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Despite strict DUI laws, Maryland drunk driving crashes and fatalities continue to occur at a startling rate. Maryland’s Drunk Driving Reduction Act went into effect in 2016. Under the Act, anyone convicted of driving under the influence must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has a certain level of alcohol, based on a breath test. However, despite this, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation, in 2018 there still were about 7,000 crashes involving the driver’s use of alcohol or drugs in the state.

New information was uncovered in a recent DUI crash involving a 23-year-old commercial truck driver who killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire. According to a news report, the driver, who crossed a double-yellow line on a highway, was high on drugs and reportedly was reaching for a drink just before the crash took place. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a report that was obtained by the media. He had previously been arrested for drug-related and driving offenses in five other states. His license commercial license should have been suspended the month prior due to another drunk driving charge, according to the state motor vehicle department.

The report showed that the driver tested positive for a narcotic or amphetamine, which rendered him incapable of safely operating the truck. The report also indicates that the driver admitted to investigators to reaching for a drink before the crash. The crash revealed that the driver was first charged with drunk driving in 2013 in Massachusetts, and his license was suspended, but he was still able to obtain a commercial license. An investigation into the crash showed that in addition to the driver, over 1,600 Massachusetts drivers should have had their licenses revoked due to out-of-state infractions, but were not processed.

As a general rule, the law imposes a duty on all motorists to drive in a safe, reasonable, and law-abiding manner. When a motorist violates this duty, and injures someone as a result, the accident victim can often pursue a claim for compensation. Bus drivers are no exception, and when a student is injured in a Maryland school bus accident, parents may have a claim against the driver or their employer.

Bus drivers, however, are often employed by the school district, making them government employees. Because of this, Maryland school bus accident cases are often brought against the government, and implicate the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA). Unlike other states’ tort claims acts, the MTCA broadly waives government immunity, allowing injury victims to pursue a broad range of claims against government entities. However, claims under the MTCA are subject to strict procedural requirements and also to a damages cap. As of October 2015, recovery in an MTCA claim is limited to $400,000 per accident victim and a total of $800,000 per accident.

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a tragic bus accident that resulted in the student’s death. According to the court’s opinion, the bus driver stopped the bus across the street from the student’s home. The driver turned on the vehicle’s flashing lights, and lowered the “stop” arm and crossing gate. The student exited the bus as the bus driver told him, “see you tomorrow.”

Truck drivers spend almost their entire working lives behind the wheel. Naturally, truck drivers can get bored or fatigued on long trips. Too often, however, truck drivers who find themselves bored or tired engage in distracting behavior to stay awake, increasing the risk of causing a Maryland truck accident. For example, typical examples of distracting behavior are talking on the phone, texting friends or loved ones, watching television, playing games, or working on crossword puzzles.

When a truck driver causes an accident as a result of being distracted, anyone injured in the accident can pursue a claim for financial compensation against the driver through a Maryland truck accident lawsuit. To succeed in a truck accident lawsuit, an injury victim must be able to show that the trucker violated a duty of care that he owed to the plaintiff. They must also establish that the driver’s breach of this duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Earlier this month, a truck driver was arrested and charged with criminal vehicular homicide after he was involved in a truck accident that killed roadside construction worker. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the collision occurred back in October, 2018, when the semi-truck rammed into the back of a pick-up truck that was pulling a trailer. As a result of the crash, the trailer disconnected from the truck and collided with two construction workers. One of those men was killed, the other seriously injured.

Intoxicated driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents. Of course, many Maryland DUI accidents are the result of drivers drinking too much alcohol or taking illegal or recreational drugs before getting behind the wheel. However, many prescription drugs impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle as much as alcohol or street drugs.

Under the law, a driver who is intoxicated by prescription drugs can still be negligent and held responsible for an accident victim’s injuries. A recent case discusses a tragic bus accident in which an intoxicated driver killed a young boy.

According to the court’s opinion, a young boy rode his bike into the street without stopping, right into the path of a school bus. The school bus had just stopped, and was proceeding to go through the intersection when the driver heard and felt the bus hit something. The driver slammed on the brakes, exited the vehicle, and learned that she struck the young boy. The boy later died from his injuries,

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was passed in the early 1900s in response to the increasing number of railroad worker deaths. FELA allows for injured railroad workers who are not covered by workers’ compensation to sue their employers based on the employer’s negligence. Importantly, a FELA claim may entitle a claimant to compensation for pain and suffering, unlike a traditional Maryland personal injury lawsuit.

Unlike traditional workers’ compensation programs, FELA is not automatically applicable. In other words, an injured worker must present evidence that their employer was negligent. In addition, an employer may try to defeat a FELA claim by showing that the employee was covered under a traditional workers’ compensation plan. If an employer is successful in proving workers’ compensation coverage, that will generally be seen as the employee’s sole remedy against their employer. Thus, a common issue that arises in Maryland railroad accident cases brought under FELA is whether the injured employer is covered by a workers’ compensation program. A recent federal appellate opinion discusses a case involving such a dispute.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured while working for the defendant railway. Evidently, the plaintiff was working on a bridge when the walkway he was standing on gave way. The plaintiff was able to avoid falling into the river, but sustained serious injuries as a result. The plaintiff filed a FELA claim against his employer.

