Looking at the Future of Autonomous Semi-Trucks
Big Rig Accident Lawyers Say Change Is on the Horizon Trucking is a huge business in the United States and around the world. Every year, America’s hardworking truckers collectively haul more than 10 billion tons of freight over North America’s roads and highways. Without them, USA’s economy would grind to a halt. But it looks like their days of glory are coming to an end. The arrival of self-driving autonomous trucks has put their profession at risk of becoming history. Even if they can survive the age of automation, things will not be the same anymore, as any big rig accident lawyers can tell you. The technology is already there It is a well-known fact that companies like Google and Tesla have been working hard to develop driverless cars. In fact, some prototypes have already hit the road with some success, making international news headlines. What most people don’t know is that a number of truck manufacturers are in the game, too. In fact, the technology is already there. German automotive company Daimler, the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles, is testing a self-driving truck in Germany and Nevada. Recently, a convoy of semi-autonomous trucks drove twelve hundred miles across the European continent. Mining giant Rio Tinto is already using 45 driverless trucks to move iron ores in its Australian mines. Driverless trucks are expected to hit the road soon Compared to driverless cars, which still need to win over skeptical buyers (it looks like it will take a long time for people to warm up the idea of robots driving them around), driverless autonomous semi-trucks have a much better chance of hitting America’s roads much sooner. Why? The reason is economics. Freight companies are always looking for ways to cut costs. It is estimated that the use of automated self-driving trucks will help the US freight transportation industry save $168 billion annually. That’s a huge amount of money going straight into the operators’ coffers, which makes these new breed of trucks all the more irresistible to them. Savings in costs will come not only from laying off workers (an estimated $70 billion), but also from fuel efficiency ($35 billion), increase in productivity ($27 billion) and decrease in accidents ($36 billion). Yes, self-driving autonomous semi-trucks consume less fuel, can drive at all hours, and are safer on the road than conventional human-driven trucks. The reason they aren’t already on the road So what’s preventing trucking companies from acquiring self-driving autonomous trucks and putting them on the road? First, the technology is still new. It will take a while before such trucks are fully tried and tested on America’s highways. The second, and more important, reason is legislation. Self-driving autonomous trucks will have a huge impact on the US economy. Currently, the trucking industry is the largest employer in 29 of USA’s 50 states. There are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the USA and an additional 5.2 million people who don’t drive trucks but provide support to the drivers, according to the American Truckers Association. The loss of such a huge number of jobs that can result from the wholesale adoption of autonomous trucks by the trucking companies can have catastrophic effects on the US economy and politics. There will likely be protests and violence across the nation. Therefore, it will take a while before regulations can be formulated to allow long-haul self-driving trucks on America’s highways. The future belongs to automated trucks Despite the obstacles and oppositions, there is little doubt among truck manufacturers and freight companies that the future belongs to automated self-driving trucks. So, the question is not if they will ever be allowed to operate on America’s highways, but whether humans will still be needed to operate them. Currently, the technology that makes it possible for automated trucks to work independently 100 percent of the time doesn’t exist, which means they will need some form of human control. So, there is hope yet for truck drivers. But their job will be different. Instead of driving, they will likely be handling more mundane things like paperwork, routing, and scheduling. If you would like to know about truck accident claims relating to self-driving automated semi-trucks, then contact big rig accident lawyers. They will explain to you all you need to know in detail. (#case-consultation-form-container)FREE 24/7 Consultation
What Is the Anti-Coercion Rule
Answers Provided by Our Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers The anti-coercion rule is a new federal rule that makes it illegal for commercial carriers, shippers, and brokers to pressure truck drivers to operate their vehicles beyond federal regulations. Effective from January 29, 2016, this rule is designed to make trucks safer and to protect truckers from threats of economic harm (loss of business or pay). A trucker who has been coerced can now file complaints for coercion with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Talk to truck accident lawyers to find out how you can file truck accident claims. Scott Darling, FMCSA Acting Administrator, said this about the anti-coercion rule: “Any time a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, freight-forwarder, or broker demands that a schedule be met, one that the driver says would be impossible without violating hours-of-service restrictions or other safety regulations, that is coercion. No commercial driver should ever feel compelled to bypass important federal safety regulations and potentially endanger the lives of all travelers on the road.” When does coercion occur? According to the anti-coercion rule, coercion occurs when a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or a transportation intermediary threatens to fire, suspend, withhold work, or punish a truck driver to coerce him to operate a vehicle in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), the Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs), and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs). Coercion may be deemed to have occurred even if the violation has not taken place. A truck driver can file a complaint for coercion with the FMCSA if the following has occurred: A motor carrier, shipper, receiver or transportation intermediary requests him to perform a task that would result in violation of