Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, announced on May 5 several new measures the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), plans to implement to ensure the safety of bus passengers.
Now, the DOT will require testing for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to be more rigorous and will also create new rules to reinforce passenger carriers’ compliance with federal safety regulations. Working with state law enforcement, the FMCSA will also conduct unannounced motorcoach inspections at popular travel destinations throughout the spring summer seasons.
A new rule was also announced by the FMCSA under which anyone who applies for a CDL must obtain a commercial driver’s learner’s permit (CLP) first. The new rule also requires all state licensing agencies to use a testing system for CDLs that meets the CDL knowledge and skill standards of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, and also forbids the use of foreign language interpreters during testing to reduce testing fraud.
Previously, testing for CDLs were not uniform across the U.S. and applicants for CDLs were not required to obtain a CLP before getting a CDL. The DOT also proposed another measure that would give the agency strong authority to take enforcement action against unsafe “reincarnated” carriers by creating a federal standard to help identify if a new carrier is actually an older carrier remade.
Additionally, the DOT has proposed for it to be mandatory for new motorcoach companies to go through a full safety audit before they are granted DOT operating authority. The DOT also proposed that a driver’s CDL should be suspended or revoked after an alcohol or drug-related offense is committed in a non-commercial vehicle. The DOT has also proposed that the penalty for passenger carriers that attempt to operate without DOT authority be increased from $2,000 to $25,000 a day.
As both attorneys and physicians, the Nebraska truck accident lawyers at Cullan & Cullan understand the emotional, financial, and physical difficulties injured victims face following a serious truck crash in Nebraska. It is important for victims to understand the legal options available to them and how they can exercise their legal rights against a negligent trucker. To learn how Cullan & Cullan can help you hold negligent parties accountable for their actions, call 1-402-397-7600 today.
On May 2, Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, announced new data from a survey conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that shows approximately 78 percent of commercial truck and bus drivers wore a seat belt when they were driving in 2010. In 2009, that number was 74 percent.
According to the data, since 2007 the number of commercial drivers that are wearing seat belts has increased by about 14 percent. The survey observed 26,830 commercial truck and bus drivers at 998 roadside sites across the United States. The survey discovered that seat belt use for commercial drivers as well as their occupants was about 80 percent in states in which law enforcement officials are able to stop drivers for not wearing a seat belt (primary enforcement), compared to 72 percent in states with secondary enforcement seat belt use laws. In states with secondary enforcement, officials are only able to stop or cite a driver for a seat belt violation if the driver committed a primary violation, such as speeding, at the same time.
According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, seat belt use for passenger vehicle occupants was 85 percent, which was an increase from 84 percent in 2009. As with seat belt use among commercial drivers, seat belt use was higher in primary enforcement states at 88 percent, as compared with states that had secondary enforcement, at 77 percent. It is interesting to note that seat belt use for vehicle occupants traveling in rural areas increased to 83 percent in 2010 from 81 percent in 2009, while seat belt use for vehicle occupants traveling on expressways increased to 91 percent in 2010 from 89 percent in 2009.
The NHTSA reports that an estimated 13,000 lives were saved in the U.S. in 2008 because of seat belts. While seat belts are the best defense against drivers who are aggressive, distracted, or impaired, unfortunately, seat belts can’t prevent every injury or even serious injuries, depending on the specifics of the crash. The Omaha tractor trailer accident attorneys at Cullan & Cullan have dedicated their practice to helping injured victims receive the compensation they need and deserve after a truck crash. As physicians and attorneys, we understand the difficulties you are facing. Call 1-402-397-7600 today.
In 2009, the most recent year statistics are available, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports there were 3,380 fatalities and approximately 74,000 people injured in large truck accidents in the United States.
In comparison to the previous year, large truck accident fatalities declined 20 percent, from 4,245 in 2008. Injuries sustained in large truck accidents also decreased in 2009 by about 18 percent from 2008, during which approximately 90,000 people were injured. According to the NHTSA, of the large truck accident fatalities that occurred in 2009, about 75 percent were occupants of other motor vehicles, while 10 percent were nonoccupants (such as pedestrians or bicyclists), with 15 percent being large truck occupants. Statistics are similar for those injured in large truck crashes: around 76 percent were occupants in other vehicles, with 2 percent being nonoccupants, and 22 percent being occupants in large trucks.
