18-Wheeler Truck Accidents in New York - New York Injury Law Firm
Frequency and Location of Truck Accidents in New York
While New York State does not lead the country as the state with the highest incidence of truck accidents, the New York State Department of Transportation still reported over 11,000 truck accidents in 2010, adding that over 80% of those accidents were caused by human factors, such as driver distraction or fatigue.
In New York, Highway I-95 Southbound or the Bruckner / Cross Bronx Expressway, has long been known as one of the worst roads in the United States for various reasons. Long stretches of the expressway have no shoulder, the lighting along the roadway is poor, the bottlenecks are continuous, and the exit and entrance ramps are not equipped to allow adequate time for drivers to approach or descend. Adding to those conditions that make driving unsafe for all vehicles, much of the road is surrounded by concrete walls, making a monotonous drive for an already possibly agitated driver. While the expressway serves many to connect the George Washington Bridge with the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges, Highway I-195 remains one of New York's most controversial highway projects, and is known for its continual and heightened traffic problems.
Additional roadways in New York that cause particular danger to trucker and drivers include the Southern State Parkway, the Hempstead Turnpike, the Long Island Expressway, and Route 495. Repairs are slow on any expressway and popular roads and, with so many vehicles traveling these roads on a consistent basis, these stretches have worn down, created potholes and lack shoulders.
Many residents of New York may remember the tragic case of an accident involving seven family members who were killed when their minivan flipped over the guardrail at the meeting point of the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Bronx River Parkway. The stretch where the accident occurred was listed as being in the top 5 percent of roads with the highest rate of serious accidents.
New York Truck Accidents Causes and Hazardous Conditions:
While inadequate and unrepaired roadways can cause accidents for truckers and other drivers, motor vehicle and trucking accidents in New York happen for other reasons as well. Drivers face additional hazardous conditions in the form of disappearing lanes from poor lighting or faded lines, and extreme weather conditions. Those who are not used to the roadways of New York can encounter particularly dangerous conditions if they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Certain areas of New York are littered with congested streets, rush hour, and generally busy traffic—conditions that do nothing to help subside the impatience and road rage that some drivers experience.
In addition to the conditions listed above, trucking accidents are caused by many factors. A few of those are:
- Weather: Many seasoned residents are used to extreme weather conditions in New York and surrounding cities and towns, and can often force drivers to make adjustments to their routine or mode of transportation in order to tackle weather conditions. Truckers are subject to tight deadlines, and in order to meet those deadlines and receive compensation, drivers may not always take the time to complete a thorough safety inspection of their equipment. In severe weather conditions this poses a serious hazard for the driver of the rig and those around them.
- Hazardous Cargo: The New York government allows truckers to freely transport hazardous material on every New York roadway that is not located in New York City, including residential neighborhoods. Not only proving hazardous for the driver, but if an accident were to occur, the potential danger of the affected neighborhood could be disastrous.
- Driver Fatigue: This condition is being brought more to the forefront, not only as drivers of our every day vehicles, but with commercial truckers as well. The Motor Vehicle Department of New York notes that most accidents in New York in 2010 occurred during the hours of 6 a.m and 12 a.m., a time frame that does not seem unreasonable given that many truckers drive through the night to meet goals and demands, and could be come groggy or drowsy during the early morning hours.
- Blind Spots: The well-known blind spots on trucks include limited visibility in the right rear quarter, the left rear quarter and directly behind the truck. The massive size of the rig prohibits the driver from always seeing in those areas, creating a potential hazard particularly if he has to make a quick decision on the road in order to avoid something in the way. As a follower of a big-rig, or a driver who shares the road with these large vehicles, stay away from positioning your vehicle in those areas that are known blind spots.
- Intoxication: In New York, intoxication is defined by a blood alcohol level of .08 or more. But, for Commercial Drivers License holder, that level is reduced to .04. A CDL holder with a blood alcohol content of .04 will lose driving privileges for one year. This suspension takes effect at any time the driver may be arrested, whether or not he was driving a commercial vehicle. Likewise, Federal law prohibits drivers from reporting to duty at all if they have a .04 blood alcohol content.
- Medical Conditions: Commercial vehicle operators in New York may be required to obtain a Department of Transportation medical certificate that shows the driver is physically qualified to operate the vehicle. An online guide provided by the New York Department of Transportation allows one to determine whether or not a medical certificate is required.
- Vehicle Inspection: In New York, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for Inspection, Repair and Maintenance and Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicle is available for drivers to help them asses what needs to be inspected and maintained before, during and after a long-haul with a big-rig.
- Unqualified Roadways for 18-Wheelers: An online brochure published by the New York State Department of Transportation designates no commercial vehicles to be permitted on downstate New York parkways.
Despite the regulations that truckers must follow regarding driving, hauling, training, logging of hours, and drug testing, there are still a tremendous amount of accidents that occur in the State of New York. As in many states, New York traffic laws differ from traffic laws in other states, and the familiarity with those laws are essential when dealing with truckers and those who are in the area.
New York Truck Accident Prevention
Protecting yourself from a trucking accident might not be easy. Some tips for driving safely on the road when you encounter big rigs include the following:
- Do not cut in front of trucks. The weight and size of big-rigs does not permit them to break as quickly as passenger vehicles.
- Watch for blind spots on a truck, and taking special care to avoid traveling in those spots where the trucker might not see you.
- Subscribe to text alerts if you are driving on a major freeway or highway, particularly any of those listed as dangerous in New York and in any other state.
- Remain sensible and driving without recklessness.
Legal Help for New York Truck Accident Victims
Trucking accidents do not just end with the driver of the truck. Due to the size and often the speed of trucking and big rigs, multiple vehicles could find themselves involved in an accident. Trucking accidents never stop at just the victim or victims. Truck accidents generally involved many parties, whether or not those parties were involved in the actual accident itself. Third parties such as shipping companies, carriers, vehicle manufacturers, the drivers themselves, and the owners of the truck can all be viable defendants in a lawsuit in a trucking accident. A truck accident is often a long process that can deplete a person or family of their funds, emotional and physical resources. New York law firm Finz & Finz, a law firm who holds the record settlement for a truck-trailer case, which is the largest recorded settlement for personal injury truck accidents in the history of New York State, are experienced in helping you when you need it the most.
While investigation may include months of detailed subpoenas to obtain information and records needed, your case will be in qualified hands. If you, a family member or someone you know has suffered a serious injury or death from a trucking related accident, contact the Finz Firm now, toll free at (855) TOP FIRM or fill out the Free Truck Accident Case Evaluation Form to start the process.