June 27, 2011

Teens Unite to Raise Awareness of Summertime Trucking Accidents in Alabama and Elsewhere

A large group of teens met in Washington D.C. to help raise awareness about the dangers presented on our roadways each summer and to discuss the increased risks of teen car accidents.These teens pledged to recognize truck's blind spots and pledged to not text behind the wheel or a motor vehicle.

This safe teen driving event was organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). Representatives from each organization spoke to students from the area. They discussed the importance of driving safely around big trucks. During the summer months we typically see an increased number of large trucks on our roadways. Unfortunately, this is when we also see an increased number of fatal teen car accidents in Birmingham and elsewhere.

Our Alabama personal injury attorneys understand that teens have much less driving experience than many of us. For this reason, they are much more vulnerable on our roadways and are more likely to be involved in serious -- if not fatal -- car accidents. Their chances of being involved in an accident with a big truck sees a significant increase during the upcoming months as teens are out of school for summer break and many commercial trucks hit the road to take care of business.

What many teens do not know is that a fully loaded tractor trailer needs approximately twice the distance to stop than a passenger vehicle needs. They may not be aware of their large blind spots either. These blind spots are known as "No Zones.” These are areas that motorists must avoid because this is where a truck driver is not able to see them.

“We want everyone to be safe, but as newer drivers, teens must adhere to a few simple rules,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “They are: buckle up, don’t drink and drive; don’t speed, don’t text or use your phone, and steer clear of a truck’s blind spots.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the deadliest driving days for teens ages 15-19 are in the months of May, June, July and August. It is during these four months that nearly twice as many teens died in 2009 on U.S. roadways each day as compared to the rest of the year. During these four months, an average of nearly 16 teens died each day, compared to an average of nearly nine teen deaths a day during the year as a whole.

"Prom, graduation, and summer are fantastic times for youth to celebrate and enjoy. However, with these fun times come unfortunate tragedies,” said Sandy Spavone, President of the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS). “Through education, enforcement, and legislation lives can be saved and injuries prevented."

Drivers ages 16- to 24-years-old make up the age group that has the highest traffic crash death rate in the United States. As a matter of fact, from 2005 to 2009, nearly 4,000 people from this age group were killed in motor-vehicle accidents that involved a large truck.

“Do not expect that having a driver's license is a right that comes without responsibility or risk,” said Steve Keppler, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). “Be accountable for your actions, spread the word to your friends and parents, and help create a culture of safety. Most importantly, take the driving task seriously. You never know the impact you can have that ultimately could save your life or someone else's."

Safety tips for motorists sharing the road with large trucks:

-Stay out of a truck's blind spots. If you cannot see the driver, the driver cannot see you.

-Do not follow closely behind a truck. When they let off the gas, they have a tendency to roll backwards.

-Keep both hands on the wheel when a truck is passing you or you are passing a truck.

-Allow trucks enough room to pass.

-Remember that these large vehicles take wider, and longer, turns than normal passenger vehicles.

-Don't cut in front of a large truck. They take a much longer time to stop than a passenger vehicle.

Continue reading "Teens Unite to Raise Awareness of Summertime Trucking Accidents in Alabama and Elsewhere" »

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February 10, 2010

Birmingham Personal Injury Attorney News: Alabama Drivers can be Hurt by Inattentive Cell Phone Users

It’s a shame that here in Alabama with all our modern conveniences, those same labor-saving devices can cause nearly as much harm as good. I’m talking about cell phones and inattentive drivers. As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer and motorist myself, I how often a fatal or near fatal accidents happen due to distracted drivers. Texting, of course, is one of the worst activities a person can do while operating a motor vehicle. Police say it’s almost worse than drunk driving.

This may be the reason why President Obama called for a nationwide ban on cell phone texting just last month. Representing folks who have lost a loved one through the negligence of another person is something I do for a living. Many victims and their families are put in terrible circumstances as a result of a traffic accident or other disaster that could have been avoided if it wasn’t for the carelessness and sometimes callousness of someone else.

According to a recent news article, new data out shows that cell phone use while driving is a direct cause of nearly one-third of all traffic accidents. This is a shocking statistic, yet the National Safety Council (NSC) announced that 1.6 million crashes each year are caused by drivers using cell phones -- a staggering 28 percent of all crashes. And, based on accident data collected from across the United States, the NSC estimates that of those 1.6 million crashes, 200,000 are caused by drivers who are texting.