Bus drivers carry enormous responsibility in that they are trusted to safely transport dozens of people each time they get behind the wheel. Because of this weighty responsibility, bus drivers are classified as “commercial drivers” and must obtain a commercial driving license. And while the vast majority of bus drivers are well qualified and buses are usually relatively safe for passengers, Maryland bus accidents are not uncommon.

When it comes to determining potentially liable parties in a Maryland bus accident, the obvious place to start is with the driver. Bus drivers have a legal duty to safely operate the vehicle at all times. This duty extends not just to bus passengers, but also to other motorists on the road.

Most bus drivers work for a company, whether it be a coach business, tour company, or a government agency. In many cases, these organizations can also be liable for injuries caused by their bus drivers. Under a legal theory named vicarious liability, an injured motorist can seek to hold the employer of a negligent bus driver responsible for their injuries. The theory is premised on the idea that the employer should not be able to avoid liability when a negligent employee causes an accident while acting on behalf of his employer.

Earlier this month, a Maryland traffic accident involving a garbage truck sent two workers to the hospital. According to a recent news report, the collision occurred during a regular trash pick-up, when the driver of the truck moved over in an attempt to let oncoming traffic pass. At the time, two workers were holding onto the back of the truck, collecting trash in a residential neighborhood.

Evidently, as the truck moved to the side of the road, one of the truck’s tires slipped off the road, causing the truck to glance a utility pole. After the initial collision, the worker riding on the passenger side of the truck slammed into the pole. The other worker also fell from the truck. When police arrived, they found both men seriously injured. One worker was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital, and admitted with life-threatening injuries. The other worker was taken to the hospital by ambulance, and is expected to recover from their injuries.

Law enforcement believes that the cause of the accident was driver error because the truck failed to remain in its lane of travel. A police investigation is underway; however, speed is not believed to be a factor, and drugs or alcohol are not thought to be involved in the crash.

Truck drivers are trusted to operate some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. And while most tractor-trailer drivers take their job seriously and would not intentionally do anything to put themselves or other motorists at risk, there are some exceptions. Some semi-truck drivers place more importance in getting to their destination quickly than getting there safely.

There are many causes of truck accidents. However, distracted and drowsy driving are two causes that are disproportionately represented among all fatal Maryland truck accidents. Truck drivers are compensated by the mile, so the more mileage a driver can cover in a day, the more money they will make. As a result, some drivers ignore the signs of fatigue or try to delay tiredness from setting in by taking both legal and illegal substances.

While it is not against the law for a truck driver to have a legal substance such as caffeine in their system, it can contribute to the driver feeling jittery and may impact their judgment. In addition, when the effects of the caffeine wear off, the driver may experience a significant drop in their energy level, increasing the likelihood that they will doze off while behind the wheel.

Those who have been injured in a serious Maryland personal injury accident allegedly caused by a government employee can generally pursue a claim against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). While the federal government was originally immune from civil liability, the FTCA acts as a waiver of governmental immunity in certain situations. However, if an accident victim is unable to establish that their claim falls under the FTCA, then a court will likely dismiss the case on the grounds of immunity.

The Feres doctrine is an exception to the FTCA. The doctrine was essentially created by the United States Supreme Court in the case, Feres v. United States. Specifically, the doctrine holds that the United States cannot be held liable by military personnel who are injured while on active duty (and not on furlough) and are injured as a result of another military personnel’s negligence. The practical effect of the Feres doctrine is that those on active military duty cannot pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the United States if another service member’s negligence caused their injuries.

Application of the Feres doctrine can result in seemingly unfair results; however, before the government can rely on the doctrine, it must prove that each of the elements is met. A recent fatal traffic accident provides an example of a situation where the Feres doctrine may not be appropriate.

Among the hazards that motorists must address when driving on the highway are large trucks parked on the road’s shoulder. There are a number of legitimate reasons why a Maryland truck driver may pull their rig over. For instance, a truck driver may feel fatigue setting in and decide to pull over rather than risk driving while drowsy. While there is generally no traffic law prohibiting a motorist from pulling over to the road’s edge when necessary, a motorist must take care when parking their vehicle to avoid obstructing traffic and must pull off at an appropriate location.

In May 2019, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing a situation involving a motorist who was seriously injured after rear-ending a truck driver who had pulled over near a highway offramp. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was entering the highway when he crossed into the “gore area,” which is the triangular area between the highway and the ramp. Evidently, the plaintiff’s car rear-ended a parked semi-truck.

Apparently, the truck driver had been traveling on the highway when he noticed red warning lights on the dashboard. Shortly afterward, the engine lost power, and the truck driver pulled into the gore area. The truck driver immediately called his employer, and about five to eight minutes later, the plaintiff rear-ended the truck. The plaintiff suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the accident.

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