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Boca truck accident injury attorney Archives | Osborne & Francis

Decision Puts Money Ahead of Safety Warns Boca Truck Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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A proposed rule to reduce the number of dangerous truck drivers has been stopped by the Trump administration says Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

The Trump Administration, in its efforts to create a more business-friendly federal government, has made a decision that could result in more deaths and serious injuries caused in commercial truck accidents. A planned regulation would’ve required truck drivers be screened for sleep apnea, which if untreated could result in fatigued or drowsy drivers. Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne says without the regulation the chances of a truck accident caused by a fatigued and distracted driver increase.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) announced earlier this month a regulation requiring testing of train engineers and truck drivers for sleep apnea proposed by the Obama administration will not be pursued, reports the Associated Press (AP). The disorder causes temporary heart stoppages while the person sleeps, waking him or her up several times a night. In the morning the person is fatigued and easily distracted because of the lack of quality sleep. Train engineers and truck drivers with sleep apnea have been blamed for deadly train crashes in New York City and New Jersey and several highway crashes.

The FMCSA stated trucking companies will decide whether or not to test drivers. This is but one of hundreds of regulations that have been withdrawn or delayed by the administration. It claims reduced regulations will result in economic growth. Former FRA administer Sarah Feinberg was quoted by the AP as saying,

“It’s very hard to argue that people aren’t being put at risk…We cannot have someone who is in that condition operating either a train going 70 mph or operating a multi-ton truck traveling down the interstate. It’s just not an appropriate level of risk to be exposing passengers and the traveling public to.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated it was disappointed the proposed rule is being dropped. The agency stated sleep apnea has been found to be the probable cause of ten highway and rail accidents it has investigated in the past 17 years. It’s also suspected in a number of ongoing investigations.

More than a quarter (28%) of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea according to a study sponsored by the FMCSA and the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations.

The FMCSA states that untreated sleep apnea affects alertness and performance. It can make it difficult for drivers to stay awake, focus their eyes and react when driving. Studies have shown that those with the condition have a greater risk of being involved in a fatigue-related motor vehicle accident. Even though a driver with untreated sleep apnea may not fall asleep behind the wheel if he or she is fatigued enough to be distracted or inattentive that may be enough to cause an accident.

FMCSA regulations state a person with a diagnosis of a condition likely to interfere with their ability to drive safely cannot be medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. If a driver is diagnosed with sleep apnea and successfully treated he or she can be medically cleared to drive again.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a commercial truck accident, contact Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Driving a Truck a Dangerous Job Says Boca Truck Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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What makes truck driving dangerous creates dangers for all of us on the roads says Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Driving a commercial truck has recently ranked as one of the most dangerous jobs you could have. The problem for the rest of is what makes that job dangerous makes it dangerous for us too. If a driver suffers an injury or fatality on the job it can impact everyone else driving near him or her says Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Driving a truck is listed by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the most dangerous civilian jobs reports CBS News. That job is listed as the seventh deadliest job, with 24.3 deaths per 100,000 drivers. The most dangerous job is logging at 132.7 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Driving a commercial truck is dangerous for many reasons,

  • Truck drivers operate day and night, seven days a week, in all weather and road conditions. The need to make deliveries makes many truckers take to the road when most of us would stay home.
  • Road conditions may be bad because of poor maintenance, poorly signed construction zones and high traffic volumes. As more vehicles pack a roadway, the more likely someone will make a mistake, cause an accident and someone will get hurt. If it’s the truck driver making the mistake, given the size of the truck there’s a good chance another driver or vehicle occupant will be hurt in an accident.
  • The desire to reach a destination may cause the driver to speed or remain driving instead of complying with federal regulations and taking a break. Excess speed cuts down on the time a truck driver can react to conditions and it amplifies driver mistakes. A speeding truck may not be able to avoid an obstacle like a vehicle slowing down due to heavy traffic. Fatigue often leads to distractions and a driver can doze off behind the wheel and control of the vehicle can greatly be diminished or lost completely.
  • Because of the lack of proper parking for commercial trucks, drivers may not be able to find safe, legal parking, forcing them to drive when they should be pulled over and taking a break or getting some sleep.
  • Drivers may suffer injuries on the job which could be a distraction from driving. Sitting for long stretches or working to load or unload trucks can cause a number of injuries, including back problems.
  • Trucks and trailers may be poorly maintained and as a result difficult to control. Mechanical failures can result in a serious accident, especially at highway speeds.
  • Trailers that aren’t properly loaded or loaded beyond their capacity can result in poor braking, difficult handling and possible jackknifing.

