Trucking Accidents

How Do I Know If My Car Has A Recall?

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How Do I Know If My Car Has A Recall?

There’s a handful of ways to know if your car has a recall. The first, and really the most important, way that you need to know, is you can look at a government website called safercar.gov and they will tell you clearly if there is a recall that applies to your vehicle. They’ll also tell you if it’s a safety related recall.

Most people buy used cars and most people don’t know that when you buy a used car, they can sell you the car without disclosing to you that a recall service hasn’t been performed.

Sometimes you’ll get recall notices in the mail, but don’t count on this. Don’t count on being able to receive all this information effectively through the mail because a manufacturer may or may not know about you. That’s especially true if you’ve bought a used car.

Last, and the most important thing people need to realize about recalls, is just because you don’t have a recall on your vehicle, doesn’t mean that it’s safe. If you are injured by something in your vehicle and you don’t see a recall posted online, that doesn’t mean what happened was right.

When you come to a firm like us and we take your case, the recalls that happen, happen as a result of the work of this firm. Make sure you know what is going on with your vehicle and make sure you know whether a recall has been performed or whether you need to go take care of one.

What should I do after a car accident injury?

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 What should I do after a car accident injury?

 

You first need to make sure that you get appropriate medical attention.

As soon as you’ve done that, you need to make sure that the vehicle is secured and is not destroyed. That’s especially true if your vehicle has been totaled for any reason because an insurance company will come along and sell it for scrap before you know what’s going on.

So, you need to notify the appropriate persons, whether it be the place to where your vehicle is towed or your insurance company, and tell them: “Secure my vehicle so that we can investigate it to make sure nothing is wrong.”

If you’ve received a catastrophic injury of any kind, even if you think it’s your fault, you need to contact a lawyer and you probably need to contact a product liability lawyer. People like us can evaluate whether your vehicle played any role in that accident or crash; people like us can evaluate did anyone else play a role in that accident or crash. And whether we’re simply giving you advice or whether we’re taking your case, after coming to lawyers like us who investigate these things, you’ll leave with clarity about what’s happened and what you should do next.

The Dangers of Slow-Moving Vehicles

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

The Dangers of Slow-Moving Vehicles

When there is a collision involving a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) usually the regular motorist is blamed for reasons such as driving too fast or not paying attention. But studies have shown that a normal driver does not have the human capabilities to avoid a collision when it comes to slow moving vehicles.

A slow-moving vehicle is a vehicle with a top speed of 25 miles-per-hour. The most common type of SMVs are farm vehicles. Although they are most commonly found in rural areas, they often need to use the same roads as urban traffic to access their fields. Due to the fact there is such a different speed between SMV and regular motorist, it can often make it very difficult for a driver to judge how fast they are moving. SMVs are often not equipped with proper lighting making it even harder for driver’s to see them on highways. At night, drivers will often see headlights and assume that the vehicle is driving at highway speeds because they cannot asses that it is a SMV.

According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System through NHTSA, there were 82 fatal crashes involving SMV in the United States in 2013. Due to the dangers associated with these vehicles, a SMV emblem was created to help warn motorist and give them plenty of time to avoid a collision after a study revealed that more than half of these of incidents involving SMV were rear-end collisions. The emblem is a fluorescent red-orange triangle with a retroreflective border that allows it to become visible with headlights.

In order to avoid these collisions, there are a few things that both drivers and operators of small moving vehicles can do:

Regular Motorist:

-Be patient. Do not pass a slow-moving vehicle unless they pull completely off the side of the road for you.

-Yield to wide vehicles, and only pass if there is a safe option.

-Pass SMVs with caution or wait until the operator has pulled off the road. Be mindful that vehicles behind you may try to pass as well. Do not speed up to pass unless you can see clearly ahead of you and the vehicle you are attempting to pass. If there are hills or curves that prevent you from seeing clearly, do not pass.

-Do not pass in designated “Do not pass zones.” You should also not pass within 100 feet of an intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge or elevated structure or tunnel.

-Do not assume that if a SMV veers to the right, it is allowing you to pass. Because of their large size, if the operator is making a left hand turn, they may swing out to the right.

