What’s Driving the Increase in Truck Accident Fatalities?
Highway fatalities have become increasingly common in recent years, but deaths involving semi-trucks and other big trucks have become even more widespread. While death rates in all types of vehicles have gone up, trucking deaths have increased at a rate of almost three times the rate of other types of fatalities. More than 4,300 people died nationwide in 2016 from accidents involving big trucks. That figure is an increase of 28 percent since 2009. That’s the equivalent of two packed 737 aircraft crashing each month and killing all the passengers onboard. According to John Lannen, a representative of the Truck Safety Coalition, “If air carriers or railroads reported similar numbers, there would be national outrage.” The two main factors in this rise in fatalities are increasing speed limits and a lack of regulation. Let’s take a closer look. Increasing Speed Limits Higher speed limits mean more deaths. Higher speed limits on busier highways with big ... Continue Reading
Truck Accidents
Drive-Safe Act: A Look Under the Hood
Three senators introduced the DRIVE-Safe Act to Congress in August. The controversial bill, which would lower the age requirement for driving a big-rig across state lines to 18, is meant to combat a growing shortage of truckers in the American economy. Currently, 18-year-olds are allowed to drive big-rigs, but they may not cross state lines until the age of 21. The Trucker Shortage America has a major truck driver shortage. American shippers need another 51,000 drivers to meet the freight demands generated through major corporations like Amazon and Walmart. Many companies offer major signing bonuses for drivers. Supporters of the DRIVE-Safe Act say that the bill will bring in new drivers to meet the demand. They say many people who might want to become truckers after graduating high school get turned away because of their age, and then they never come back. The DRIVE-Safe Act is meant to give drivers a chance to get started ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Truck Accidents
Winter Months Most Dangerous for Truck Crashes
Truck accidents are some of the most dangerous accidents on the road. While the driver of a big rig is often protected from the effects of an accident, the typical 3,000-pound passenger vehicle is no match for an 18-wheeler weighing 80,000 pounds and traveling at highway speeds. Accidents involving big trucks are much more likely than other accidents to prove fatal. When they prove fatal, the driver of the truck is only very rarely the party killed. Truck crashes become more common during the winter months, and this article will give you a little more information about these facts. Increase in Dangerous Truck Crashes During Winter Over the last few years, the number of truck crashes in Indiana has generally peaked around the month of January, although the whole period from October to March has more truck crashes than the rest of the year. In 2014, for example, the Indiana State Police Automated Reporting Information ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Truck Accidents, Vehicle Accidents
Motorcyclists Using Cell Phones???
Indiana saw the nation’s steepest spike in motorcycle-related deaths between 2016 and 2017. Early indications appear to point toward another increase in deaths among motorcyclists in the state. According to Will Wingfield of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, “That’s something we don’t want to see.” Wingfield suggests that the increase in motorcycle deaths can be traced to an increase in the number of inexperienced drivers and an increase in drunk driving. But at least one industry insider believes distracted driving is another cause. Incredible as it may seem, motorcyclists text while driving. Texting While Motorcycling Some things you just have to see for yourself. A Montreal man was photographed using his cell phone while driving down the highway. Some motorcyclists really do go down the road at highway speeds with their eyes on their phones instead of the road. If that’s not enough for you, there’s even a rig available for people to mount their ... Continue Reading
Distracted Driving, Motorcycle Accidents
The Critical Problem of Vehicle Fatalities in Indiana’s Workplaces
We often think of our workplace in simple narratives: we sit behind a desk; we teach in a school; wear a hard hat and get dirty; or, maybe, cook with food. However, the reality is that our jobs usually include a variety of responsibilities. Consider the hospital-sponsored home health care service where the nurse is exposed to common hospital workplace risks, but also the risks associated with driving to and then helping care for someone in their home. Just like life, our jobs can be complicated. The most recent (2016 data) Indiana Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) report reflects this variety and the myriad causes of workplace fatalities. Perhaps you think that the construction worker’s life is most at risk. Or perhaps you believe the factory worker or the utility worker encounters the most hazards. You might be surprised to read the report’s findings. Transportation: The Most Deadly Work Activity The number of Hoosiers ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Worker Injury
Green Jobs: Are They as Hazardous as Traditional Jobs?
The renewable energy job sector is surging in Indiana—green jobs associated with such employment amount to 2.7 percent of our workforce. Indiana’s share of renewable energy jobs, 83,752, is the second highest of all the Midwest states. And, within our state, Indianapolis (Marion County) leads the pack. While we might imagine some green jobs to be safer, “nicer” jobs, the fact is that the workplace injuries and fatalities from such jobs are very much like those in more traditional industries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Indiana’s Green Jobs Profile “Clean energy” jobs span industries from the renewable energy field to auto manufacturing to HVAC installation. In our state, the four largest areas in which green jobs are found are: Energy efficiency (high-efficiency HVAC installation and retrofitting, lighting, and materials): 64.4 percent of green jobs Advanced transportation (hybrid and fully electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, and alternative fuels): 17.3 percent of green ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Worker Injury
Reduce Crash Fatalities in Indiana by 50 Percent?
Recently Indiana released their Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Highway Safety Plan, prepared by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). The Traffic Safety Division (TSD) of the ICJI is responsible for managing the federal funds that support the state programs focused on decreasing Indiana’s traffic injuries and deaths. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has a stated goal of cutting U.S. traffic fatalities in half from 2007 levels by 2027. The ICJI wants to achieve Indiana’s portion of this goal. They’ve announced their intent to decrease Indiana’s traffic deaths by around 20 per year, ending at 496 fatalities in 2027. 2018 is approximately the halfway point between 2007 and 2027, so we took a look at the ICJI’s FY 2018 Highway Safety Plan to assess Indiana’s progress toward its stated goal. Unfortunately, the mid-term grade shows that Indiana is failing. At the halfway point, you might expect the number of traffic deaths ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Vehicle Accidents
How About Some Good News?
October 15, 2018

