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Category Archives: Truck Accidents


high wind truck accidents

High Wind Truck Accidents

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers discuss high wind truck accidents. When high winds strike, the vehicles that are impacted the most are trucks. Their large size essentially transforms them into sails that catch the wind and can result in the truck being blown over or off the road. A truck accident caused by wind may cause catastrophic injuries to the occupants of nearby passenger vehicles and some accidents may be fatal.

Truck drivers are used to spending their days on the road in different weather conditions, but they have a responsibility to be aware of upcoming weather events that may present a danger to themselves and those around them. While they cannot control the weather, they can choose not to drive through dangerous conditions. Tractor trailers that are empty present a grave risk in high wind conditions as an empty trailer makes the truck much more susceptible to a rollover.

Causes of High Wind Truck Accidents

There are many factors that contribute to a high wind truck accident. Truck drivers and trucking companies are highly regulated and must meet strict federal and state safety standards that include the following:

  • Regular maintenance of equipment, such as brakes and tires, to prevent breakdowns under harsh weather conditions.
  • Proper loading of trailers to ensure the load is balanced and cannot shift under high wind conditions.
  • Compliance with speed limits because the size and weight of a truck requires increased stopping distances over that of a passenger vehicle. Speed must always be adjusted for the weather conditions and high winds may require the driver to pull over, however, many companies push their drivers to get to their destinations at any cost.
  • Hours of service, the number of hours a driver may work before taking a rest break, is strictly regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They must log their hours, which are kept on record by the trucking company. Drivers who do not comply with regulations are at risk for drowsy driving, leaving them less likely to recognize sudden weather changes.
  • Distracted driving, whether the driver is eating or using a cellphone, is highly dangerous.

Failure to comply with safety regulations can constitute negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation, but be aware that liability in a truck accident can be complicated. The driver, the owner of the truck, and the trucking company will attempt to shift blame away from themselves to avoid paying damages. Working with an experienced truck accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow, LLC Assist Victims of Truck Accidents

Holding a truck company liable for your injuries can be an uphill battle. Contact an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow, LLC who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve, so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Call us at 302-427-9500 to schedule a free consultation about your case or contact us online. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we assist injured victims throughout the state.

unsecured cargo

Delaware Highlights Concern for Unsecured Cargo

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on unsecured cargo.Motorists face road hazards from large trucks, and one of the major contributing factors to truck accidents is unsecured cargo. In recent years, the rate of motor vehicle accidents on Delaware roads that are caused by the loss or shifting of cargo has increased by 250 percent. This frightening statistic is one of the main reasons why the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware State Police, and AAA Mid-Atlantic recently teamed up to promote Secure Your Load Day. Originally a grass-roots movement, Secure Your Load is a yearly event that raises awareness for highway safety and focuses on trucks having secure loads while on the road. It is a national awareness campaign to reduce road debris and save lives.

If not secured properly, truck cargo can shift, become unattached from the truck, and fly off into the road. This can be highly dangerous and fatal for other drivers.  Delaware State Police Sergeant Richard Bratz said that “Unsecured loads and road debris crashes are preventable with just a few minutes of time. All items need to be securely fastened to the vehicle.” Bratz is also the State Police Public Information Director.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a federal government agency that regulates the operation of commercial motor vehicles, with the goal of reducing wrecks involving larger trucks and buses. The agency has rules that apply to cargo securement devices, acceleration and deceleration, tie downs, anchor points, and working load limits. There are additional restrictions for distinct types of cargo, such as logs, metal coils, pipe, and other items.

Road Debris Crashes and Causes

According to AAA, hazardous road debris led to over 200,000 accidents in four years. These include when another vehicle runs over road debris and crashes, contact with hazardous cargo, and being hit by items as they fall off a truck.

These incidences might be attributed to careless driving or negligence by the truck driver or the company they work for. Oftentimes, the drivers are tired or pressured to make delivery deadlines and do not take the time for proper safety measures or inspections. Others could be driving under the influence or traveling at unsafe speeds. Cargo securement devices must also be tested and inspected and replaced if not functioning correctly. Unsecured loads are illegal, with fines capping off at $5,000. However, there are only 16 states that include jail time as a possible sentence.

