Personal Injury Blog

A Woman and Infant are Killed in a Fiery 18-Wheeler Crash

June 22nd, 2016
English: Homestead Air Reserve Base: Trucks be...

English: Homestead Air Reserve Base: Trucks began arriving here to pre-position water, military rations, ice and tarps for the post-hurricane relief effort. The trucks, which began arriving Oct. 20, have delivered supplies from Key West to northern Miami-Dade County since the storm passed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Interstate 30 in Nash, Texas, at about 2:25 pm on Saturday, a fatal 18-wheeler crash occurred near the Kings Highway (FM 989) overpass. Tiffany Provence, age 29, and 3-month-old Daclan Marshall of Hooks, Texas, died in the three-vehicle accident. According to authorities, Shelby Marshall was driving the car Provence and the infant were riding in. She was forced to bring her Chevrolet to a complete stop, due to an accident that was ahead on FM 2148. Another Chevrolet, a Tahoe, was also stopped in front of Marshall’s car. The 63-year-old driver of an 18-wheeler failed to stop. The Del Rio, Texas, man in the big rig rear-ended Marshall’s vehicle. The car then struck the Tahoe and burst into flames. The truck driver rescued Shelby but was unable to help Provence or the infant, due to the intense heat of the fire. Marshall’s Chevrolet was completely consumed before firefighters could arrive and extinguish the flames. The occupants of the Tahoe were treated for injuries at a local hospital and released.

This tragic collision is still under investigation. The deadly incident brings to light the dangers of big rigs on our roadways, when they either don’t operator properly or drivers fail to maintain proper control in traffic. The cause of the truck driver being involved in this particular crash has not been established.

The following are some of the common causes of 18-wheeler collisions, according to research:

Distracted driving. Anything that diverts a driver’s attention away from the task of driving results in distracted driving. Because 18-wheelers weigh around 20 times more than average vehicles, it is incredibly hazardous for commercial truck drivers to drive while distracted.

Learn more about the common causes of 18-wheeler collisions in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

2 Women Die in a Fiery 7-Vehicle Crash in El Paso, Texas – Part 4

June 17th, 2016
Photo by Ivan Kozlov

Photo by Ivan Kozlov

On Monday, May 23, 2016, in El Paso, Texas, a seven-vehicle crash occurred on Interstate 10. Two women, sisters, died in the crash. According to authorities, eastbound traffic was slowing in the area when an 18-wheeler came along. The 27-year-old driver of the big rig struck several cars, after he allegedly failed to control his speed. Two vehicles rolled over, and the five occupants were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. One vehicle was struck from behind by the 18-wheeler and became pinned underneath. The car burst into flames; the two occupants were the ones who died in the pileup.

The following is more information about contributing factors in 18-wheeler collisions:

  • Federal trucking regulations address the issue of drivers using controlled substances or drinking alcohol when driving. The detailed laws include timing requirements. The goal is to keep impaired truck drivers off of our roadways. Federal laws require drivers to be tested following accidents, to determine whether there was any type of impairment. In addition to alcohol and illegal drugs impacting driving, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines can have an effect on a trucker’s driving capabilities.
  • Large trucks weighed down with a load are dangerous, and drivers who are unqualified, untrained, and unsupervised should not be behind the wheel. There are specific requirements regarding the hiring, training, and supervising of commercial truck drivers. An important way of avoiding 18-wheeler accidents is ensuring that the drivers are trained and qualified.
  • There are weight limits for big rigs, and overloaded trailers can put others at risk on our roadways. In addition to increasing the force of impact, overloaded trucks could overstress the vehicle’s capabilities, contributing to accidents.

Learn more in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this four-part series.

–Guest Contributor

2 Women Die in a Fiery 7-Vehicle Crash in El Paso, Texas – Part 3

June 10th, 2016
Veronica538 at work as truckdriver

Veronica538 at work as truckdriver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, May 23, 2016, in El Paso, Texas, a seven-vehicle crash occurred on Interstate 10. Two women, sisters, died in the crash. According to authorities, eastbound traffic was slowing in the area when an 18-wheeler came along. The 27-year-old driver of the big rig struck several cars, after he allegedly failed to control his speed. Two vehicles rolled over, and the five occupants were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. One vehicle was struck from behind by the 18-wheeler and became pinned underneath. The car burst into flames; the two occupants were the ones who died in the pileup.