All these situations and conditions can increase the chances of a truck accident leading to a driver being injured or killed. Since commercial trucks don’t operate is isolation but are often surrounded by other motorists, sometimes at high speeds, when a truck accident happens potentially several other vehicles could be involved as well, injuring or killing others.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a commercial truck accident, contact Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Truckers May Skimp on Insurance Says Boca Truck Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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The federal government’s failure to increase commercial trucking insurance coverage helps unsafe trucking companies says Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Commercial trucking companies, like individual car owners in Florida, must carry liability insurance. Trucking companies’ insurance is covered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which decided in June not to increase coverage minimums which have been in place for 32 years. This potentially leaves commercial truck accident victims holding the financial bag in case of a serious accident warns Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

The federal government was in the process of requiring increased coverage, from $1 million to $3.2 million per accident, when the Trump Administration applied the brakes. The justifications for the increase are spelled out in a 2014 Congressional report which states the current coverage levels don’t adequately cover catastrophic crashes because of increasing medical costs. That report states,

  • If minimum coverage levels kept pace with the rate of medical care inflation by 2013 minimum levels would have increased to about $3.2 million.
  • When catastrophic accidents and critical injuries occur the costs of property damage, injuries and fatalities can easily exceed the $1 million minimum level of coverage.
  • Since 1985, when the current minimum level was set, the purchasing power of the coverage has decreased making insurance coverage less relevant over time.

If a trucking company is found liable in a truck accident case, it’s carrying only the required minimum coverage, but the damages are more than $1 million the company may need to sell its assets to cover the verdict, potentially forcing it out of business. If there aren’t enough assets to cover the verdict a successful plaintiff may be unable to fully collect a damages award.

The official reason for stopping the process was that the agency “has determined that it has insufficient data or information to support moving forward with a rulemaking proposal, at this time,” but there’s no indication it will actually try to get the additional information FMSCA claims it needs.

Not only does this harm motorists but also responsible trucking companies who are more concerned about safety than those who are trying to make the most money while risking the safety of others.

  • Higher limits would result in all trucking companies putting more attention on compliance with safety rules and driver safety because insurance carriers when underwriting these policies would hold trucking companies to higher standards.
  • With lower insurance premiums there’s less need for better compliance and those skimping on safety can charge less and successfully bid more often on hauling contracts.

Depending on the circumstance of a truck accident several parties may have played a role in causing it and there may be multiple insurance policies that could apply. Those injured in commercial truck accidents should contact an attorney as soon as possible so an investigation can take place, responsible parties can be uncovered and they can be held accountable.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a commercial truck accident, contact Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Commercial Trucks Can Hit & Run Too Says Boca Truck Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Orlando resident just one of many killed in tractor-trailer hit and run accidents says Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

If you imagine yourself getting involved in a hit and run accident, you may think about a speeding car driven by a teen distracted by a smart phone or a car driven by someone who had too many drinks after work. As hazardous as those kinds of situation can be, it could be far worse if that out of control vehicle is a tractor-trailer says Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Such a situation turned out to be fatal for a 71 year old Orlando resident who was killed on U.S. Highway 192 outside of St. Cloud last month, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, reports the Sun Sentinel. Troopers reported the tractor-trailer turned in front of a sedan heading east. The front of the car hit the side of the tractor-trailer and the truck driver never stopped. The truck and trailer were later located by police.

The man driving the car, whose identity wasn’t released, died at the scene. An Osceola County deputy recognized the tractor-trailer when he saw it at a gas station in the St. Cloud area. The deputy followed the tractor-trailer until troopers could pull over the driver. The newspaper reported the Florida Highway Patrol was collecting evidence and talking to a person of interest, added personal injury lawyer Osborne.

Commercial truck hit and run accidents are not uncommon.

  • Also last month a man died after a tractor-trailer slammed into his car then kept going near the entrance of the George Washington Bridge in New York City, reports WPIX. He was in the car with two passengers on the westbound Cross Bronx Expressway at the time of the accident. The driver was later stopped at a rest stop in New Jersey.
  • Another semi-truck truck struck and killed a pedestrian in Brooklyn, New York, in January. She was crossing a street when she was hit by the truck, according to the New York Post. Police later located the driver and were investigating if the driver was aware the pedestrian was struck.
  • A pedestrian was killed in Fort Lauderdale in a hit and run accident involving a tractor-trailer in 2014, reports the Sun Sentinel. David Howard Richter was struck along the 2000 block of West Sunrise Boulevard as the truck driver exited Interstate 95 to go westbound on Sunrise Boulevard.

Why would a commercial truck driver leave the scene of an accident?

  • The driver may not realize an accident happened. A truck driver may not have known a pedestrian was struck by a part of the truck or trailer. The driver may also be too fatigued or impaired by drugs or alcohol to know what’s going on.
  • A truck driver may have his or her commercial driver’s license suspended, revoked or canceled if he or she is at fault in an accident, depending on the facts of the situation and prior traffic violations or arrests. Such a driver may want to flee the scene in hopes of maintaining his or her ability to drive and earn an income.

No matter why the truck left the accident, if you or a loved one suffered an injury caused in a hit and run accident involving a tractor-trailer, contact Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.