Of course, people have been saying for years that cell phone use while driving is a very risky distraction. Apparently texting is an even higher risk, according to Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

Fortunately, legislation has been introduced in the Alabama Legislature that would make texting while driving illegal in the state. In fact, a study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows more than half of all drivers reported having used a cell phone for either talking or texting while operating a motor vehicle. That same study indicated that 60 percent of the drivers said they use a hand-held phone, compared to 34 percent who use a hands-free phone.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11 percent of drivers at any one time are using cell phones. That’s one car out of every ten that you see in traffic has a person using a cell phone -- either talking or texting on it. Think about that the next time you’re at a traffic light.

Cell phones can be hazards, TimesDaily.com, January 25, 2010

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, auto accident, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, brain truama, driver error, hospitalization, injured child, neck injuries, negligence, passenger car, serious injury, spinal column injury, traffic accident, traumatic brain injury, wrongful death

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December 16, 2009

Birmingham Injury Accident Update: Alabama Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accidents Pose Serious Consequences

No matter where you drive in Alabama, you probably know that single-car and multi-vehicle traffic accidents kill and maim hundreds of people every year. As a personal injury lawyer working in the Birmingham area, I understand the seriousness of urban, country road or interstate collisions. Families have been devistatedand and local communities severely impacted by car, truck and SUV accidents over the years. There are numerous types of accidents that occur weekly in this state, some are caused by other drivers, some are the result of defective equipment, such as faulty brakes or poorly designed safety components.

Car and Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) Accidents
If you have ever been injured or have had your property destroyed or damaged by a negligent automobile driver, you know the cost of such collisions. Pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles can be fatally injured in crashes involving passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. Hospital stays and medical costs related to such accidents can run in the tens of thousands of dollars, especially for serious injuries requiring long-term recovery times.

Personal injuries caused by traffic accidents can result in life-altering circumstances for both the victim and his or her family. Whiplash, burns to the body, hands or head, not ot mention spinal cord paralysis and nerve damage are just a few of the many serious injuries that can occur in a vehicle-related crash.

Tractor-trailer Trucking Accidents
Add the extra weight and size of a tractor-trailer rig and victims can easily die at the scene of an accident. Those persons lucky enough to survive a collision with a semi can sometimes be laid up for weeks or months recovering from broken bones or severe trauma to the head, neck or spinal column.

Of course, as members of the driving public we expects truck drivers to be safety-conscious professionals who follow all of the necessary federal and state traffic and safety laws. Most do, but there is a percentage of big rig drivers who may not. Sometimes it’s not a deliberate act that can cause a trucking accident, but a seemingly minor thing like driver fatigue.

Continue reading "Birmingham Injury Accident Update: Alabama Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accidents Pose Serious Consequences" »

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, auto accident, biker fatality, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, brain truama, defective brakes, defective equipment, driver fatigue, excessive speed, fatal accident, head injuries, hospitalization, motorcycle death, negligence, passenger car, semi-tractor, spinal column injury, traffic death, trucking accidents, wrongful death

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September 9, 2009

Alabama Wrongful Death Case Results in $3.5 Million Jury Award to Dead Motorist’s Family

The recent decision by a Chilton County jury to award $3.5 million to the widow and three children of a Clanton, AL, man killed in a horrendous traffic accident has sent a message to log truck companies across the country. As a Birmingham personal injury attorney having represented clients from around Alabama who have been in similar circumstances, I must say that I am pleased by the outcome of this recent wrongful death lawsuit.

According to news reports, 56-year-old James Sanderson was killed in January 2008 at an Elmore County intersection. The man’s passenger van was rear-ended by a logging truck while waiting for traffic ahead to make a left turn. The driver of that truck, Gary Fruge, was named in the lawsuit along with Ken Gorum Trucking. The events of that day were covered in the trial and included the deadly details.

On that day, according to news reports, Sanderson was stopped behind two vehicles -- a passenger car and another log truck -- in the left-hand turn lane at the intersection of Highways 14 and 170 in Wetumpka. While waiting on the passenger car to turn left, Sanderson was struck from behind by Fruge’s log truck, sending his van into the back of the first log truck. As a result of the collision, one of the logs from the first log truck was forced through Sanderson’s windshield causing a traumatic head injury.

The plaintiff’s attorney showed that Fruge was speeding and that the truck had faulty brakes. Apparently proving that the trucking company had failed to properly maintain their vehicle, the jury fined both Fruge and the company for whom he was driving. The lawyer for the Sanderson family produced experts who testified that Fruge was traveling well in excess of the posted 50mph speed limit.

