In a May 19 blog post, we informed readers that the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") was pushing employers with drivers of large commercial vehicles to install on-board devices that automatically record how much time a driver spends behind the wheel.
Concerned with reducing the number and severity of commercial truck accidents, and seeking to more closely regulate truckers generally, Congress enacted the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 to deregulate the trucking industry.
As this winter's historic blizzard continues to blanket the U.S. with snow, Authorities in many states are having a hard time keeping up with car and truck accidents on U.S. roadways. Local Ohio news reports detail that authorities were very busy recently trying to keep up with accidents on Interstate 75 in northwest Ohio, which was shut down as of yesterday in several spots. Ohio State Highway Patrol expressed that a truck accident left all lanes of southbound I-75 traffic to be blocked just south of Lima. Reports also detailed that another big accident closed a highway north of Lima overnight as well.
According to one legal news source, over 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Approximately 5,000 of these truck accidents result in fatalities and even more result in serious injury or property damage. Many of these truck accident cases rely on evidence obtained from the commercial rigs themselves such as driver log books, which is a written or electronic log of the driver's time driving and resting, and black boxes. Black Boxes, also known as "electronic control modules" or "event data recorders" are electronic devices equipped in trucks that gather data about trip history and driver input. Additionally, if a commercial truck is involved in an accident, data about the crash is also recorded by the vehicle's black box.
A truck accident lawsuit initiated by the families of 10 people that were killed after a tractor-trailer slammed into a line of stopped vehicles was recently settled for an estimated $62.7 million dollars. This settlement stems from a suit filed by the families of eight of the victims from 2009 in Cleveland County and was reached on Wednesday. An out-of-court settlement was reached earlier on behalf of the other two victims for undisclosed amounts.
Two truck accidents on the Ohio Turnpike last week were caused by drivers that fell asleep at the wheel while driving.