the provisions of the FMCSRs, FMCCRs and HMRs, such as driving beyond the number of hours allowed by the hours-of-service rule. He declines to perform the task on the basis that complying with the request would result in him violating certain provisions of the FMCSRs, FMCCRs, and HMRs. The person who made the request then threatens him or takes action against him to force him to comply with his request. How to file a coercion complaint? A truck driver can file a coercion complain with the division office of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or with the National Consumer Complaint Database (NCCD). The complaint must be in writing and can be posted by mail. To be able to file a coercion complaint, the driver must have stated explicitly upon receiving the request that he or she cannot perform the requested task without violating the applicable regulations and that the coercing entity must have explicitly given threats or taken actions against him. However, it is not necessary for violation to have occurred. In order to ensure that this has happened, the complaint must be accompanied by supporting information as evidence of coercion, such as text messages or email exchanges between the driver and the coercing party, and the names of individuals who may have been a witness to the act of coercion. The complaint must be filed within 90 days of the day the alleged coercion happened. What are the penalties for coercion? The FMCSA has set a hefty fine for coercion. If a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or a transportation intermediary is found to have been guilty of coercing a truck driver to perform a task in violation of the FMCSRs, FMCCRs, and HMRs, then he or she may be fined a sum of up to $16,000. However, as of this date, there is no provision for coercion claim since the agency is not in a position to enforce claims. However, the FMCSA is planning to in conjunction work with the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration of the Department of Labor on coercion claim. This means that in the future, coerced truck drivers will be able to file claims for back wages and punitive damages. You can talk to truck accident lawyers to find out if and how this law can affect your truck accident claim. ? (#case-consultation-form-container)FREE 24/7 Consultation
The Dangers of Truck Tire Blowouts
Tire Blowouts Can Cause Major Big Rig Accidents As a nation that relies heavily on trucks, big rigs, 18-wheelers, and semi-trucks to transport inland freight, tire blowouts are common on America’s highways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire blowouts account for more than 12,000 truck accidents annually, many of them causing injuries and fatalities, not to mention property damage. If you are injured as result of a truck tire blowup, talk to experienced big rig accident attorneys immediately. Causes of tire blowouts On average, truck tires have a pressure of 75,000 lbs. weighing down on them at any given time. At the same time, they are forced to turn for hundreds of miles without stopping. The tremendous strain subjects the rubber to a lot of wear and tear, making it ripe for a blowout. When the air pressure inside the tire builds up, the tire can explode. Tire blowups can happen due the following reasons: Overinflated tires: When tires are overinflated, the heat from the hot sun, asphalt, and friction raises the temperature of the air inside them, causing the air to expand until the rubber stretches beyond its limit and gives way with an explosion. Underinflated tires: Underinflated tires are put under even more stress, transferring the weight of the load to their internal components and forcing them to flex past their limit. At the same time, the heat buildup inside the tires causes the rubber to crack and explode. Overloaded vehicles: Overloading is a common problem in the trucking industry. Overloading puts added pressure on tires that are already under tremendous pressure, causing even perfect tires to blowout. Wear and tear: Truck tires operate under tremendous pressure day in and day out. Quite often, they have to run cracked and pothole-filled roads. All these combine to put them through a lot of wear and tear over time. A worn out tire can easily blowout when the air pressure inside it builds up. Road hazards: Roads cannot be expected to be smooth and shiny everywhere. Truckers often have to face road hazards like cracked road surfaces and potholes, which can tear and damage the tires over time. Damaged tires can easily blow up under extra weight or heat. Consequences of tire blowups Tire blowouts are not like a flat tire. They can be extremely dangerous – to both the truck and to other vehicles near the truck. Not only can they cause the truck to become unstable and go out of control and collide into other vehicles, but flying fragments of exploded tires can also imperil the lives of the people in vehicles and pedestrians. The main consequences of a tire blowup are as follows: Truck driver may lose control: The force of the explosion along with the instability of the trailer when having to balance on the suddenly uneven tires may cause the truck driver to swerve and lose control and even tip over. The result, as you can imagine, can be catastrophic. Flying tire debris may hit other vehicles and pedestrians: When a tire blows out, the force of explosion rips the tire apart, sending large and small chunks of rubber flying in every direction. If there are other vehicles and pedestrians in the path of the flying debris, the result can be deadly. The cargo may become loose: The trailer may open and release the cargo all over the road, creating hazards for other vehicles. It may cause other drivers to panic: Truck tire blowups are usually very loud, which is enough to frighten many people. Seeing the truck go out of control after that may cause panic among other drivers and may cause them to swerve, brake, or speed up irrationally, further adding to the chaos. The only way to prevent tire blowups is proper maintenance. Trucking companies must maintain a regular maintenance schedule and ensure that their vehicles fulfill all safety requirements at all times. If you or a loved one is injured in a truck tire blowup, contact big rig accident attorneys immediately to find out how you can get compensated. (#case-consultation-form-container)FREE 24/7 Consultation
How Long Does a Truck Accident Settlement Take?
A Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer Can Help Quicken the Process There is no magic figure or number to answer this question. The time it will take to get a truck accident settlement depends on several variables and only an experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer will give you a more accurate estimate. In this article, we will look at some of the variables that a skilled lawyer will take into account to make an estimate. You should remember that this list of variables is not exhaustive and that every case is unique. This means that you are better off taking advice from a professional (an advocate) than from friends, insurance adjusters or any other party that might not have your best interests. Factors that determine how long your tractor trailer accident settlement will take: 1. How severe your injuries are: The more severe your injuries, the higher the compensation you will need and the more likely your case will go to court. If your attorney ends up filing a lawsuit, your case will take a while to settle. 2. Time taken to complete investigations: Unlike typical passenger car crashes, tractor trailer accidents take a little longer to solve. There could be many factors involved in tractor trailer accidents. The problem might have even been caused by lack of proper maintenance or a faulty truck component (perhaps the brakes). Such investigations will take longer to complete. And you will have to wait for the investigations to be completed so as to establish who exactly is or are the defendants you will be suing. 3. Negotiations: There are many variables that determine how long a case will take. They include: liability investigation findings; medical treatment costs and summary; and available insurance. The negotiations will be completed faster if liability is clearly determined. Still, the offer might be too low for you, which means your tractor trailer accident lawyer will have to go back to the negotiations table. 4. Lawsuit: If your lawyer and the defendant (the driver’s/ trucking company’s insurance firm) cannot agree on a figure during negotiations, your tractor trailer accident lawyer will file a lawsuit. Your claim will take even longer to settle if taken before a court of law. The good thing is that anything mentioned in court is binding unless the defendant appeals. Nobody wants that kind of negative press! The insurer will definitely settle. Important information You should know that there is a two-year statute of limitations in most states for accident and injury cases. This means you will lose your right to sue forever if you don’t file a lawsuit within the first 24 months from the time you were in the accident. Summary As you can see, there are so many factors that influence how fast or slow your accident claim will be settled. However, you do not need to worry about all these specifics if you hire a good tractor trailer accident lawyer. He or she will give you a more accurate estimate based on the specifics of your case. Contact us now and we will get our dedicated legal staff to work on your case. They will work with you to make sure you get the maximum possible settlement faster than you think. (#case-consultation-form-container)FREE 24/7 Consultation
How Much Is a Truck Accident Case Worth?
The Value of Your Truck Accident Claim Your truck accident case is worth at least the cost of all compensable damages suffered because of the accident. The amount itself will be determined by a number of factors that we will describe shortly. However, getting up to a million dollars or more is possible if you retain experienced truck accident attorneys. Variables that may determine the amount you will receive include: Severity of your injuries Wages lost or loss of earning capacity How good your truck accident attorney is If liability is clearly established The defendants in the case The amount of insurance they have The evidence gathered for your case At face value, it seems quite difficult to have a clear idea of how much a truck accident case is worth. At Wilshire Law Firm, we have experienced truck accident attorneys and other professionals who will give you a more accurate estimate based on your specific details. Call us now to get the assistance you need. An estimate Even though it is nearly impossible to know for sure how much you will get for your truck accident claim, you can reach an estimate through the evaluation of certain factors. The least amount of money you should get should be equal to the total damages you suffered as a result of the accident. Damages can be roughly categorized into two groups: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages You should be able to get compensated for medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, vehicle repair or replacement costs, money to pay for household services that you are no longer capable of performing, and other future economic losses. Non-economic damages These types of damages are less clearly defined. You may know them under their catch-all term of “pain and suffering.” Non-economic damages include emotional pain or anguish, loss of consortium, disfigurement or disability, loss of enjoyment of life, and more. What else do you need to know? It is clear that some of the things you cannot easily ascribe a money value to are some of the things that you should be compensated for. These include things such as pain and suffering or loss of companionship/ intimacy. The list given here is not even exhaustive. Many other factors need to be taken into account. That’s why there exists two methods that are used to arrive at the compensable amount for your injuries. The two most common methods here in California include the multiplier method and the daily rate method. The multiplier method takes the minimum figure for your damages and multiplies it by a figure (say one, two, three or five) based on the severity of your injuries to arrive at the final compensable amount. The daily rate method is computer aided and it incorporates most of the factors discussed in this article. Why you shouldn’t worry You should definitely not be worried about not being sufficiently compensated when you hire our firm. We have the people and the resources to get you what you need. A truck accident is traumatic enough, don’t hire a less than reliable truck accident attorneys that won’t get you what you need. You should also not worry about driving the truck driver into debt when you sue them. His insurance company or employers will most likely be the defendants if you decide to sue for damages. The defendant could even be a components manufacturer who made the truck’s brakes. In conclusion, contact award-winning truck accident attorneys like us to get proper estimates and the best representation for maximum compensation. (#case-consultation-form-container)FREE 24/7 Consultation