How About Some Good News?

It’s not all bad news these days, despite how you might feel after regular exposure to the media. Our state police have received a high honor related to keeping us safe on interstates and Indiana state roads. The enforcement officers and civilian employees of the Indiana State Police’s (ISP) Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division were acclaimed best in the nation at making sure large trucks obey our laws and safety standards. Their oversight has prevented countless accidents, injuries, and deaths involving tractor-trailers, according to the 2018 study done by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). ATRI’s president, Rebecca Brewster, awarded Gov. Eric Holcomb and ISP officials a plaque in August, 2018, honoring Indiana’s status of No. 1 in the United States. Gov. Holcomb commented, “I’m proud to stand with these men and women who wake up each and every day and don’t know what’s coming at them, but they just knock it out of the ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Truck Accidents
Can Cell Phones Prevent Distracted Driving?
You probably had to read the title twice, right? While cell phones are often the primary cause of distracted driving, the increased attention and concern with regard to this problem is leading to some creative ways to address the role of mobile phones and distracted drivers. Technology companies, truck fleets, and Indiana police officers all have innovative ways to prevent distraction and help identify distracted drivers. Distraction affects a driver’s visual, manual, and cognitive abilities—often all three simultaneously. But help is here. The Right App Technology and automotive companies have been putting their minds together to help prevent distracted driving by creating apps for your smartphone. The proper smartphone app can actually thwart your efforts to engage in distracted driving by blocking your ability to do so. One such company is DistractFree, started by a group of Georgia Tech grads. The DistractFree app is paired with a token you place inside your car. Together, they ... Continue Reading
Distracted Driving, Vehicle Accidents
Indianapolis Road Construction: Are You Safer Now?
While we all appreciate the potholes being filled in before Old Man Winter arrives again, road construction and maintenance can make us groan with impatience. Some road repairs can lead to improved road safety, such as when guardrails are added, when engineering errors are corrected to create a safer roadway, or, yes, when fixing potholes. Other repairs with positive results include new traffic lights, new pedestrian safety features, improved traffic flow patterns, and road expansions that will decrease congestion. These projects can all be good investments toward improved road quality and safety. However, there is also reason for caution when new road construction projects get underway, because work zones can present unique hazards for drivers and for workers. Work Zone Crash and Fatality Numbers In the United States during 2015, 70 work zone crashes produced at least one injury every day, and the incidence of collisions is rising. The number of work zone crashes in ... Continue Reading
Vehicle Accidents, Worker Injury
Fall 2018 May Bring More Motorcyclist Deaths
If you ride a motorcycle, you most likely have a favorite season. For many riders, it’s the fall. Or, perhaps your motorcycle is your main means of transport, so you ride it year-round. A greater number of people are enjoying motorcycles these days: it’s estimated that more than 8 million motorcycles are regularly cruising our highways. However, enjoying the pleasures of biking comes with a downside—motorcycle deaths in Indiana have jumped higher, and they are likely to keep climbing. The shifting seasons can play a part in motorcycle fatalities. Colder weather, along with shorter days, means that you’ll need to adapt to seasonal differences in order to ride your motorcycle more safely. Unique Autumn Risks While the cooler weather for riding offers welcome relief from Indiana’s sultry summer, taking your bike on the road during the fall produces some hazards that don’t occur at other times of the year. Some of these risks include: Glare ... Continue Reading
Drunk Driving, Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury
A New Danger to Workers: Climate Change
Temperatures around the world have been rising for several years, and it looks as if 2018 may be considered one of the hottest summers on record. Extreme heat has already killed dozens of people in the U.S. this summer. For those who must earn their living by working outside in the heat, rising temperatures have placed them at risk. Several workers have already died during the summer of 2018 from dangerous heat conditions. Heat can also seriously injure workers who exert themselves for lengthy periods of time without breaks or adequate protection. If you have suffered an injury due to another’s negligence, you can be assured that our attorneys, Mike Stephenson and Brady Rife, are willing to go the distance for you and your family, because we believe justice matters. Call McNeely Stephenson today or use our online contact form. Heat-Related Illness and Death Approximately 15 million workers in the U.S. have jobs requiring that ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Worker Injury
Dangerous Hope Chests
September 3, 2018