Preventing Road Debris Crashes

Secure Your Load Day is an excellent resource for educating truck drivers and trucking companies. Drivers who share the road can protect themselves by staying away from trucks that are carrying cargo. It is also smart to watch for unsafe driving behaviors such as swerving, speeding, or switching lanes quickly or without warning. These trucks should also be avoided and reported to highway police immediately.

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Victims of Unsecured Cargo Crashes

If you are the victim of an accident that involves a truck with unsecured cargo, our experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help with your case. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. With office locations in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients from the surrounding areas.

underride guards

Truck Underride Guards May Prevent Serious Injuries

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on truck underride accidents and how underride guards may help reduce serious injuries. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly half of fatal car accidents involving a truck and passenger vehicle are due to so-called “underride.” During an underride accident, a passenger car slides under the trailer, putting the occupants in considerable danger.

To prevent serious and fatal truck accidents, two United States senators introduced a bill at the end of last year that would require all trucks to be outfitted with side underride guards.

Underride guards are safety shields designed to cover the open space between the undercarriage of the tractor trailer and the road below, preventing smaller vehicles from sliding underneath. IIHS crash tests of one type of reinforced side guard proved it was strong enough to stop a car traveling 35 miles an hour from going under the truck during a collision.

During the IIHS underride guard tests, a midsize car struck the back of a 53-foot trailer. The recommended side underride guard bent, but stopped the car from sliding under.

When the test car struck the underside of the truck with the metal skirt currently installed on many trucks, the impact sheared off the top of the car completely. The metal shields used now on most trucks are designed to increase aerodynamics, not necessarily prevent underride collisions. In a real-life crash, had the car been occupied, the passengers would have likely sustained fatal injuries.

Tractor-trailers and Back Underride Guards

In the late 1960’s, actress Jayne Mansfield was killed when her car slid under a semi-trailer.  Despite calls for legislation to have all trucks fitted with rear-underride guards, also known as a Mansfield bar, the federal government did not require them until 1998.

Trucks currently are required to have metal rear guards, but they are not always strong enough to stop a car from sliding under. In 2001, the IIHS asked the government to improve rear underride guards, but not much has been done since.

Some big trucking lobbyists oppose any legislation, because of the added expense underride guards will cost owners and operators. They also say side underride guards have not been sufficiently tested and proven effective in the event of a crash.

Currently, three major U.S. cities require side underride guards on city-owned or operated trucks to save the lives of passengers in cars around them, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. Underride guards are required to be installed on trucks in Japan and multiple nations of the European Union.

Some studies estimate side guards can potentially reduce serious and fatal injuries in nearly 90% of car and truck crashes. Until they are required by law, drivers and pedestrians are still at risk of serious injury in a collision with a tractor-trailer.

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Hold Careless Drivers Accountable for Dangerous Underride Accidents

If you sustained serious injuries in a truck accident, contact the Delaware truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Our highly-experienced team of personal injury lawyers fights for compensation for your injuries for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are located in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington to serve residents throughout Delaware.

tractor trailer smyrna

Tractor-Trailer Crash in Smyrna Claims Woman’s Life

Tractor-Trailer Crash in Smyrna Claims Woman’s Life

In Smyrna, Delaware, a tractor-trailer crash occurred which claimed the life of a woman. Around 6 am, on Monday morning, the fatal truck accident took place when a tractor-trailer, which was trying to make a right turn from US 13 onto Brentford Road, struck a sedan on the left side. Upon impact from the tractor-trailer crash, the sedan, which was driven by a woman from Clayton, Delaware, slammed into a pole and then overturned. The woman succumbed to her fatal injuries at the scene of the accident while the 73-year-old tractor-trailer driver from Maryland incurred no personal injuries during the crash.

Accidents involving tractor-trailers usually bring about injuries or potential fatalities for passengers and drivers. Due to the size and girth of the truck, even experienced operators may find it challenging to maneuver the vehicle safely when turning or traveling down a road. Unfortunately, serious accidents may result from driver fatigue or truck drivers who may not be given enough training.

