Justia Lawyer Rating
Maryland Association for Justice
American Association for Justice
Top One
Super Lawyers
Top 100 Trial Lawyers

When driving next to a semi-truck, it may be common to feel nervous – to grip the wheel tighter, speed up, slow down, or change lanes to avoid being directly next to the truck. This may be for good reason, because of the very large size of the vehicles for one. In addition, the semi-trucks we see every day on the road also may be transporting hazardous materials.

The Hazardous Material Transportation Act of 1975 empowered the Secretary of Transportation to designate hazardous materials as “any particular quantity of form” of a material that “may pose an unreasonable risk to health and safety or property” (https://www.osha.gov/trucking-industry/transporting-hazardous-materials). Additionally, the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act of 1990 requires the Secretary of Transportation to regulate the safe transport of hazardous materials in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce. All drivers who are transporting hazardous materials are required to undergo training and follow protocols while transporting these materials to ensure safety. Although these protocols and regulations are in place, accidents may still occur and can have devasting impacts. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has also identified different hazardous materials, requiring that a vehicle transporting such materials display a clearly visible card around the trailer to ensure that other drivers on the road are aware.

A recent report revealed the dangers. According to the news report, two people died after a fatal crash on US-12 in Berrien County, Michigan. The driver of a liquid-propane hauler was traveling eastbound when the driver crossed the median and struck a gasoline hauler head-on. Although some liquid propane leaked from the truck, it was quickly contained. The driver of the liquid-propane hauler was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the gasoline hauler was transported to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries. Initial investigations revealed that both drivers appeared to be wearing seatbelts, although the cause of the accident is still being investigated.

Hazardous materials, when spilled due to truck accidents, can cause major damage, health risks, clean-up and time. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration developed a report titled “Traffic incident management in Hazardous Materials Spills in Incident Clearance”, the report indicates that clean-up of hazardous spills can be a major source of delay in clearing traffic incidents, and is typically expensive. The report categorizes spills into different areas: vehicular fluids, hazardous material cargoes, or a combination of both. Vehicular fluid spills involve materials that are used in a vehicle’s operations, such as fuel, radiator cooler, transmission fluid, brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and battery acid. A hazardous materials cargo spill is a release of a substance or material capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, or property when transported for commercial purposes.

According to a recent news report, a tractor-trailer crashed across both sides of Interstate 95 in Baltimore County, Maryland. The accident involved six vehicles in total. The driver of the tractor-trailer and one of the other vehicles were taken to a local hospital for treatment of their injuries. The tractor-trailer overturned, which resulted in saddle tanks leaking fuel. A hazmat team was called to the scene.

Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials

Cement trucks, or concrete mixer trucks, are large trucks that road users must share the road with on a daily basis. A recent news report revealed that a driver died in Salt Lake County after a cement truck slammed into his case. The crash occurred at an intersection and occurred when the cement truck went through a red light at the intersection, plowing into a car that was turning. The driver of the car, unfortunately, died at the scene of the accident. An investigation into the crash is still being conducted.

Concrete mixer trucks on average, are said to weigh ten times the amount of a loaded pickup truck. According to Cement Truck Safety, the average empty truck weighs 27,000 pounds, but when filled with wet concrete this increases to an average of 66,000 pounds. These trucks can be especially dangerous, and because these cement trucks are commonly seen on busy, city roads, it can lead to especially risky conditions for all road users sharing the road with them. Cement trucks also are prone to rollovers due to the fact that these trucks carry a lot of their weight in the mixing drum. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines truck rollovers as an overturn of a large commercial vehicle, and attributes over 78 percent of rollovers involving driver error. Sharp turns, for example, can lead trucks with heavy loads to rollover.

Drivers of cement trucks should be especially sure to avoid distracted driving, to be mindful of maintaining a safe and slow speed when making turns and give themselves ample time to get to a delivery point in order to avoid feeling the need to speed.

On a typical road or highway, vehicles of all varying sizes can be seen traveling throughout. Drivers share the road with smaller sedans, medium-sized sedans, larger sedans, trucks ranging in size and type, bicyclists, and pedestrians. A common type of truck seen on the road, a semi-trailer truck, includes a combination of a tractor unit and at least one semi-trailer to carry freight. Semi-trucks can range in size, but the standard dimensions are 48 to 53 feet in length, 8.5 feet in height, and 13.5 feet in height. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2020, truck tractors pulling a single semi-trailer accounted for 53 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2020, while tractors pulling two trailers made up 3 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes.

