Recently in The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Category

February 13, 2012

Truck Accidents on the Rise Nationwide

Commercial truck accidents are on the rise and there has been an increase in the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks nationwide. In 2010, there was an increase in fatal commercial and large truck accidents. The increase was 8.7 percent when compared to 2009 statistics reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This percentage means that in 2010, 3,675 motorists were killed as a result of accidents involving commercial trucks and buses.

This is an alarming rate when one considers that in 2010 motor vehicle fatalities decreased from previous years. The information provided by the NHTSA is causing safety groups and trucking industries to analyze and study ways to prevent future accidents from happening. These groups are urging the Senate to pass the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011. This new bill would add several new safety regulations for truck and bus operators. It would require commercial drivers to use electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) in order to monitor their hours of service and reduce truck driver fatigue, it would increase the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) power to stop truck companies from re-opening once they have been closed down due to safety issues, and the new bill would also allow the alcohol and drug testing records of commercial operators to be disclosed to their employers. All the new regulations in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011 would decrease the number of commercial truck and bus accidents.

If you are a loved one has been involved in an motor vehicle accident involving a truck, contact our office immediately so we can advise you of your options and help you obtain compensation for your injuries and other losses.

April 5, 2011

4 Common Causes of Truck Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that almost 3,500 people were killed in the U.S. as a result of heavy trucks collisions, in 2009. Truck accidents are cause by various factors, but for of the most common causes of truck accidents are:

Driver Fatigue
Commercial truck drivers have deadlines to keep, and so they tend to drive for long periods of time and travel further than is safe. When a driver travels for long periods of time it becomes harder to pay sufficient attention to driving conditions and to respond properly to changing circumstances.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) came up with a set of regulations for commercial truck drivers to follow. The Hours-of Service (HOS) regulations states that after 10 consecutive hours off-duty, a truck driver may only drive a maximum of 11 hours, if carrying property. Also, the FMCSA limits the number of hours commercial truck drivers can drive in a seven or eight day period. New regulations, however, will be published by July 26, 2011, by the FMCSA.

Distractions
When drivers are distracted, the likelihood of an accident increases. Most drivers in the U.S. are not allowed to send text messages while driving, according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA). More than half of the United States has laws established forbidding texting while driving. The FMCSA, however, prohibits all commercial truck drivers from texting while behind the wheel.

Poor Road Conditions and Maintenance
When road conditions are bad, most drivers try and spend less time on the road. Truck drivers, however, have strong incentives to drive through all kinds of weather in order to arrive by their scheduled deadline.

Truck maintenance is also important. Properly maintained vehicles are safer to drive then those that have defects.

Other Drivers on the Road
Truck accidents are not always the result of the truck drivers fault; sometimes other drivers on the road contribute to truck accidents. Some vehicles try and go around trucks, or miscalculate when driving near or around trucks. You must remember that trucks have bigger blind spots than regular vehicles and therefore a driver must keep a proper distance between themselves and the truck.

January 19, 2011

Motorist Complaints on the Rise in 2010

As of December 14, 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that car complaints were four times higher than in recent years, with over 40,000 formal complaints being made, according to data from Edmunds.com, an auto research site. The majority of the complaints came from drivers of Toyota vehicles, as a result of the massive Toyota recall made in 2010. Toyota accounted for over 25% of the complaints filed in 2010.

The average complaints made in the auto industry were 47 for every 100,000 autos sold. In 2010, these numbers were much higher. Toyota was the auto company that received the most complaints. It had 87 complaints for every 100,000 cars sold. Nissan came in second with 62 complaints for every 100,000 autos sold and Volkswagen came in third with 58 complaints for every 100,000 autos sold. This was a huge increase from the 30 complaints per 100,000 cars sold average in 2009.

Toyota announced in 2010, that it would pay $32.4 million in penalties for their lack of informing safety regulators of their vehicles defects, which left millions of hazardous vehicles on the road. Clarence Ditlow, executive of the Center for Auto Safety stated, "People are now more aware that there is an agency called NHTSA and that you can complain to it. Complaints are a good thing." After a complaint is made, changes are made, and hazardous vehicles are taken off the roads and fixed. All of which are positive outcomes. For more information, visit the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov.

December 20, 2010

Speeding Tickets: Do They Follow You From State to State?

Q: Speeding Tickets: Do Speeding Tickets Affect Your Driver's License Status in another state?
A: Yes, and here is how:

There are three major databases that keep track of your driver's license information: the National Driver Register (NDR), the Driver License Compact (DLC) and the Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC).
The NDR was created by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2000. The organizations primary purpose is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. This includes both commercial drivers and regular drivers. The list keeps track of drivers who have had their licenses revoked, suspended or who have been convicted of serious traffic violations. The data is collected and submitted nationwide to the NDR and every states as well as the District of Columbia is obligated to check the NDR before issuing out a drivers license.

The DLC and NRVC are responsible for how your tickets actually follow you.

The NDR, DLC and NRVC are products of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). This organization is a non-profit organization and it is tax-exempted. The AAMVA develops programs in motor vehicle administration, law enforcement and highway safety. Though the organization forms policies for such things are laws against radar and laser detector use, it is up to each individual state to ratify and join any provision.

The DLC is responsible for making a violation in another state effective/equivalent to a violation in your home state. For example, if your license was suspended in Virginia and you currently live in Maryland, your license will also be suspended in Maryland and points will be issued to your driving record.

The NRVC works similarly than the DLC, except that it will not add points to your driving record. If we follow the example above and you get a ticket in Virginia and you live in Maryland and do not pay the ticket, Maryland will suspend your license until you handle the issue in Virginia, without adding any points to your driving record.

A new organization will be forming called the Driver License Agreement (DLA). Any state that becomes a member of the DLA will submit to its regulations. The DLA will require all member states to take action even if the home state doesn't have the same statute under which you were ticketed out of your home state. For example, if you are issued a careless driving citation in Virginia but your home state does not have such a violation, then your home state will look for the closest equivalent citation it could issue and assess points and penalties based on that. The AAMVA is working to make the DLA international. In the near future the DLA will include South America, Europe, Australia and Africa.

The DLA also requires that all member states make all information available to non-member states as well. Though the DLA is in its early stages, it is inevitable that all states within the US, Canada and Mexico will become members.