If you or your loved ones have been seriously injured in a truck accident, contact our Bear truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-834-8484 or contact us online to see how we can assist you. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Lewes, Georgetown, and Seaford as well as those in the communities of New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

tired workers

Tired Workers at Risk of Injury

Milford Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on drowsy driving and tired workers. Fatigue is a critical, but often overlooked factor in workplace safety. The effects of sleep deprivation are well known and cited frequently when it comes to issues like drowsy driving. The recommended amount of sleep for most Americans is seven to nine hours every night. Anyone getting less than that is at increased risk for an accident. Research has shown that driving on only four to five hours sleep is the same as driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08.

The National Safety Council (NSC) launched a fatigue initiative in 2016 aimed at documenting the extent of the problem of tired workers. Next up is the launch of a fatigue calculator that employers can use to gauge the fatigue levels of their employees and the resulting safety risks.

Sleep Disorders

In a survey of 2,000 workers by the NSC, 43 percent of them said they did not get enough sleep every day and 27 percent reported falling asleep at work within the past month. Another 16 percent admitted to having at least one near miss or safety incident due to fatigue. This presents a serious risk for workplace accidents – not only for the workers, but others as well. Fatigue is commonly a driving factor in transportation accidents, including truck accidents, train accidents, and bus accidents.

The NSC is pushing employers to offer sleep health programs to employees and have them screened for sleep disorders, 90 percent of which go untreated. Testing for sleep apnea and other conditions can reveal the source of fatigue for some workers and help them get treatment. Fatigue is often overlooked when it comes to workplace safety programs because it is hard to define the moment when it sets in.

Changing the Culture at Work

Pushing employers to get on the sleep bandwagon may prove difficult if the CEO is among those who see sleep deprivation as a badge of honor. For many years, high achieving executives have bragged about how little they sleep at night and considered it a factor for getting ahead in life. There is a school of thought that working late instead of sleeping will have a big pay off in the end.

But for those doing safety-critical jobs, fatigue is not an option. Lack of sleep impairs manual dexterity, impedes judgement, and reduces alertness. Some of the most devastating work accidents across the world, including the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, the Russian nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, and the Alaskan Exxon Valdez oil spill, were all fatigue-related.

Recognizing the Signs of Sleep Deficit

Another study about fatigue is being conducted at the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York, by the Illinois based American Society of Safety Engineers. The ongoing study is examining the worker’s perspective on fatigue and whether they recognize when they are tired at work. While not as obvious as other tangible safety hazards, fatigue is just as much of a risk. A worker may not recognize that they are tired, but if a manager does, they should intervene before the worker can put his or herself and other workers in a dangerous situation. Signs of sleep deficit may include irritability, an increase in mistakes at work, and increase in poor decision making, and sudden changes in appearance and/or hygiene.

Milford Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Those Injured in Work Accidents

At Rhoades & Morrow, we have been helping injured workers recover compensation since 1990. If you would like to speak to an experienced Milford Workers’ Compensation lawyer, call 302-422-6705 or contact us online. An initial consultation is always free, and you pay us nothing unless we secure compensation for you.

We have offices in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington and proudly serve clients throughout upstate and downstate Delaware, including those in Kent County, New Castle County, Sussex County, and those in the communities of Dover, Georgetown, Glasgow, Hockessin, Lewes, Middletown, and Newark.

Overturned Truck

Tractor-Trailer Crash and Fuel Spill in Smyrna Shuts Down Road

Tractor-Trailer Crash and Fuel Spill in Smyrna Shuts Down RoadOn Wednesday morning, a tractor-trailer crashed and spilled fuel on Route 1 between Smyrna and Middletown, Delaware. Around 8 am, a 55-year-old man from Dover, Delaware lost control of his van, and hit a tanker truck, which jackknifed, and then overturned. About 8,500 gallons of fuel spilled on both sides of the highway after the tractor-trailer crash, creating a dangerous hazmat situation that will require several days to clean up. The 56-year-old driver of the tanker truck, who is from Vineland, New Jersey, was transported to the Christiana Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

When a tractor-trailer engages in a collision with another vehicle, the damage could lead to personal injuries or potential fatalities for any parties involved. In some cases, if a truck of that size is carrying a hazardous substance, and is struck by a car or another mode of transportation, the results could set off a chain reaction of accidents that could become catastrophic, harming many individuals.

