Tag Archives: Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer

Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Discusses Status of NHTSA and FMCSA Rule

Late last year, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) came forward with a proposed rule that would require semi-trucks and big rigs to be equipped with a device that would regulate the maximum speed that the truck could travel while on the highway. At the time the rule was proposed, it was hoped that the Obama administration would approve the rule after the time for public comments had passed. Now that the Trump administration is in place, fears are rising that the common-sense rule will meet its demise before implementation.

The Need for Speed (Rules) for Trucks

It is no secret that commercial trucks like big rigs and semi-trucks can cause serious harm to the occupants of passenger vehicles in the event of a crash. The magnitude of harm caused by these large commercial trucks only increases the faster that the truck is traveling. That is to say, a truck that crashes into a passenger car while traveling 65 miles per hour will inflict greater harm than a truck that crashes into a passenger car while traveling 55 miles per hour. Thus, the proposed rule – and the devices described in the proposed rule – could potentially decrease the incidence rate of serious and fatal truck crashes.

Determining the Speed of a Commercial Truck in a Crash

When a truck is involved in a crash with another vehicle – especially where there is evidence suggesting the truck driver was at fault and caused the crash – the speed of the truck at the moment of impact becomes extremely relevant to the investigation into the crash. A truck that is traveling above the posted speed limit (or even at a speed that is too great for the prevailing road, weather, and/or traffic conditions) can be found to be negligent or reckless, thereby supporting an injury victim’s claim for damages.

While the speed of a truck can be estimated from skid marks and other physical evidence found at the scene, one of the more reliable methods whereby the speed of the truck can be determined is to obtain the “control module” or “black box.” This is a recording device that is found either under the hood of the truck or (sometimes) within the cab itself. This module contains important information about the truck in the moments immediately before the crash: it can tell someone, for example, the speed of the truck for the critical few seconds before the crash and whether the brakes were activated at any time immediately before the collision (which could indicate whether the truck driver tried to avoid the collision.

The Assistance of an Attorney Can Prove Invaluable

 Because there does not appear to be any speed-regulation device that will prohibit trucks from exceeding a particular speed, the actual speed of a truck involved in a collision will remain an elusive and relevant inquiry. An experienced truck crash lawyer will have the knowledge and resources needed to obtain the control module from the truck and/or employ other means to determine the speed of the truck and whether the truck driver is liable for any injuries caused to others.

Michael R. Lawless is a dedicated and skilled Kansas truck crash attorney. He is available to assist you and/or your loved ones recover compensation in the aftermath of a truck crash. Attorney Michael R. Lawless will fight hard on your behalf so that you can focus on your health and your family. Contact Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless today by calling (800) 734-3771 and discussing the details of your injury accident with him.

Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Explains the Relevance of Traffic Violations in a Truck Crash Lawsuit

In Ohio, a recent five-car vehicle crash was determined to have been caused by a dump truck driver who was unable to brake in time after traffic in front of him on a major interstate had stopped. Further investigation into the cause of the crash – and into the dump truck driver who allegedly caused it – revealed that the dump truck driver had received multiple traffic citations. This underscores the need for truck accident victims to request and review the driving record of the at-fault driver in a truck collision. In some truck accident cases, this single document can prove to be quite powerful.

Holding the Employer Responsible for Your Injuries

Where the truck driver is employed by a business and the truck driver’s driving record shows that the driver has previous driving-related convictions, the driver’s employer may be able to be held responsible for your injury accident. This is because most employers are responsible for exercising care and control over their employees while their employees are “on the job.” In the case of a driver with a spotty driving record, the employer’s obligation may require the employer to insist on a period of “clean driving” before hiring the driver, that the driver attend remedial driving courses – or that the employer not hire the driver at all. Employers who fail to take reasonable steps like this to fulfill this obligation may be held liable for the negligent or careless conduct of their drivers.

Just because a driver has multiple traffic violations on his or her driving record does not mean that the driver’s employer is liable for your injuries, however. Your attorney will need to establish by sufficiently-convincing proof that: (1) the driver’s careless behavior occurred while the driver was “on the job”; and (2) the steps that the employer took to supervise or control the driver’s behavior were inadequate, given what the employer knew or should have known about the driver’s history. For example, suppose you are struck by a dump truck driver while the driver is on his way to deliver a load to a jobsite. An employer who knew this driver had multiple driving violations but who insisted that the driver complete a remedial driving course and drive with a supervisor before he was permitted to drive solo may have fulfilled its obligation to exercise due care (which can, in turn, limit the compensation to which you are entitled from the employer).

How To Use a Driving Record at Trial

 Driving records of at-fault drivers are useful in settlement negotiations, but using them effectively at trial requires a knowledge of the Kansas rules of evidence. Simply asking the allegedly at-fault driver about his previous driving-related convictions is not usually an effective way to alert the judge or jury to this driver’s history (after all, without the ability to enter the driving record into evidence, the driver can simply lie about the information on his or her driving record with impunity). This is where the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced Kansas truck accident lawyer can prove invaluable – ensuring important documentary evidence is admitted and considered by the court.

Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas truck accident lawyer committed to holding those who cause injury to others accountable for their actions. Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless takes the time to ensure no stone is left unturned when investigating truck injury accidents for his client. If the at-fault truck driver has a spotty driving record, Mr. Lawless will aggressively pursue both the driver and the driver’s employer for compensation, if appropriate. Contact his office today for assistance with your truck accident case by calling (800) 734-3771.