The following is information about contributing factors in 18-wheeler collisions:

  • Drivers of 18-wheelers must allow adequate stopping distances. Any type of tail-gating is extremely dangerous, since big rigs travel much greater distances in the process of coming to a stop.
  • Eighteen-wheeler truck drivers have a responsibility to be vigilant about watching blind spots. It’s important that the commercial drivers use extra care because drivers of average-sized vehicles often don’t know where a truck driver’s blind spots are. When changing lanes or making other maneuvers that could harm someone in the blind spot, truck drivers must use great care.
  • There are limits to how much commercial trucks can weigh. When a truck is overloaded, the force of impact and stopping distance are both increased, making the vehicle even more dangerous on our roadways. When laws aren’t followed with relation to truck weight and size, these issues can become contributing factors in a collision.

Learn more in Part 1, Part 2, and this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

2 Women Die in a Fiery 7-Vehicle Crash in El Paso, Texas – Part 2

June 3rd, 2016
View of a truck's interior dashboard.

View of a truck’s interior dashboard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, May 23, 2016, in El Paso, Texas, a seven-vehicle crash occurred on Interstate 10. Two women, sisters, died in the crash. According to authorities, eastbound traffic was slowing in the area when an 18-wheeler came along. The 27-year-old driver of the big rig struck several cars, after he allegedly failed to control his speed. Two vehicles rolled over, and the five occupants were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. One vehicle was struck from behind by the 18-wheeler and became pinned underneath. The car burst into flames; the two occupants were the ones who died in the pileup.

The following is information about contributing factors in 18-wheeler collisions:

More than 750 people are killed and 20,000 injured annually because of commercial vehicle drivers who drive while fatigued, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Federal regulations limit the amount of time a commercial driver can be on the road, but it is typical for such regulations to be ignored. Drivers are under intense pressure to make deliveries as quickly as possible. Driving while fatigued is comparable to driving while intoxicated.

There are laws regulating the safety of commercial trucks. Regular inspections are required. Before each trip, drivers are required to inspect their vehicle, including the following:

  • Brake conditions
  • Tire pressure
  • Tire condition
  • Brake fluids
  • Engine fluids
  • Lights
  • Turn signals
  • Mirrors must be properly adjusted

If equipment failure occurs in an 18-wheeler traveling 65 miles per hour, the results can be devastating.

Learn more in Part 1 and this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

2 Women Die in a Fiery 7-Vehicle Crash in El Paso, Texas

June 3rd, 2016
English: El Paso Skyline from the north.

English: El Paso Skyline from the north. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, May 23, 2016, in El Paso, Texas, a seven-vehicle crash occurred on Interstate 10. Two women, sisters, died in the crash. According to authorities, eastbound traffic was slowing in the area when an 18-wheeler came along. The 27-year-old driver of the big rig struck several cars, after he allegedly failed to control his speed. Two vehicles rolled over, and the five occupants were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. One vehicle was struck from behind by the 18-wheeler and became pinned underneath. The car burst into flames; the two occupants were the ones who died in the pileup.

As of Wednesday, no charges have been filed in the case. The incident is still under investigation. The official cause of the crash has not been announced.

When truck drivers of large commercial vehicles fail to maintain proper speed, devastation often follows. Commercial drivers of large commercial trucks have a huge responsibility. An 18-wheeler that’s out of control is a much greater threat to others on the roads than a normal sized vehicle.

Research from 2014 shows that the following are the top five factors that contributed to fatal vehicle crashes in Texas that year:

  • Failure to control speed was the number one cause, with 125,126 collisions resulting in 452 deaths.
  • Distracted driving was the second leading cause of death, with 91,833 collisions and 346 deaths.
  • Failure to stay on a single lane of the roadway was a factor in 520 fatalities and 32,937 crashes.
  • Making unsafe lane changes was a factor in 54 deaths and 29,571 collisions.
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way when making a left turn was a factor in 87 Texas fatalities in 28,713 collisions.

Learn more in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

8 are Killed and 44 Injured in a Bus Crash in Texas

May 20th, 2016
English: Far East Geant Department Store Dazhi...

