Make Sure You Are Properly Insured

All to often, I am seeing folks involved in motor vehicle collision not properly insured.  This goes for those who have caused a crash or those that are injured by someone causing a crash.

If you cause a crash and are not properly insured, you may expose your personal assets, including your home and any other real estate property to attack by the injured party and their legal representative.  It is important when you meet with your insurance agent that you discuss the level of insurance that you need to protect yourself and your family.  Don’t get caught with too little insurance.

Now, on the other hand, if you are injured by another party and that party does not have insurance or does not have adequate insurance, you may not receive just compensation unless you have Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage.  Commonly called UM or UIM coverage, this coverage is in place to protect you when injured by a party who has no insurance or too little insurance.  Again, it is important that you discuss with your insurance agent UM and UIM coverage.

These insurance issues should be discussed with your insurance agent on a periodic basis.

 

Be Safe in Washington

The summer months are upon us.  Travel upon our highways will increase as families travel to visit relatives or go on vacations to campgrounds, historic sites or other fun locations.  With summer highway travel safety is a major concern and must to the focus of both the driver, as well as, passengers.  Don’t be distracted with cellular phone use.  Texting and use of cellular phones while driving is a major cause of accidents and injuries.  Just don’t use your cellular phone while operating a motor vehicle.  Be alert to dangers on the highway, don’t speed unnecessarily and operate within the rules of the road.

 

Top Washington Trucking Accident Attorney

I am happy to be recognized as one of Washington State’s top Trucking Accident Attorneys.  I am on the National Board of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America.  This organization is made up of committed lawyers who have joined together to help eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices.  It is through this organization and others like it that we are making America’s highways a safer place for travelers.

I am also involved in local and national Claimant organizations that are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims of Trucking Accidents, as well as, injury and wrongful claims.

It is important to make our communities safer and to allow the folks that make up our communities to live their lives to the fullest.

 

 

 

Truck Drivers with Care

Today with snow all over the roadways here in the Pacific Northwest, roadway travel was limited. Those that had to go out faced conditions of icy roads, continuous snow flakes or ice rain and side roads that were difficult to navigate.  

Out there, crazy drivers went too fast, followed too close and tried to go up or down roadways that were simply in no condition for travel.  One thing that I did observe was number truck drivers on the snowy roadways and I did not seen a single incident of unsafe driving.  I saw truck drivers going slowly, maintaining a safe following distance and avoiding hills.  

Unfortunately, there were several Truck crashes on the highways.  For example, a semi-truck crashed through a guard rail near Olympia.  Often, these crashes are due to Truck drivers traveling too fast for winter driving conditions.

The winter weather conditions will hopefully improve soon.

 

Slow Down

 

The Pacific Northwest is blanketed in snow which is expected to remain on the roadways for the next 36 hours.  It is especially important to slow down as you drive on the roadways.  Truck drivers need to pay particular attention to safety and defensive driving.  Truck drivers need to slow down, leave enough room between their rigs and other drivers. They also need to get off the roadway if conditions become too hazardous.  In fact, federal regulations require this. Winter conditions require complete driver attention.  Earlier, as I was driving to work, I watched a truck driver operate his rig while talking on the cell phone.  This distraction contributes to accidents.  In fact, it is estimated that 5,500 people were killedin 2009 by distracted drivers.  It is also estimated that over 450,000 were injured by distracted drivers.  Truck drivers must avoid distractions, especially in winter conditions.

Sleepy Truck Drivers

Federal Regulations require that no truck driver shall operate a vehicle while the driver’s ability is impaired or is likely to become impaired through fatigue.  49 CFR sec. 395.3.  This means that a driver whose ability to safely operate his truck is impaired because he is tired or his ability is likely to become impaired because he is tired shall not operate the truck.

Many Truck Drivers suffer from Sleep Apnea, a condition that results in daytime sleepiness and fatigue.  A Truck Driver who suffers from this condition is obviously a potential danger on our public roadways.  The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee is continuing its review of this condition, in order to determine if new screening rules should be adopted.

We have read, all too many times, about a driver, whether it be a Truck driver, or simply a motorist, having fallen asleep at the wheel causing a tragic crash.  With big rigs operated by hired truck drivers it is critical that the Committee continue to address the issue of driver fatigue. In addition, Motor Carriers must continue to manage the issue of driver fatigue for the safety of our public roadways.

 

New FMCSA Rules – Hours-of-Service

The U.S. Department of Transportation has taken new action to address driver fatigue and to make sure that truck drivers get the rest they need to operate safely when on our public roadways.The new rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reduces by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week.  In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. The current 11-hour daily driving limit was retained, but, truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours are required to take at least two nights’ rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most – from 1:00 am to 5: 00 am.

Big rigs can be deadly when a driver is tired and overworked.  Driver fatigue is the cause of many highway crashes.

This is a step in the right direction, but, the FMCSA must continue to review and research the work hours of truck drivers.  Our public safety requires continued monitoring.

Washington Truck crashes

Over the past month, there have been several truck crashes in the Pacific Northwest.  They include a semi truck that careened into several construction trucks parked along the shoulder of I-5. Another, involved a tanker truck that overturned on SR 405 in Bellevue. Yet another, involved a semi that went off the road, hit several trees and caught fire killing the driver.

What seems common in each of these crashes is that the truck driver lost control of his truck and trailer.  Speed, inattentiveness, lack of training and the failure to use defensive driving skills are some of the factors that contribute to a truck driver losing control of his truck and trailer.

Recently, the Trucking Watchdog Website come on line.  Check out the website for news and information regarding trucking crashes, laws and legal representation.

 

Cell phone use banned

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in conjunction with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles.

The final rule prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus.  Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Individual states will also suspend a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations.

Nearly 5474 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2009.  Distraction-related fatalities represented 16% of overall traffic fatalities in 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research.

Many motor carriers already have company policies in place banning their drivers from using hand-held phones, but, this new rule puts into law the prohibition.

 

Cell phone use banned

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in conjunction with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles.

Truck Drivers & Bus Drivers now banned from using hand held cell phones

The final rule prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus.  Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Individual states will also suspend a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) after two or more serious traffic violations.

Nearly 5474 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2009.  Distraction-related fatalities represented 16% of overall traffic fatalities in 2009, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research.

Many motor carriers already have company policies in place banning their drivers from using hand-held phones, but, this new rule puts into law the prohibition.