truck slammed into the woman’s car broadside, sometimes known as a “T-bone” collision. The woman’s car immediately burst into flames. The woman perished at the scene.  The dump truck driver was unharmed. This accident illustrates the dangers dump trucks pose on the street, especially when the driver negligently operates the dump truck. According to the news report on this crash, criminal charges are pending against the driver.  Continue reading →

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Our truck accident attorneys report on a recent truck crash took the lives of twelve passengers and a driver of the tour bus in the morning hours of October 23, 2016. The bus was returning to Los Angeles and crashed while returning from a casino near San Diego. The bus carried 43 passengers and a driver. All on the bus were either seriously injured or killed when the bus slammed into an 18-wheeler without braking. The operator of the 18-wheeler was also injured in the crash. This senseless tragedy highlights the danger trucks and tour buses pose to ordinary motorists and pedestrians alike if the large vehicle operators fail to adhere to the requisite safety standards.

In this particular case, the tour bus driver and the company that owned the tour bus appear to be at fault for this horrific crash.  The National Transportation Safety Board and that California Highway Patrol continues to investigate why the cause of the crash. Those agencies did, however, release preliminary information about the accident. According to a report published in the L.A. Times, federal officials stated that two of the eight tires on the bus malfunctioned. They believe, at least initially, that the tire failure caused the crash.  Officials said that the two tires fitted on the axle which controls the steering of the bus were unsafe. The treads were wore down so low that they were below the minimum standard of 4/32 of an inch. The steering tires were virtually bald. Continue reading →

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As highly experienced Miami truck crash attorneys we have seen numerous cases involving cargo tankers rolling over. Cargo tank rollover accidents occur for various reasons. The main cause, however, is driver error. The federal agency called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees the safe transport of liquids and other materials in cargo tanks. The FMCSA gathered statistics about cargo tank rollover accidents. The agency endeavors to synthesize the information it gathers to help develop additional safety measures for cargo tankers and other large truck transports.

The FMCSA developed statistics by analyzing crashes. Their work has yielded some interesting results. Their statistics debunked apparent misconceptions commonly held by the motoring public.  Most people believe that rollover accidents are most likely to happen at night or on wet surfaces, on or curves. The statistics prove otherwise. The FMCSA statistical analysis shows that 56% of rollovers happened on a straightaway.  Furthermore, 2/3s of all rollovers happen during the day and not at night as commonly believed.  What is more surprising is that 93% of all rollover accidents happen on a dry surface. Thus, road conditions do not figure greatly into rollover accident causes. Continue reading →

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The Florida legislature established a set of regulations that govern the safe operation of commercial vehicles in Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol’s Officer of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (OCVE) enforces those rules. Florida’s regulations work seamlessly with the regulations found in the Code of Federal Regulations. Two interlocking and complementary regulatory schemes dictate commercial vehicle safety.  However, the federal regulations only apply to commercial vehicles traveling in interstate, as opposed to intrastate, commerce. As truck accident attorneys, we are very familiar with the regulatory scheme and use it to our clients’ advantage.

At the outset, it is important to know which vehicles are commercial vehicles subject to the regulations.  In Florida, the law defines a commercial vehicle as one that is towed or self-propelled that delivers good or passengers used in business.  To fall under the regulations, the vehicle must either have a gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more, is designed to transport 15 or more passengers, or carry hazardous materials. It should be noted that the regulations encompass all business vehicles that meet this definition and not just construction trucks.    Continue reading →

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In mid-October 2016, a shipment of beer packed into an 18-wheeler truck wound its way through Colorado. The event is not newsworthy, normally. On this day, however, this was a ground-breaking achievement for a company developing autonomous, or self-driving, trucks. The truck driver sat in the sleeper portion of the cab and watched the steering wheel instead of sitting at it. The 53-foot long big rig loaded with over 2,000 cases of beer drove itself on Interstate 25. The driver resumed control of the truck when exiting the Interstate. The inaugural trip signifies an enormous technological achievement. For truck driving accident attorneys, there is cause for concern.

South Florida truck driving accident attorneys understand that the law lags behind technological advances. As of this writing, very few states have legislation or regulations that govern the operation, maintenance, certification, registration, or compliance of autonomous trucks.  Florida, on the other hand, is at the vanguard of state legislation designed to facilitate autonomous vehicles using state roads safely and efficiently. Florida’s law permits the use of self-driving cars as long as a licensed operator is controlling the vehicle. Curiously, the person controlling the vehicle does not have to be physically present in the car when the operator engages the vehicle’s autonomous features. Continue reading →

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As highly experienced Miami truck crash attorneys, we have learned that large truck safety involves more than obeying the speed limits. Properly securing cargo is a critical aspect of safe transport for 18-wheelers, car haulers, flatbeds, and especially oversized loads. Failing to secure loads can throw the truck off balance, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Federal regulators from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed safety regulations which dictate how cargo must be secured.  The rules establish a minimum standard for safety, however, additional security measures may apply depending upon the load transported by the carrier.

The FMCSA passed the cargo securement safety rules to prevent, or limit, cargo movement in three directions. Regulators concerned themselves with forward movement when stopping, backward movement when accelerating, and sideways movement when turning. Regulators also took into account the dynamics of load shifting while backing into a cargo bay as part of their analysis.  The FMCSA developed these standards from thorough research into how loads shift while accelerating, decelerating, and turning. The rules assume the truck is equipped with anti-lock brakes that the driver has properly warmed and tested before setting out on his or her journey.  Continue reading →

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As truck accident attorneys, we frequently see cases that involve the truck driver, or trucking company violates a state law, state regulation, or federal regulation. We try to use the violation to hold the driver and company liable for your injuries by arguing a legal theory of “per se negligence.” Under Florida law, the legal theory means that the person who broke the law is automatically liable for the injuries caused by the violation. We like to use per se negligence as often as we can because application of the theory resolves the question of liability in our clients’ favor.  Unfortunately, per se negligence does not apply in every case. In some instances, the question of responsibility for the truck crash remains even though the driver or the trucking company violated a law because the violation of a traffic statute is merely evidence of negligence.

The question of whether a violation of the law is per se negligence in Florida arose recently in 2015 in the case of Nadia Registe et al. v. Link America Express, Inc. et al.  In that case, Nadia was driving her children on the highway in Florida when another car swerved in front of Nadia. In response, Nadia took evasive action and pulled to the right. She then over-corrected and struck a guardrail. The minivan Nadia drove spun back into traffic and came to rest perpendicular to the travel lanes, facing the breakdown lane. The minivan became disabled, and Nadia tried to free her passengers. An adult passenger went to relative safety in the breakdown lane. Nadia tried to remove her children from their car seats when an 18-wheeler approached. The truck driver swerved to the right in an effort to avoid striking the minivan. However, Nadia’s adult passenger was on the right shoulder. The truck driver pulled to the left to avoid hitting the passenger but could not avoid striking the car. Nadia and her children suffered injuries in the crash. Continue reading →

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