The Sandersons' attorney argued that Fruge had about one thousand feet in which to bring his truck to a full stop. From the evidence, experts testified that the truck must have been travelling around 65-75mph for Fruge to have applied the brakes and still strike the victim’s van with sufficient force to cause the resulting damage and fatal injuries. Experts showed that if Fruge been going 45mph, he would have been able to stop within 360 feet after first application of the truck's brakes. The jury apparently agreed and found Gruge and Ken Gorum Trucking liable for Sanderson’s death.

While other states across the nation have laws that instruct juries to consider the income and earning potential of a victim, Alabama law does not restrict an award based on these factors. Instead, our state asks juries to base their decisions on the gravity of the conduct, as well as using the award to discipline the defendant and send a message to others. The resulting $3.5 million award is an example of Alabama's approach to wrongful death cases such as this one.

Jury awards $3.5 million to family of man crushed by log trucks, clantonadvertiser.com, July 22, 2009

Tags: Alabama Injury Attorney, Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer, defective brakes, excessive speed, fine, logging, negligence, passenger car, plaintiff award, semi-tractor, traffic death, trucking accidents, widow, wrongful death

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May 6, 2009

Alabama Trucker Arrested for 3 Deaths in Cell Phone-related Highway Crash

Authorities recently arrested an Alabama truck driver who allegedly caused a fatal multi-vehicle pileup in Missouri almost ten months ago. The highway crash, which caused three deaths and more than a dozen injuries, was the result of a seemingly simple distraction from a ringing cell phone. The regrettable thing is that the Muscle Shoals resident reportedly had a clean driving record. Yet his actions have irreversibly altered the lives of many victims and their families.

As a Birmingham Personal Injury Attorney, I have encountered many stories just like this one. This case shows how many individuals can be affected by the actions of just one person, and why it is important to retain the services of a qualified legal professional to represent your interests. The plaintiffs are just now preparing themselves to face the ordeal all over again in a court of law, nearly a year after the actual incident.

What happened that mid-July afternoon was a disaster in the making. According to reports, Jeffrey R. Knight, 49, was driving a 2005 Freightliner loaded with scrap aluminum. By his own admission, Knight told investigators that he had been distracted by a cell phone.

A highway patrol report quotes Knight as saying, "I reached across the dash to get my cell phone. I flipped the phone open, looked back at traffic, and I was there right at the last car (in the line of cars stuck in traffic). I didn't see any brake lights or emergency flashers. After I hit the first car, I just remember holding the steering wheel and seeing cars going to my left and right."

The aftermath told the story. The truck ran into, and over, a line of 10 vehicles that had backed up on eastbound Highway 40 (Interstate 64) just west of Interstate 270. Three people died and 15 were injured.

Two of those killed were Amish from northeastern Missouri who were headed to a funeral in Tennessee with a hired driver. Lydia Miller, 55, died the day of the crash, and Alvin Mast, 88, died two days later. Charles "Keith" Cason, a 55-year-old copier salesman on a business trip, was in the first vehicle to be rear-ended by the truck. He died immediately, according to authorities.

Knight, who until that day had a clean driving record, was charged April 8 with three counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter, which alleges that the deaths resulted from "criminal negligence." According to authorities, each count is punishable by up to four years in prison.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, the legal professionals at Eversole Law are ready to help you.

Alabama trucker, distracted by cell phone, charged with crash that killed 3 here, STLToday, April 15, 2009

Investigation continues six months after deadly pileup, STLToday.com, January 13, 2009

Tags: Automobile Accidents, Injury, Manslaughter, Truck Crash, Wrongful Death

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October 8, 2007

Birmingham, Alabama Trucking Accident Lawyer

Eversole Law focuses its pratice on helping those who have been injured in an Alabama trucking accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in an Alabama trucking accident, you owe it to yourself to call the Alabama trucking accident lawyers and attorneys of Eversole Law. Our firm will fight to the very end for your rights. Do not settle any claim without first speaking to knowledgeable Alabama truck accident lawyers and attorneys at Eversole Law. You can bet the trucking company and it's insurance carrier has attorneys and lawyers working for them, you should too. Do not settle for less, go with the best. My firm is here for you 24/7.

Tags: Truck Crash Lawyers, Trucking Accident Attorneys, Trucking Accidents

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September 30, 2007

Trucking Accidents

In Savannah Georgia today two people were rushed to the hospital when their car slammed into a logging truck. I believe that large trucks like these should be outlawed on highways because of the significant risk of serious injury and death. Trucking accidents are way too numerous for nothing to done. Unfortunately, our society is more concerned with commerce than protecting its citizens. In the meantime, it is up to personal injury plaintiff's lawyers and attorneys to continue litigating these trucking accidents until something is done about the problem.

Tags: Automobile Accidents, Car Accidents, Highway Accidents, Trucking Accidents

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