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Truck Accidents: Jackknifing Is A Major Concern As The Weather Turns And Roads Get Wetter

Thursday, December 29, 2016

With winter weather coming, you can expect the highways to get slicker and harder to navigate. You can also expect to see something else: more jackknifed 18-wheelers leaving injured people in their wake. Learn more about why this specific problem happens and what you should do if you become a victim of someone's carelessness.

What are the dangers of a jackknifed truck?

When an articulated vehicle has a cab attached to a trailer in the back by a jointed hitch, a driver that loses control of the truck can end up with the trailer folded up at a right angle from the cab, like a partially open jackknife. This can end up causing chain reaction accidents among vehicles anywhere in the truck's wake. The truck can even force smaller vehicles off the road or smash into other vehicles in its path.

What causes a truck to jackknife?

Most of the time, jackknifing is caused by nothing more than wet roads and driver error. A driver who isn't prepared to hit a slick spot on the road will put the brakes down on the drive axles too hard and too fast. The drive wheels will lock, stopping the cab, while the back end of the truck continues rolling forward.

A careful driver can prevent jackknifing by staying conscious of the weather as he or she moves through different areas and watching the road ahead. He or she can also prevent the problem through basic safety measures:

  • not tailgating and generally maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, especially in wet or snowy weather
  • breaking slowly and carefully to avoid locking the drive axles 
  • slowing down in advance of turns, bends, ramps, and curves in the road, all of which require careful deceleration of the vehicle 

In addition, an experienced driver who realizes that his or her vehicle is swinging out of control should know to aim for the burn of the road, away from other vehicles, in order to minimize the potential injuries to others.

Why should you consider talking to an attorney?

Inexperienced drivers and negligence are the primary causes of jackknifing, which means that the truck driver and trucking company failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of others on the road. Other causes can include mechanical failure, which may indicate that the trucking company hasn't been properly caring for its vehicles, and loads that are improperly packed, which shift suddenly or provide too little traction on the back half of the truck.

If you're injured due to a truck that jackknifed, you may be suffering from serious injuries that can take a long time to heal or alter your life forever. In order to receive fair compensation, talk to an attorney who is familiar with the complexities of truck accidents and their causes. You may have to press a lawsuit against more than one person or company in order to be fairly compensated in the end.

Injury Toll Linked to Takata Airbags Increases

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New updated statistics released by Japanese auto parts company Takata show that the number of injuries now linked to the company’s defective airbags, is now at 105. Additionally, six deaths are confirmed linked to the defective airbags.

One thing is clear-the investigation into the defective Takata airbags is ongoing, and as the investigation progresses, we are more likely to come across even more reports of injuries linked to the defective airbags. Already, more than 20 million cars have been recalled for injury risks to customers from the malfunctioning airbags. Those injury risks involve pieces of debris flying out from airbags that can inflate with ferocious force. The fragments or debris can fly in to the faces of the occupants, posing a serious risk of catastrophic injury.

There is a serious risk of eye injuries, or even vision loss. Additionally, occupants may be at risk of puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, and all types of other injuries. The excessive force can cause trauma, eye injury, head injuries and neck injuries. These airbags are meant to save lives. However, when these malfunctioning airbag inflators, they can either kill the occupant, or leave him with severe injuries or disability.

What makes the problem even worse is that even after the recalls were announced, Takata has been very slow to repair the recalled car. It plans to replace the airbag inflators in these cars. However, it has admitted that it has been having a problem manufacturing enough numbers of airbag inflators to fix the recalled malfunctioning vehicles. Takata has announced that it will soon significantly increase production of replacement airbags. The federal administration has also been very critical about the company’s slowness in announcing the recall, and also its tardiness in providing the information that the federal administration needs in order to complete the investigation.

If you were injured in an accident that you believe was caused by a defective airbag, talk immediately with an injury lawyer in Burbank to explore your legal options.

NHTSA Fines Takata for Failure to Cooperate with Investigation

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken Japanese auto parts supplier Takata to task for its failure to cooperate with an investigation by the federal agency into the company’s defective airbags.