When a truck operator drives negligently, unfortunately it is often other motorists who suffer. Many factors can contribute to a Nebraska truck accident, including:
- Use of prescription or illegal drugs
- Excessive speeding
- Driving while fatigued
- Distracted driving
- Driving aggressively and/or recklessly
There are regulations in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to drive. However, often truck drivers overlook these rules and drive excessively long shifts in order to make deliveries on time or ahead of schedule. This results in drivers who are tired and/or dependent on drugs to stay awake, putting all motorists and others on the road at great risk of being involved in a truck crash in Nebraska and sustaining serious injury.
The Omaha semi-truck accident lawyers at Cullan & Cullan have dedicated their practice to helping those who have been severely injured in truck crashes throughout Nebraska. Our attorneys are not only highly trained and experienced in the legal system, but also as physicians, giving us unique distinction from other law firms. To learn more about how Cullan & Cullan can help you, call 1-402-397-7600 today.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), close to 30 percent of truckers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is breathing-related and causes short interruptions of breathing when someone is asleep. These pauses can last over 10 seconds and may occur 400 times in one night. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is often not recognized or diagnosed. Common indicators of sleep apnea include loud snoring, sleepiness during the day, depression, lack of concentration, falling asleep at inappropriate times, and memory impairment.
These symptoms are particularly dangerous for commercial truck drivers, who can drive up to 16 hours consecutively and operate a vehicle that is over 80,000 pounds.
Research shows that when sleep apnea goes untreated, it puts drivers at an increased risk of being involved in an accident. One study found that drivers with untreated sleep apnea did worse during performance testing than subjects who were alert but had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) above 0.04 percent, the legal limit for operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
Since sleep apnea poses such a potentially deadly hazard to commercial truckers and other motorists on the road, each state in the U.S. has the authority to suspend a truck driver’s CDL is they have sleep apnea. If it is discovered that the level of a truck driver’s sleep apnea is moderate to severe, they may be disqualified. A medical examiner must determine a trucker’s medical fitness and qualify them for duty. It is against the law for a motor carrier to permit or require a truck driver to operate a CMV if the driver has sleep apnea or another condition that would significantly affect their ability to operate the vehicle safely.
The Nebraska truck accident lawyers at Cullan & Cullan have seen first-hand the devastation truck crashes in Nebraska can cause in addition to the financial and emotional burdens that are placed on a family when a loved one is injured in a collision that was the result of truck driver negligence. As physicians and attorneys, we understand how difficult it is to recover from a serious injury, and we have dedicated our practice to those who have been wronged by another’s wrongful actions. To learn how we can help you recover the compensation you need, call 1-402-397-7600.
Earlier this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed regulations that would require bus and commercial truck companies to install electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) that would monitor their drivers to be sure they were in compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. EOBRs are devices that are installed in commercial vehicles that record automatically the number of hours a driver spends operating their vehicle. While some carriers already have installed the devices in their vehicles, if the regulations are passed, it would affect about 500,000 carriers.
The proposed rule would also alleviate commercial vehicle drivers from needing to carry certain documents for HOS regulations, such as toll and delivery receipts, which are used to confirm the total number of hours a driver spends operating their vehicle. Only interstate commercial vehicle carriers that use Records of Duty logbooks (RODs) to document their drivers’ HOS would be required to install EOBRs. Short-haul commercial vehicle carriers that use timecards to keep track of hours-of-service would not be required to install EOBRs.
If the regulations are passed, commercial vehicle carriers that violate the requirement for EOBRs would face penalties of up to $11,000 for each incident. Failure to comply with the regulations would negatively impact the safety rating of a carrier as well as DOT operating authority.
While HOS regulations are intended to prevent commercial truck drivers from spending too many hours behind the wheel, unfortunately, many trucking companies and/or their drivers overlook these rules either to complete deliveries on-time, ahead of schedule, or to make more deliveries. When this occurs, all motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and others on the road are at great risk of being involved in a fatigued driving-related accident.
At Cullan & Cullan, our Nebraska big rig crash attorneys have successfully assisted many victims who have been injured due to a truck driver’s negligence. As both physicians and attorneys, we understand the burdens that are placed upon a family when a loved one is recovering from a serious injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident you believe was caused by a negligent truck driver, contact our law offices today. We can help you understand the legal options available to you in order for you to receive the compensation you deserve. Call 1-402-397-7600 to learn more today.