Welcome to the Blog of The Glassman Law Firm, P.C., St. Louis Personal Injury Attorneys

We blog about relevant issues in personal injury law, discuss the misconceptions surrounding personal injury law and some of the most popular cases in the news, inform on the legal and political landscape of tort reform and insurance company lobbying, and provide readers with helpful personal injury information and resources. Please visit www.glassmanlegal.com for more information.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2013

Introduced in the house on February 12, 2013, the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2013 (H.R. 612) would allow each state to permit vehicles exceeding certain federal weight limits to operate on Interstate Highway System routes within that state.

H.R. 612 states that vehicles can exceed federal standards if: the vehicle is equipped with at least six axles, the weight of any single axle does not exceed 20,000 pounds, the weight of any tandem axle does not exceed 34,000 pounds, the weight of any group of 3 or more axles does not exceed 51,000 pounds, and the gross weight of the vehicle does not exceed 97,000 pounds.

Maine and Vermont participated in a pilot program which allowed tractors with semitrailers up to 100,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and tandem axle weights up to a maximum of 46,000 pounds. Vermont allows trucks that weigh up to a maximum gross vehicle weight of 99,000 pounds, and trucks with tandem axles that weigh up to a maximum of 36,000 pounds plus a 10 percent additional weight allowance, which allows a total of 39,600 pounds.

This bill only supports one group: the shipper. Those in favor of the bill site efficiency in their reasoning. They believe packing more goods into an already dangerously large trailer will result in less trucks on the road and a reduction in fuel consumption. There is little regard for safety in this belief. Larger trucks means increased stopping distance, resulting in additional accidents on the roads. Groups like Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) advocate that truck crash deaths are increasing, thus truck size and weight limits should not.

Contrary to the claim that the bill would result in fewer trucks on the road, during the pilot period in both states combined, official reports from U.S. Dept. of Transportation Federal Highway Administration found the percentage of trucks in that weight category on the road has jumped. Commercial motor vehicle crashes on non-Interstate roads increased 24%, Interstate crashes increased 10%. During the pilot period, trucks were placed out of service (OOS) for brake violations between 54.2% and 66.2% of the time. The amount of roadside inspections alarmingly declined during this time.

This bill is also extremely worrisome to many due to the impact these large trucks have on roads. Opponents of the bill argue that heavier trucks will result in bridge failures across our nation's highway system. It is estimated that 25% of our nations bridges are not equipped to take on the increased load size.

The public strongly opposes having bigger, longer, heavier, deadlier trucks on our nation's roads and groups like PATT are urging Congress to reject this bill. Contact the St. Louis Truck Accident Attorneys of The Glassman Law Firm at 314-446-6000 if you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a collision with a tractor trailer. Visit www.glassmanlegal.com for more information about tractor-trailer accidents.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What Is The Federal Safety Standard For Consecutive Hours Behind The Wheel For A Truck Driver?

Federal investigators found that a Wisconsin United Van Lines truck driver had been working more than 14 consecutive hours when he fell asleep at the wheel, resulting in the fiery crash that killed an Illinois State Police Trooper.

Though the investigation is ongoing, as of now the semi-truck driver has not been charged criminally in connection to the crash that killed Trooper James Sauter.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's records state that the semi-truck driver as well as United Van Lines have been fined for violating a federal rule barring drivers from operating a semi-truck for more than 14 hours without getting 10 hours of rest.

Twenty-eight year old James Sauter had been a trooper since 2008 and earned a lifesaving medal as a cadet for coming to the aid of a female motorcycle crash victim that year.

Contrary to what most lay people may believe, a trucking case, unlike the routine auto accident case, requires the expertise of an experienced trucking lawyer who is well versed in the complex details of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act which regulate and govern the safe operation of large interstate trucking companies, including the training, examination, and licensing of their drivers.

Contact the St. Louis Truck Accident Attorneys of The Glassman Law Firm at 314-446-6000 if you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a collision with a tractor trailer. Go to www.glassmanlegal.com for more information about tractor-trailer accidents.