SMV Operators:

-Georgia law requires you to place a slow-moving vehicle reflector on any machinery you have that travels 25 mph or slower. Have the triangle pointed up and clearly visible for other drivers.

-Mark the edges of your machinery with reflective tape and reflectors. Consider installing retrofit lighting to help with visibility.

-Have your vehicle lights on, except for your rear spotlights when traveling on the road. Rear spotlights can often be mistaken for headlights.

-Avoid driving on roads during rush hours or during bad weather. Do not drive in the dark, before sunrise, or after sunset.

-If you are traveling a long distance, consider using pilot cars with an orange flag out of the windows.

-Consider installing mirrors on your SMV to help you see other motorist around you better.

Tractor trailer collision deaths increase while restrictions for big rigs decrease

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Tractor trailer collision deaths increase while restrictions for big rigs decrease

Tractor trailer collision deaths have increased 17 percent since 2009 and injuries have increased by 28 percent.  Unfortunately, instead of enforcing regulations to prevent these accidents, Congress has pushed for looser restrictions on the trucking industry.

Just this past year, there were over ten deaths due to tractor trailers on Georgia roads, including five young college girls in their last week of clinical training. Although one would think that regulators would be pushing for tighter safety controls, many have proposed allowing significantly longer and heavier trucks, younger drivers and to raise the weight of big rigs. Behind these proposals are thousands of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions from the trucking industry. Supporters of the proposals say that that the changes would actually improve safety on the roads by cutting down the number of trucks on the road. Safety critics and families of those who have lost loved ones don’t see how the proposal claims are logical.

Some of changes the industry has specifically sought include, raising the top weight of trucks and cargo from 80,000 to 91,000, giving states the ability to lower the minimum age of 21 for interstate truck drivers (allowing drivers as young as 18-years-old to drive), eliminating the requirement that truckers spend two nights resting after long treks of driving, revising the 30-year-old minimum insurance requirements for trucks, and removing safety ratings from trucking websites (where they are now visible by the public). Although none of these proposals have been approved, there is a chance that the changes could be made easily through larger authorized bills.

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, trucking interest companies have spent over $19.6 million on campaign contributions to Congress since 2009. Even though there is no direct correlation with the lobbying versus increase in deaths, it does make one question if safety is the first priority.

There is certainly no reason to believe that the proposed changes will increase safety. With the rise and popularity of direct shipping and two day shipping through companies like Amazon, there is a growing need for big rigs. Adding more weight to vehicles will only increase the severity of the crashes and injuries. And in regards to lowering the minimum age – younger drivers are always inexperienced and are statistically proven to be involved in more fatal crashes. Unfortunately, safety advocates do not have the money to compete with the industry’s large lobbying funds. They have stories and facts, but as human greed has always proven, money is much more persuasive.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a tractor trailer collision, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

The Danger of Utility Trailers

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

The Danger of Utility Trailers

One minute you’re driving down the highway without a care, and the next minute you have a runaway trailer coming full speed at your vehicle.

It’s not something you expect every day, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are over 400 people killed and 20,000 people injured by runaway, loose, or improperly hitched trailers towed by passenger vehicles every year. There have been over 2,900 crashes involving these trailers in Georgia alone. The worst part is that there are hardly any safety standards or regulations for these trailers. Most of the time trailer owners don’t completely understand the proper and safe way to attach their trailers, and rental companies often do not fully explain to proper safety guidelines to renters.

There are three common ways that trailers become unhitched. The first way is due to using the wrong size trailer ball with the trailer coupler. There are three different sizes of balls. If you use a different size ball with a coupler than the trailer can easily come unhitched. Secondly, many owners fail to use two safety chains or the proper strength chains for the trailer ball. This can also cause the trailer to come undone. Thirdly, if a trailer hitch pin is not used to secure the trailer ball and coupler, then the trailer could come unhitched.

Georgia enacted a law in July, 2015 which requires Georgia drivers to use at least two safety chains to secure their vehicle to the trailer. Drivers are also required to have two taillights on the back of the trailer at a height between 20 and 60 inches. The taillights must give off a visible red light that can be seen from a distance of 500 feet from the trailer. Turn signals and side marker lights are required on trailers as well. If the trailer is over 3,000 pounds in Georgia, it must have a special permit and a separate braking system. If violated, the driver will receive a misdemeanor.

