It was just about a month ago that we discussed the case of a Tennessee man who allegedly stole a semitrailer truck and went on a wild ride that resulted in a number of collisions and a number of people being hospitalized.
There's a recent news item that doesn't seem to have gotten much attention in the bigger scheme of things, but it seems to be something that readers of this Tennessee law blog might find interesting. This particular truck accident seems to deserve highlighting if for no other reason than what it represents in terms of what is and what could have been.
One of the more bizarre stories of trucking accidents is making the rounds of the media. Readers of this blog may already be aware of the item about a 19-year-old Tennessee man who is alleged to have stolen a semitrailer truck and caused several injury-causing collisions. When eventually caught, police say he claimed he was trying to escape from zombies.
Fans of the local music scene are probably well aware of the accident earlier this month that left drummer Gregg Lohman hospitalized. He was luckier than other victims of a separate accident that happened about the same time in the same vicinity.
When a car and a tractor-trailer truck meet on Tennessee highways, the outcome is rarely a good one for the occupants of the car. Any smaller vehicle is bound to wind up on the short end of the stick in the event of truck accidents. That's among the many reasons why state and federal officials see fit to impose limits on how much weight trucks can carry. Anything they can do to minimize risk on the roads hopefully minimizes injuries and fatalities when accidents involving trucks do occur.
One of the modern marvels of the last 100 years has to be the development of our interstate highway system. There are some who argue that the inspiration for the system was the famed German autobahn system. True or not, no one would argue that the interstate system we now enjoy hasn't been a boon to Tennessee and the rest of the country.
We live in a 24-7 world. That is a fact that may be coming to be appreciated by more people these days, but it's probably still not something that is front of mind for most people. If you've ever been out driving on Tennessee's highways in the middle of the night, you might be surprised by the number of tractor-trailer and other big-rig trucks that are plying the roads.
Truckers who roll into Mercersburg, Pennsylvania know it's coming; the flashing lights, the police officer waving them over, and the bumper-to-bumper safety check that can take anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours. Mercersburg recently hired a retired state trooper who is also a certified federal truck safety inspector and for the last couple of months those inspections have been conducted with an unusual fervor. The problem is, the merchants and businesses in town hate it. They say the non-stop safety checks are inconveniencing their customers and generally getting in the way of getting things done.
The U.S. Transportation Secretary has announced that a new safety regulation will be going into effect for interstate truck and bus drivers. Anyone who has been the driver or a passenger in a long car trip knows how taxing the experience can be, and now the health of those who make these long trips frequently for work is being investigated. The new rule will require that the medical professionals who perform the examinations on these drivers must be properly trained in caring for these drivers. Completion of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's certification process will be mandatory by May 21, 2014.
In the trucking industry they are known as "chameleons," carriers who suddenly disappear when trouble strikes, only to reappear soon after with a new name and address but under the same management. More than 1,000 trucking companies in the U.S. exhibit chameleon-like qualities, according to Congressional investigators. Tragically, these companies often operate unsafe rigs with fatal results.