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Personal Injury Law Blog

Commercial truck drivers and their health

Commercial truck drivers in Georgia should be aware of the results of a study conducted by the University of Utah School of Medicine. According to the study, it can be difficult for them to remain healthy due the extended periods of time they have to sit and their poor eating and sleeping habits. Also, commercial truck drivers with three or more health conditions have four times the chances of getting into a crash.

The medical records of approximately 50,000 commercial truck drivers were examined by the researchers. Out of those drivers, 34 percent showed signs of having multiple health issues that could negatively affect their driving performances. The health issues include diabetes, heart disease and lower back pain. The researchers also examined the crash histories of the drivers. They discovered that drivers who had at least three of the health issues had a greater chance of having been involved in a crash.

New truck driver training rule delayed by Trump

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has officially delayed the start date of a new rule that sets national training standards for truck drivers in Georgia and across the U.S. The move comes in response to a Jan. 20 memorandum by President Trump ordering federal agencies to temporarily freeze all pending rules for 60 days.

The Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Vehicle Operators rule was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 8 and was scheduled to take effect on Feb. 6. It is now scheduled to be implemented on March 21, though it could be delayed again, pending review by the Trump administration. The rule sets a core classroom curriculum for individuals seeking a commercial driver's license. Students must also complete behind-the-wheel training, but the rule does not require a minimum amount of hours. A previous draft of the rule required 30 hours of training behind the wheel, but that provision was scrapped. The rule will also create a national list of certified CDL trainers, and all CDL trainees must be instructed from a trainer on the list.

What to do after a truck accident?

Taking the right action after a truck accident can make a tremendous difference for the victims involved. Few people, outside of truck drivers, have any experience with truck wrecks when they experience their own. That lack of experience can lead to costly mistakes. Here are a few tips on what to do if you are involved in a crash with a semi-truck. 

Call the police

Whether you have been involved in a truck accident, or witnessed it, the first thing to do is call 911 to get help for any injured victims. Collisions involving semi-trucks can lead to serious injuries, even at low speeds. The top priority is to safeguard the health of all parties involved. 

Audi recalls multiple vehicles for dangerous defects

Georgia owners of some Audi vehicles can expect to receive recall notices concerning A5 and Q5 models manufactured between 2013 and 2017. Defects have been identified within the 2.0-liter TFSI engines of the A5 coupe, A5 cabriolet and Q5 SUV. Specifically, the cooling pump could overheat and burst into flame if debris clogs the system.

Another problem with Q5 SUVs built between 2011 and 2017 could result in shrapnel exploding into the passenger cabin during an airbag deployment. Drainage problems around the vehicles' sunroofs sometimes allow water to seep into the structure of the vehicle and soak into the foam around the inflation canister for the side head airbag. Once the water corrodes the canister, it could break apart when the airbag is activated. Both recalls will apply to well over 500,000 vehicles nationwide.

Strict liability in product auto defect lawsuits

Tens of millions of cars have been recalled in recent years for problems ranging from faulty ignition switches to malfunctioning airbags. However, accidents caused by defective automobile parts are still a regular occurrence in Georgia and around the country. Car makers are held strictly liable when their products are used as intended and cause injury, loss or damage, meaning that plaintiffs in product liability lawsuits are not required to show that negligence or recklessness played a role.

If the rules of strict liability did not apply, those injured in accidents caused by auto defects would be expected to demonstrate that car makers knew or should have known about a problem and failed to act accordingly. Proving this liability could be very difficult when dealing with corporations used for both protecting trade secrets and dealing with litigation. While the doctrine of strict liability may make product liability lawsuits less formidable for plaintiffs, there are still a number of defenses that car makers can mount.

Legal guidance regarding wrongful death claims

Car accidents are a leading cause of death in Georgia and throughout the country. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one fatality occurs every 16 minutes in a vehicle crash. Whether the victim was someone's husband, wife, mother, father, daughter or son, the loss can have a huge emotional impact on the family. If the decedent was the family's sole provider, the death could add serious financial burdens to the family as well.

If you are in a similar situation, you may be able to pursue compensation for your losses. At Butler, Wooten and Peak LLP, we could review your case to find out if the person who caused the crash was driving in a negligent manner. Our attorneys carefully scrutinize police reports, witness accounts, surveillance camera footage and other evidence in an effort to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum compensation for your losses, such as funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and medical costs. We will do our best to resolve your case.

Frightening bus accident strikes pro hockey team

A charter bus carrying the Columbus Cottonmouths, a professional hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League, rolled over on an Illinois highway today. Early reports indicate that two occupants of the bus suffered serious injury. A spokesperson for the Illinois State Police suggested that speed was a factor in the crash. Charter bus accidents are not uncommon and experts have questioned the safety record within the industry.

Safety ratings and bus companies

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a mobile phone app that allows users to access a bus company's safety records. The app, called SaferBus, allows you to search by company name, Department of Transportation number or MC number. It then allows people to view the company's scores in five categories, including:

  • Unsafe Driving
  • Fatigued Driving
  • Driver Fitness
  • Controlled Substances and/or Alcohol
  • Vehicle Maintenance 

Honda recalls 772,000 more vehicles over defective air bags

Georgia Honda owners should know that Honda Motor Co. is recalling 772,000 more Honda and Acura vehicles across the U.S. due to faulty front passenger seat air bag inflators. The inflators are made by Takata Corp.

The recall expansion, which was announced late on Jan. 10, brings the total number of recalled Honda vehicles to 1.29 million. Vehicles included in the recall include the 2005-2006 Acura MDX, 2009-2012 Acura TSX, 2011-2012 Acura TSX Wagon, 2008-2012 Honda Accord, 2006-2011 Honda Civic, 2007-2012 Honda Fit, 2010-2012 Honda Insight, 2005-2011 Honda CR-V and 2005-2011 Honda Element. Other vehicles covered in the recall include the 2010-2012 Acura ZDX, 2005-2012 Acura RL, 2010-2012 Honda Crosstour, 2012 Honda FCX Clarity, 2005-2012 Honda Pilot and 2006-2012 Honda Ridgeline.

Stay safe during challenging weather

Atlanta averages less than 3 inches of snow per year. When temperatures fall and winter storms hit, many Georgia drivers face driving conditions even more challenging than those found in typically colder areas. When snow is a regular part of winter, steps are taken in advance to manage it. Snow plows and salt trucks stand ready to combat the regular snow seen in many cities. In Georgia, snow is rarer and all the more disastrous for its rarity.

What to do

By far the best thing you can do when snow, sleet and freezing rain hit is stay off the roads. The more cars on the road when winter weather hits, the worse the congestion. Avoid the stress and the greatly increased chance of getting into a car accident by staying home. 

Disabling phone features while behind the wheel

As part of its Driver's Distraction Guidelines, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published a voluntary set of regulations that would encourage cellphone manufacturers to disable a number of features in their devices when a user is driving. The goal of the recommendations is to cut down on distracted driving, which is a significant cause of Georgia car and truck accidents.

The NHTSA has suggested that the locked down version of the phone would only allow drivers to use emergency features. Motorists would not be able to view photos or videos except for maps, and text for reading, scrolling text and the Internet would be disabled.

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