If you or your loved ones have been seriously injured in a truck accident, contact our Wilmington truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online to see how we can help you. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Lewes, Georgetown, and Seaford as well as those in the communities of New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

truck

Safety Barriers on Trucks

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers: Safety Barriers on TrucksCurrently, federal trucking regulations do not require side guards on commercial trucks, which, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), is a significant safety concern. The safety barriers would prevent vehicles from sliding under the side of trucks in the event of an accident. The lack of these important safety features is especially alarming given the IIHS’s review of federal data from 2015, which revealed that 20 percent of the 1,500 car passenger fatalities associated with tractor-trailer crashes occurred when the vehicle hit the side of the truck. Most trucks have aerodynamic side skirts that improve gas mileage, but do not assist in preventing side collisions and the consequent fatalities.

Federal law does require trucks to have rear underride guards designed to prevent truck underride accidents that occur when cars crash into the back of trucks and slide underneath. However, even with federal regulation, these rear guards are accomplishing little more than the nonregulated side guards. According to tests conducted by the IIHS, the rear-impact guards are failing even at relatively low speeds of around 35 miles per hour. By contrast, Canadian rear-barriers are 75 percent stronger than U.S. rear-barriers and when put to the same 35-mile-per-hour tests, the Canadian ones held up properly whereas the U.S. ones gave way.

The proposed new side guards for trucks would render the risk of serious injury relatively low. Safety experts are supportive of these new safety barriers because they would help save people from fatal injuries. The IIHS estimates that the side guards would cost approximately $3,000 to $4,500 per truck. Many truckers agree with the IIHS that if there is a relatively inexpensive mechanism that can save lives, it is an option worth considering.

Opponents to the Rule

The American Trucking Association does not agree that installing safety barriers on large trucks is the best solution. Instead, they say that preventing crashes through new technology is preferable. New technology, such as automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning systems, would help to prevent not only side-crashes and underride accidents, but all types of collisions between cars and trucks. A spokesperson for the trucking industry says that side guards amount to collision mitigation, which is not in line with the association’s primary safety goal of collision avoidance.

It is unclear whether the government will be mandating the implementation of side guards on trucks any time soon. Truckers released a highway safety message about sharing the roads with larger trucks. Their main piece of advice is to keep distance. Large trucks cannot stop as fast as cars and they have many blind spots. Understanding these limitations may help drivers to avoid potentially fatal crashes.

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Those Injured in Truck Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about state and federal regulations for the trucking industry and are experienced in representing victims of truck accidents.

We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, and we proudly represent clients throughout upstate and downstate Delaware. Complete our online form or call our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705, to schedule a free consultation today.

truck head on

Determining Liability in Truck Accidents

Milford Truck Accident Lawyers: Determining Liability in Truck AccidentsTo determine liability in a truck accident, the cause of the accident must first be established. Commercial truck accidents are most often caused by driver error and equipment problems, but there may also be many other contributing factors such as weather conditions, road design, or improperly loaded cargo. Depending on the circumstances of each case, the parties that may be held liable in truck accidents include truck drivers, trucking companies, freight companies, truck or equipment manufacturers, and truck repair shops.

Truck Drivers, Trucking Companies, and Freight Companies

Commercial truck drivers must adhere to the standards set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including Hours of Service (HOS) rules, vehicle inspections and weight limits. According to the FMCSA, driver error accounts for 88 percent of crashes, and drivers of commercial trucks are 10 times more likely to be the cause of a crash than other factors such as road conditions or vehicle performance.

Drowsy driving is the most common cause of driver error in trucking accidents despite federal regulations limiting the number of hours that truckers can drive in a day. Truck drivers also often fail to adequately monitor their blind spots; cars that are in a trucker’s “no-zone” are 60 percent more likely to be involved in an accident. Other common causes of truck accidents are speeding, improperly taking a curve, or inexperience.