The administration has announced that it's imposing fines of approximately $14,000 a day on the Japanese company. The $14,000 fine includes fines of $7,000 per day for violating two separate orders from the federal agency. Takata denies that it has failed to cooperate with the agency's investigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now demanding that executives at the company appear in person to answer interrogations at the agency, instead of submitting written replies in writing, as they have been doing thus far. The agency will also conduct inspections at the US headquarters of the Japanese company as well as its testing facility in Michigan. Takata is also being required to provide the parts that are currently under investigation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for testing.

The defective airbags are linked to at least six fatalities, and several injuries in accidents. However, the Japanese company continues to refuse to announce nationwide recalls of the airbags. The problem lies with a defect that causes the airbags to deploy inadvertently, causing a serious risk of injuries to occupants. The defective airbags are also susceptible to excessive force on deployment, causing injuries, to occupants. Occupants are at risk of having shards of shrapnel shooting into their faces from the deploying airbags.

At least 10 automakers in the United States alone have announced recalls of vehicles that come with the defective airbag.

Airbag manufacturers and other parties may be liable in an injury claim involving defective airbags. If you have suffered injuries because of a malfunctioning airbag, speak to a Burbank personal injury lawyer about filing a claim for compensation.

Obama's Budget Triples Funding for Defect Investigation at NHTSA

Sunday, January 04, 2015

For years now, the federal administration has lacked the resources necessary to investigate auto defects, and act in a timely manner to protect motorists from malfunctioning vehicles. However, in the future, the budget for defect investigation and other related activities at the agency is likely to be much higher. President Obama recently proposed in his budget increased funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s defects division.

The budget proposal is included for the fiscal year 2016, and would increase funding by nearly 3 times for the division that is responsible for investigating motor vehicle defects. That budget has remained consistently flat for close to 10 years. Under the Obama administration's proposal, $31.3 million would be allocated to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defect Investigations. That would be an increase from the $1.1 million allocated to the Office of Defects Investigation during the current fiscal year. That makes a significant increase in the resources that are now available to the division.

If the proposal does go ahead, and the budget is tripled, that would increase the number of employees at the agency from 51 to 108 employees. The division would be able to hire more numbers of engineers, investigators, technicians, and other experts necessary to detect and analyze motor vehicle defects.

The move comes on the heels of a number of auto safety problems that have emerged recently. Millions of cars have been recalled last year alone for serious problems that increase motorist accident risks. Primary among these were the recalls of Takata airbags affecting millions of vehicles. Those defects have been linked to at least five fatalities.

In many of these cases, it has emerged that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was unable to identify these defects in time. The main reason for such failures was shortage of resources. Those problems will, hopefully, soon end with the expanded budget.

If you have suffered injuries in an accident caused by an auto defect, speak to a product liability attorney in Burbank.

NHTSA: Drop in Traffic Accident Fatalities in 2013

Friday, December 26, 2014

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2013. The data clearly indicates a significant decrease of 3.1% in the number of people killed in traffic accidents in 2013, compared to the previous year. Since 2004, there has been an almost 25% drop in the number of people killed in accidents across the country.

There was also a drop in the number of people injured in accidents. Those numbers dropped by 2.1% in 2013, compared to the previous year. Overall, 32,790 people died in traffic accidents in 2013. 34 states recorded a drop in traffic accident fatalities, and the highest decreases were reported by Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Arkansas.

There was also a drop of 2.5% in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car accidents in 2013. However, in 2013, drunk driving accidents were still responsible for more than 10,000 fatalities.

Sadly however, California did not mirror that nationwide trend. In this state, there was actually an increase in traffic accident fatalities in 2013, compared to the previous year. Last year, California reported 3,000 traffic accident fatalities, compared to 2,966 the previous year. That is an increase of 34 fatalities.

Out of those 3,000 fatalities, 857 involved drunk driving accidents. That was an increase from the number of drunk driving accident fatalities recorded in 2012. In California, drunk driving accident fatalities accounted for approximately 29% of the total number of accident fatalities.

The upward trend in drunk driving accident fatalities in California is of great concern to any San Jose car accident lawyer. California transportation authorities need to increase implementation of sobriety checkpoints, and focus on stringent anti-drunk driving measures to help prevent these fatalities.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.