Dangerous Hope Chests

Do you have a cedar chest, otherwise known as a “hope chest,” in your home? Perhaps you inherited it, or maybe you bought it secondhand. If you have children in your home, pay close attention to the following recall. They could be at great risk. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants everyone who has a cedar chest in their home to check and see whether it is a “Lane” or “Virginia Maid” brand chest. These chests manufactured between 1912 and 1987 have been recalled because, when the lid closes, it locks automatically. It is this flaw that has suffocated 14 children who have gotten trapped inside. A few cases stand out: During 2001 alone, three St. Louis, Missouri, kids suffocated together in a chest, and two brothers died inside a Springfield, Massachusetts, chest. In Unity, Wisconsin, three sisters suffocated in a chest (2002). In Somerset County, Pennsylvania, two brothers died inside a chest ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Product Injury
Can That Truck Stop?
August 27, 2018

Can That Truck Stop?

Large trucks are subject to many regulations and inspection processes to ensure that they are safe and roadworthy. But if a truck’s braking systems do not work, all the other regulations and inspections do not mean much. If a truck can’t stop, devastation and destruction of human life often follow. In a major study done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it was determined that, when a large truck crash was caused by a mechanical failure, it was the brakes that were responsible 29.4 percent of the time, making it the most common cause. The statistic encompasses any brake-related issue, including brakes that are out of adjustment and actual brake failure. In all, approximately 41,000 truck crashes were associated with faulty braking systems. The FMCSA also discovered that nearly one-third of large trucks tagged with pre-crash safety violations had braking system problems. Semis Need More Room Tractor-trailers can’t stop as quickly as cars ... Continue Reading
Personal Injury, Truck Accidents, Vehicle Accidents
Tailgating Trucks? They Might Be Platooning
The next time you see one tractor-trailer closely tailgating another, the situation could be normal—the new normal, that is. Something called “platooning” is becoming legal in a number of states as technology advances, making this sort of behavior not only legally acceptable, but also safe. What is Platooning? Wireless electronic communications combined with other technology allow two semis to follow each other at close distances—as close as 30 feet in some cases. The most critical piece of the system is the communication portion that tells the second truck to brake as soon as the first truck does, often within ten milliseconds, and with no driver intervention. In other words, the two trucks brake more or less simultaneously. But platooning does not involve self-driving trucks. Both trucks have drivers who are fully engaged in their vehicle’s operation. The driver in the rear truck cannot simply sit there and get bored. And, if you’re wondering about how ... Continue Reading
Truck Accidents, Vehicle Accidents