Although these seem like good standards, which they are, there are no standards for homemade trailers, or trailers less than 3,000 pounds. Smaller trailers can be registered and licensed for a $12.00 fee with no inspection. These smaller trailers are just as dangerous if not more, due to the lack of regulations, and they have cost many people their lives. If you own a trailer, be sure to take all the needed safety precautions to make sure that your trailer is visible and securely hitched to your vehicle. Hopefully, in the future, regulations and restrictions will be given for trailers under 3,000 pounds.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a trailer, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Tips for Safe Road Trips

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Tips for Safe Road Trips

The warm weather has probably got you itching for a road trip. Before you load up the car, make sure that you review our summer travel safety tips. There are a few things that need to be done up front, that will prevent you from breakdowns or worse an accident.

Regular maintenance is crucial for preventing breakdowns. If you are unsure of what condition your vehicle in, always schedule a preventive maintenance checkup before driving long distances.

Check for open recalls. In addition to scheduling a maintenance checkup, be sure to check online or with your mechanic to see if you have any open recalls on your vehicle. You can also search your vehicle’s VIN number online at https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/.

Check your tires’ air pressure and tread. Don’t forget your spare. Make sure that your tires have proper inflation pressure at least once a month. Always check your spare tire as well. You should always check and adjust inflation based on your vehicle, not based on the number on the tire. Underinflation is the leading cause of tire failure. Driving long distances with low tread can be dangerous. Check to see if the tread on your vehicle is low. Check out some of our tips on doing so here.

Look at belts and hoses. Inspect all belts and hoses for bulges, blisters, cracks or cuts in the rubber. Warm weather can speed up the deterioration of belts and hoses. Be sure to repair if necessary.

Check wiper blades for wear and tear. Just like belts and hoses, wiper blades can deteriorate quickly in the summer heat and after working hard all winter. Invest in new blades if you see wear and tear.

Keep your cooling system cool. Make sure that the radiator reservoir is full. If the coolant is clear, rusty or has particles in it, it should be flushed and refilled. If the coolant is sludgy or oily, you should have it taken to a mechanic immediately.

Don’t leave the other fluids out. Fluids can get low without warning. Check the oil, brake, transmission, power steering and windshield washer fluids for full reservoirs with no leaking.

Make sure the all the lights work properly. Double check that all headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, interior lights and trailer lights work properly. It is important to be able to see clearly and that other drivers can see you. Trailer light failure is a common cause of serious accidents. Do not leave your trailer light outs.

Keep it cool and check the AC. Not having air conditioning can seriously affect children, older adults and those with sensitivity to heat. Check the AC a few times before you leave for your trip to make sure it works with no problems.

Having your vehicles in proper functioning conditions can mean the difference between a fun road trip, and a road trip full of breakdowns or worse an accident. We hope you have safe travels this summer!

Please note: If you or someone you know has been injured due to a car accident, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Source: NHTSA

5 Nursing Students Killed in Tractor Trailer Crash

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Air Bag Defect Attorney - The Cooper Firm

5 Nursing Students Killed in Tractor Trailer Crash

Five nursing students from Georgia Southern University were tragically killed in a tractor trailer crash on their way to a Savannah Hospital last Wednesday. The girls had left early in the morning for their final clinical of the school year at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital. All of the girls were in the nursing program and juniors at Georgia Southern.

While on I-16, about 20 miles from Savannah, two tractor-trailers and five passenger vehicles were involved in an accident. Investigators have reported that a tractor-trailer ran into the back of on SUV, and then rolled over a small passenger car which burst into flames. The tractor-trailer came to a halt after hitting a tanker. The nursing students were driving in a Ford Escape and a Toyota Corolla. According to the police, four of the students died at the scene and three others were taken to Memorial Medical Center. At Memorial, the fifth student died.