Drug use is another factor that may contribute to driver error. Trucking companies are responsible for testing drivers for alcohol and drug use as a condition of employment, randomly and after an accident involving a fatality. According to an FMCSA study, 44 percent of truckers involved in accidents caused by driver error were taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Trucking companies may be held liable for accidents in which employees were not properly screened for drug use. In accidents involving improperly loaded or overloaded cargo, freight companies that organized the shipments may be held responsible.

Truck or Equipment Manufacturers and Repair Shops

Equipment problems account for a large percentage of trucking accidents. Equipment may fail because of a manufacturer’s defect or improper repair. The most common mechanical cause of truck accidents is failure to properly maintain equipment. Such negligence can result in worn out tires, defective steering, transmission failure, defective lighting, or improper trailer attachment. Commercial trucks are equipped with special parts and technology not found in passenger vehicles; therefore, there are more opportunities for problems to arise.

Investigation and Data Collection

Commercial trucks are often equipped with devices that record data that may be helpful in the wake of an accident. Investigators can analyze data from such high-tech equipment when attempting to determine liability. Also, certified truck inspectors are required by law to inspect the truck and trailer involved in the accident before they are removed from the scene. The inspector will then create and submit a report which may then be obtained from the appropriate government agency.

Milford Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Determine Liability in Truck Accidents

If you have been injured, or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in a truck accident, contact an experienced Milford truck accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Our knowledgeable, resourceful lawyers can help determine liability and hold negligent parties responsible. With offices conveniently located in Milford, Wilmington, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients in both upstate and downstate Delaware. Contact us online or call us at 302-422-6705 to schedule a free consultation. 

collision camera

Collision Preventing Cameras

Milford Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Injured Victims of Bus AccidentsSan Diego-based SmartDrive Systems is a driver safety and fuel management company that uses internal and external video systems to collect and analyze driver data to predict and improve performance and lower operating costs. At the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) meeting, SmartDrive announced a new camera system capable of using up to four cameras simultaneously to provide a 360-degree assessment enabling trucks and buses to avoid collision risks.

SmartDrive 360 is a quick analyzing tool. Information from the video system can be offloaded immediately after a collision or incident happens for review by an expert driving analyst. Within an hour, an alert can be sent out to users about the collision, allowing for improved safety. Fleets have been adding more cameras to their vehicles to capture information from side and rear incidents, which account for more than a third of collisions. CEO Steve Mitgang explains that “by capturing triggered video across these additional cameras, fleets can now gain immediate visibility to the highest risk, and most costly events, in and around their vehicles.”

Actions such as swerving, collision, or an attempt at a U-turn, trigger the cameras automatically. Drivers can also choose to start recording manually as the four cameras capture video from all angles, which is immediately sent by the SmartRecorder together with the in-cab and forward-facing videos for assessment. With this information, the company is expecting to be able to provide new insight into which maneuvers may be at fault for a collision.

Multiple cameras allow a trucking or transit company to be proactive when it comes to identifying risk. Besides reducing collision accidents and the resulting insurance claims, the vehicle cameras provide video proof of an accident, thereby shielding the driver from blame. At T.F. Boyle Transportation, safety manager Michael Lasko stated that their drivers have embraced the video-based safety program and the additional protection it affords them in collisions where they are not at fault.

SmartDrive video systems, together with the GPS, allow fleet owners to identify risky driving behaviors and correct them before they lead to collisions. The data analysis tool, SmartDrive SmartIQ, allows analyzation of driver performance by type and identification of safe driving patterns. Lasko says that the additional video footage from SmartDrive 360 provides a “deeper understanding of what happens on the road and which drivers need coaching to improve safety.”

Delivery trucks and transit buses that operate in heavily congested areas are often sideswiped. The expanded four-camera system allows for a better and more complete view, improving safety for such vehicles.

Milford Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Injured Victims of Bus Accidents

At Rhoades & Morrow, we use our years of experience to recover full and just compensation for our clients. If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident that were caused by someone else’s negligence, call us at 302-422-6705 to speak to one of our Milford truck accident lawyers. You can also contact us online to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation. Rhoades & Morrow has offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware to serve you.

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