English: Far East Geant Department Store Dazhi Branch – Neihu Technology Park Friday Lunch Shuttle Bus, operated by Danan Bus Co., Ltd., but this service has been suspended from January 26, 2007. ‪中文(繁體)‬: 大南汽車曾一度在每周五固定營運愛買購物中心大直店的「內湖科學園區午餐巴士」,但此項服務已於2007年1月26日不再提供。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tragedy occurred on Saturday, May 14, 2016, shortly before noon when a charter bus driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed. The rollover crash happened on northbound U.S. Highway 83 near the border to Mexico approximately 46 miles north of Laredo. Eight people were killed and 44 were injured en route to a casino. It was raining at the time of the fatal crash, and the cause of the wreck is still under investigation. The driver is among the survivors. The deceased were all Latino Americans, mostly in their 50s and 60s, and the oldest person who died was 83.

The following is more information:

  • The bus was carrying more than 50 passengers and had been on the road for approximately two hours when the crash occurred.
  • The bus was a 1997 motor coach that had not been required to have an anti-lock brake system, because it was built prior to the 1998 regulation that has required safer braking. Anti-lock brakes help to prevent loss of control because they prevent wheels from locking.
  • Some of the survivors say the bus driver was traveling at too high a rate of speed prior to sliding sideways and rolling over.
  • Some accuse the charter bus company of using a bus known to need maintenance and repair. Some have also alleged that the bus driver did not have proper training.
  • Occupants of the bus were violently tossed around during the rollover crash. There were seatbelts in the driver’s seat and the first row only.

Sources say claims have already been filed in relation to this deadly bus crash.

–Guest Contributor

A 52-year-old Man is Killed in an El Paso, Tx Hotel – Struck by an 18-Wheeler Truck

May 14th, 2016
English: El Paso Skyline from the north.

English: El Paso Skyline from the north. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, May 6, in El Paso, Texas, the driver of an 18-wheeler hauling steel railroad tracks lost control of the vehicle. The big rig careened off of an Interstate 10 eastbound lane, through several parking lots, and into a Studio 6 Hotel. A 52-year-old man inside the building was killed in his hotel room. Police are still investigating the cause of the 18-wheeler crash.

Reports on this fatal crash also suggest that the 18-wheeler mowed down trees and damaged a wall that separated a funeral home from the hotel parking lot. To continue with enough velocity to ram into a hotel after having already smashed into a wall provides a good idea of how powerful big rigs are.

The following are some facts about 18-wheelers that all drivers should know, to stay safer on Texas roads:

  • It takes approximately the length of two football fields to stop an 18-wheeler. The smoother the surface, the less resistance, and the longer it takes to stop.
  • If brakes fail, commercial drivers of big rigs have other ways to slow down their trucks. There are numerous gears that they can shift down to. On average, an 18-wheeler has 10 forward drive gears, though sometimes up to 18, and two reverse drive gears. In an 18-gear cab, it’s possible to split between high and low range gears, to help slow the truck down.
  • Making a U-turn requires 55 feet of space, which requires at least a four-lane road with no center divider.

Big rigs create extra danger on our roadways. It’s always a good idea to give large trucks a wide berth.

–Guest Contributor

3 Die in a Montgomery County Crash Involving an 18-Wheeler and Alleged Drunk Driving – Part 2

May 9th, 2016
Veronica538 at work as truckdriver

Veronica538 at work as truckdriver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, April 22, at about 11:10 a.m., an 18-wheeler driver allegedly failed to maintain proper speed and crashed a lumber truck into four vehicles on Texas 105 not far from South Walker Road. Two of the crash victims were pronounced dead at the scene. A third victim was taken to Conroe Regional Medical Facility and died at the hospital. A child was critically injured in the crash and was flown to Herman Memorial Downtown; there have been no further updates on the child’s condition. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the 38-year-old 18-wheeler driver was arrested on one charge of intoxication assault and three charges of intoxication manslaughter.