One of the deaths included Emily Clark a twenty-year-old from Powder Springs, Georgia. Clark graduated From Harrison High School in 2012, where she was a cheerleader. Many classmates have shared how kind Emily was. Catherine “McKay” Pittman, a twenty-one-year old from Alpharetta also died in the accident. Pittman was the Georgia Southern chapter president of Alpha Delta Chi, a Christian sorority. “Today Heaven gained an angel,” the sorority posted on its Facebook page.

Georgia Southern’s President Brooks Keel shared on the university’s website, “The loss of any student, especially in a tragic way, is particularly painful. Losing five students in almost incomprehensible.”

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of these five young ladies as well as the two injured.

Source: AJC

Truck Safety Advocates Call NHTSA to Mandate Automatic Braking Systems

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Settlement - The Cooper Firm

Truck Safety Advocates Call NHTSA to Mandate Automatic Braking Systems

Truck safety advocates are requesting that automatic braking systems be mandatory for vehicles and buses with a gross vehicle weight at or exceeding 10,000 pounds. The four main interest groups pushing for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to mandate the safety system are Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety and Road Safe America. The safety addition would warn drivers to slow down in traffic and would apply the brakes if a driver fails to do so.

According to safety advocates, mandating the safety feature would save many lives and would prevent major highway accidents. Currently, only three percent of the three million tractor trailers on the road have a form of this technology. “Many hundreds of lives could be saved each year if trucks are equipped with automatic braking systems. NHTSA should move quickly to require this safety technology on all trucks,” Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety shared in a statement. More than 4,000 people are killed in trucking accidents every year, according to NHTSA. Automatic braking systems would prevent more than 2,500 of those crashes.

Safety systems should not be exclusive to luxury or expensive vehicles. NHTSA should require that these safety features be installed in all vehicles like seat belts and airbags.

Source: Fleet Owner

15-Passenger Van Safety

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Safety First - The Cooper Firm

15-Passenger Van Safety

As traveling picks up with the holidays quickly approaching, federal safety regulators are reminding families of the dangers and safety challenges that come with driving 15-passenger vans. These large vans can be great for transporting large groups of people, but they come with a high risk of rollover when they are fully loaded.

Here are a few safety tips for 15-passenger van:

  1. Never overload the vehicle. The van should never have more occupants than seat belts. A 15-passenger van is actually three times as more likely to have a rollover with ten or more passengers than a vehicle with only five occupants.
  2. Every passenger should be buckled for every trip, no matter what. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 80 percent of people killed in van rollovers were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.
  3. Have the vehicle checked for regular maintenance and checked before traveling long distances. Owners should ensure that the suspension and steering components are inspected and are replaced or repaired as necessary.
  4. Check the tire tread and age before driving. Tires that are six years or older should not be driven on, including spares. Drivers should check for proper inflation before every trip. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reported that inflated tires are a common cause of rollover crashes, especially in large 15-passenger vans.
  5. Make sure that the driver of the vehicle has proper training and experience driving large vehicles. They should also have proper license to operate the vehicle.

If you or someone you know was injured due to a rollover accident or in a 15-passenger vehicle, contact our attorneys today to protect your rights.

Surviving the Thanksgiving Drive

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Surviving the Thanksgiving Drive

Millions of people will be on the roads over the Thanksgiving holiday week. It is one of the busiest times of the year. As a result, there are more crashes on the road. In 2012 alone, 301 people were killed in traffic crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Unfortunately, 60 percent of those killed were not buckled up.

Studies have proven that if you wear your seat belt as a front-seat occupant your chances of a fatal injury go down by 45 percent. Therefore, it is vital to buckle up every trip. Whether you are driving across the country to visit family or just across town, buckle up every time you get in a vehicle.  In 2012, over 21,000 individuals were killed in traffic crashes in the United States and more than half of those killed were not wearing their seat belts. When you are not wearing your seat belt there is also a greater chance of being ejected from a vehicle during an accident and the odds of survival after being ejected are that you will not survive.

The numbers of deaths over the past few years have not improved and safety regulators are taking it seriously. In some states primary enforcement will be used to make sure occupants are wearing seat belts. Always use extra caution when driving over the holidays. Never drink and drive and always make sure the driver has had plenty of sleep before getting on the road. Buckle up in order to survive your Thanksgiving drive.

For more information, you can visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.


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