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Will electronic log books reduce the risk for trucking accidents?

Commercial vehicles get into serious collisions with passenger vehicles every day. Texas residents end up dying or suffering serious injuries after crashes with massive commercial trucks. Many different factors contribute to these collisions, including inclement weather, aggressive driving, speeding, intoxication and distraction. Another major factor is exhaustion. Commercial drivers may be at increased risk for exhaustion. They work long hours and may sleep in uncomfortable situations that don’t allow for optimal rest and relaxation. Strict deadlines and the need to make up time lost to weather or traffic conditions could lead commercial drivers to stay behind the wheel for longer than they should. When they choose to drive while tired, other people on the road may end up paying the price. New efforts to track driving times may help alleviate this issue. The federal government has long limited driving hours In order to keep the roads as safe as possible, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created limits for commercial drivers’ working times. For those carrying property, for example, a single shift can include a maximum of 11 hours of driving. Those hours must not go beyond the 14th hour after the driver came onto active duty after a 10-hour break. Drivers also can not exceed 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. In order to track those hours, commercial drivers maintain logs that detail when they drive and when they rest. Unfortunately, these books are easily manipulated or changed, making it a simple process for a driver to break the law. Company policies may even discreetly encourage this kind of rule-breaking. That issue, along with concerns about driver and public safety, have lead to the federal requirement for electronic log books. Electronic logs can help people show a pattern of issues There are many befits to the new electronic logging device (ELD) program that became federally mandatory as of April 1, 2018. The first and most obvious of these is the devices’ ability to record all movement, as well as speed, location and additional information about the vehicle. In the event of a crash, those records can help show if the trucker followed all laws and safety best practices. These records are more reliable than written logs, because a trucker cannot manually change the information contained within them or carry more than one log in a vehicle. These electronic records could help the victims of crashes caused by dangerous or exhausted commercial drivers. Electronic records could show that one driver has a habit of bending, stretching or breaking the Hours of Service rules. They could even show a company practice of overlooking such dangerous habits. As a driver of a passenger vehicle, you could very well benefit from the information an ELD gathers if you ever get into a crash caused by a commercial truck.

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Are you a safe driver? Make sure you’re following this advice

When a negligent vehicle driver causes a fatal or injurious accident in Texas, who do you think is going to be financially responsible? The negligent driver, of course, but it’s probably not going to be the driver him- or herself who actually pays out the cash to injured parties. It will more likely be the driver’s insurance company that has to pay this money. Because insurance companies tend to be on the hook financially for accident damages, auto insurance firms have spent a lot of time studying how car accidents happen and what can be done to avoid them. Avoid car accidents with these four tips The following advice was published by Nationwide Insurance. The insurer has identified four safe driving tips that it feels are the most important to help you avoid a crash. 1. Stay focused and attentive on driving: Never multitask while operating your vehicle. This means that you should put your electronic devices away and out of reach while you’re behind the wheel. Also, drive slower so you can benefit from the extra attention you’re giving the road, and you’ll have more time to react or stop in the event of a dangerous situation. 2. Be a defensive driver: Drivers who choose the “defensive” route rather than the “aggressive” route tend to avoid getting into crashes. Notice what other drivers are doing on the road around you and remember to expect the unexpected. In other words, be ready to react. Take the assumption that a vehicle will eventually do something crazy and unexpected and be alert to react at a moment’s notice. Keep at least two seconds of cushion between the vehicle in front of you and yourself. If you’re on a high-speed roadway, give drivers ahead even more room to breathe. 3. Plan ahead: Make sure you’re not rushed when you go for a long trip, so you can take breaks to rest, make phone calls, eat food and take care of other business. Don’t eat while you’re driving, plan ahead so you have the time needed to pull over and eat your food safely. Make any needed adjustments to your vehicle before you start driving and not while you’re driving. 4. Use your common safety sense: Secure items that could roll around in your car. Don’t try to reach around for something that’s fallen on the floor while your car is moving. Keep items like change for tolls and maps within easy reach so you can have quick access to them without taking your eyes off the road. Drive sober and always wear your seatbelt. Did you get hurt by an unsafe driver? If you follow the above four pieces of advice, you’ll avoid many common car accident scenarios. In the event that you get hurt in a car crash due to no fault of your own, however, a Waco, Texas, personal injury attorney can help you pursue financial claims in civil court against the negligent or unlawful party who was at fault for the crash.

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Take these steps first in a car accident claim

Until it happens to you, it’s not easy to know how you’ll respond after a car accident. Even if you think that you know exactly what you’d do, in the moments or days following an accident, you may have difficulty knowing how to navigate the process. Dealing with a car accident insurance claim is usually easier and more effective with the guidance of an experienced attorney to keep your rights and interests protected. However, there are many things you can do to avoid mistakes when dealing another driver, law enforcement or an insurance provider. First steps are important As soon as you can, you should call your insurance agent and inform them of the accident. But, before you contact your agent, you should look over your policy’s coverage and exclusions to make sure you understand them. The more documentation you have of the accident and any damage that resulted, the better. This includes pictures of the scene, and notes on any conversations with law enforcement and insurance representatives. The more detailed information you have about these conversations, the easier it generally is to contest some aspect of the accident later on. Keep your rights and privileges safe Although your insurer does offer coverage to keep you protected, they are not always acting in your best interests. In some cases, your insurer (or, more likely, the other driver’s insurer) may try to offer less coverage or compensation for injuries and damage than you deserve. In these cases, it is almost always best to consider enlisting the help of an experienced attorney to advocate for you and keep your rights protected. Unlike an insurer, which usually pays out as little as it can justify in any circumstance, an attorney truly works for you. Of course, protecting your rights and interests begins with you. After an accident, be mindful of avoiding making any statement of guilt to any other drivers or law enforcement. Often, remarks you make in passing can come back to haunt you, so when in doubt, be truthful but brief. Get the help you need to resolve the accident You may believe that you should handle your insurance claim on your own, in your spare time. However, this leaves you vulnerable to missing many benefits or accepting less than you deserve from an insurer. With proper guidance from an experienced attorney, you may obtain a much better settlement from your insurer than you might on your own.

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