Since it is extremely dangerous for anyone to drive while intoxicated, the danger is multiplied if the intoxicated person is behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle. In a three-year study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to determine causes of large truck collisions, it is truly frightening to learn what was revealed about 18-wheeler drivers. According to the research:

  • In 55% of the cases, trucks were assigned the critical cause of the crash.
  • Of all truck-related reasons for crashes, 87% of them involved the driver, and most were poor driving decisions or failure to correctly evaluate the situation.
  • The truck, roadway problems, and weather conditions accounted for 13% of the reasons for crashes with large trucks.
  • The most common vehicle factor was brake problems.
  • Prevalent roadway problems were traffic flow interruption and requirements that the driver stop before the collision.

The most common driver factors included:

  • Legal drug use
  • Traveling too fast for existing conditions
  • Unfamiliarity with the roadways
  • Feeling under pressure from motor carriers
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Fatigue

Learn more about 18-wheelers and drunk driving in Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor

 

3 Die in a Montgomery County Crash Involving an 18-Wheeler and Alleged Drunk Driving

April 29th, 2016
English: Volvo FH16 lumber truck in Pyhäjärvi,...

English: Volvo FH16 lumber truck in Pyhäjärvi, Finland Suomi: Volvo-puutavarayhdistelmä Pyhäjärvellä (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, April 22, at about 11:10 a.m., an 18-wheeler driver allegedly failed to maintain proper speed and crashed a lumber truck into four vehicles on Texas 105 not far from South Walker Road. Two of the crash victims were pronounced dead at the scene. A third victim was taken to Conroe Regional Medical Facility and died at the hospital. A child was critically injured in the crash and was flown to Herman Memorial Downtown; there have been no further updates on the child’s condition. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the 38-year-old 18-wheeler driver was arrested on one charge of intoxication assault and three charges of intoxication manslaughter in connection with the fatal crash.

Large commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers add extra danger to our roadways, weighing up to 40 tons or 80,000 pounds.  The average weight of a car or light-duty truck is 4,079, which means 18-wheelers can weigh 19.5 times as much. When the driver of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drinks alcohol, the potential danger of big rigs is multiplied.

Driving while intoxicated is very dangerous. The legal limit for drinking is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. Drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to have even a trace of alcohol in their system.

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system functions, which makes it a depressant. Alcohol normally causes delayed brain function, making it impossible for a person to perform the same as when sober. Cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, and processing skills are all affected by alcohol in ways that make it dangerous for someone to drive.

Vehicular deaths, highway injuries, and the risk of automobile accidents are all greatly increased when a driver is intoxicated.

Learn more about 18-wheelers and drunk driving in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

4 Adults are Dead and Children Injured in a Head-on Crash in Montgomery County, TX

April 22nd, 2016
Head-on crash test between 2009 Smart ForTwo a...

Head-on crash test between 2009 Smart ForTwo and 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 photographed at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Research Center. IIHS crash test page Category:Smart_Fortwo_Coupé_(2nd_gen) Category:Mercedes-Benz W204 (pre-facelift) Category:Crash tests Category:Blue and silver vehicles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday evening a fatal head-on crash occurred at Albert Moorehead Road on FM 3083 in Montgomery County, Texas, southeast of Conroe. Authorities say that the driver of a Toyota Tundra traveling southeast and reportedly going at a high rate of speed allegedly drove into oncoming traffic and struck a Chevy Tahoe traveling northwest. Witnesses told members of law enforcement that the Tundra was passing in a no-passing zone when the fatal collision occurred.

Just before the Tundra burst into flames, a child who suffered serious injuries in the crash was rescued from the vehicle. The two adults inside were unable to escape. The two adults in the Tahoe were also killed. There were three children in that car, and they were all seriously injured and transported to nearby hospitals.

Erik Burse, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the crash was entirely preventable and could have been avoided.

Statistics show that it is more accurate to refer to wrecks as collisions as opposed to calling them accidents, based on the following statistics:

  • Number of crashes caused by a wheel problem such as a blowout: 15,000
  • Number of crashes caused by slick roadways: 26,000
  • Number of crashes caused by a driver who made a bad decision: 684,000

When drivers make bad decisions, they put others at risk. The following are among the worst types of driving behaviors:

  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Texting and driving
  • Driving while fatigued or drowsy
  • Driving while distracted by anything that takes attention away from the road

Many states provide discounts on auto insurance when motorists take a defensive driving course because it reminds motorists of the dangers of these types of driving behaviors.

–Guest Contributor