According to a recent news report from Michigan, a collision involving a semi-truck resulted in the death of one man. A semi-truck was hauling large stones and heading east when the driver failed to stop at an intersection, hitting a car headed south. The man driving the car was pronounced dead at the scene, and the semi-truck driver was taken to a local hospital for injuries. An investigation into the accident is still ongoing.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents?

Although accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, there are three critical events according to the large truck crash causation study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2007. The first critical event assigned to large trucks is running out of the travel lane, either into another lane or off the road. The second critical event assigned to large trucks is vehicle loss of control due to traveling too fast for conditions, cargo shift, vehicle systems failure, poor road conditions, or other reasons. The last critical event is colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane. Drivers of large trucks especially should take care to avoid any distractions while driving, should ensure that they pack cargo properly and safely, and take care to nsure that they remain alert during trips, and adhere to road rules, including speed.

A woman died earlier this month after her vehicle was struck by a semi-truck while she was traveling along a Georgia highway. According to a local news report discussing the accident, the 43-year-old woman was killed when her Hyundai Sonata was hit by a semi-truck as she attempted to make a left-hand turn at an intersection. The article notes that the intersection was controlled by a traffic signal device and that the semi-truck appeared to have the right of way when the accident occurred.

Although semi-trucks and other large commercial or industrial vehicles can be especially dangerous to other drivers involved. When drivers are using roads with heavy semi-truck traffic, they should be extra vigilant to ensure their safety and prevent an accident. If another driver is injured or killed when failing to yield the right-of-way to a semi-truck, that driver or their family may face difficulties in obtaining compensation for any damages incurred in the crash.

Police and media reports made after an accident may appear to tell the entire story of an accident, however, the fault as allocated by a police officer, or stated in a news report, is not a final determination. It is not uncommon in Maryland for a personal injury case to be resolved with findings that are not consistent with initial police or media reports. Because of this, anyone involved in a Maryland, DC, or Virginia semi-truck accident should seek legal counsel to perform a full investigation of the crash and determine if the police reports were accurate.

When a motor vehicle accident occurs, it is common for those involved, including drivers, passengers, and witnesses, to exchange information for any insurance claims and legal claims. However, in the case of hit-and-run accidents, a driver who flees may face both civil and criminal liability. In the state of Maryland, under the Maryland Transportation Code, there are penalties that perpetrators face for leaving the scene of an accident that causes serious bodily injury. If someone leaves the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury, this is a punishable felony by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

According to a recent news report, a Philadelphia man was killed in a hit-and-run crash involving a tow truck driver. Police say that the crash happened around 2 a.m. when a tow truck ran a red light and crashed into the car of a 51-year-old man, resulting in the 51-year-old’s death. The impact from the collision resulted in damage to three additional cars parked along the road, including the force of the crush pushing at least one car down the street. Witnesses say that they saw the tow truck driver running from the scene. Police are still working to locate the driver.

Does Car Insurance Cover a Hit and Run Accident?

Yes, depending on your insurance coverage, your policy may cover a hit and run accident. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may have questions about what next steps to take. Typically, you exchange insurance and contact information with those involved in the accident, but in the case of a hit-and-run accident, you are not able to exchange this vital information.

Crashes involving large seized vehicles such as trucks or RVs and campers are inherently more dangerous for a number of reasons. Trucks, especially semi-trucks or 18-wheelers are heavier and larger than standard passenger vehicles, resulting in more serious accidents when they are involved in crashes. Additionally, the conditions that many truck drivers operate under force them to drive extreme distances, resulting in fatigue. Finally, shipping trucks are also potentially carrying hazardous cargo, complicating truck crashes and accidents. While many people intuitively understand the greater risks involved in truck accidents, they may not know that according to the statistical analysis organization Policy Advice, truck accidents have increased by 52% since 2009, and 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle accidents include a large truck. A recent news article discussed a local fatal truck crash.

According to the news article about a recent local truck crash, the accident occurred in the evening around 8:26 p.m. on Thursday, September 8, when an RV and a tractor-trailer collided on Interstate 66. A preliminary investigation by the Virginia State Police has resulted in the arrest of the RV driver, a 25-year-old male from Houston, on charges of reckless driving and driving without a license. The authorities have further stated that the crash reportedly caused the RV to slide down an embankment into several trees after driving off the road and hitting a guardrail. Two passengers in the RV died at the scene, with an additional passenger suffering life-threatening injuries, and the driver and four other passengers suffering minor injuries. It is reported that none of the passengers in the RV were reportedly wearing seatbelts. The driver of the tractor-trailer was also transported to the hospital for treatment for minor injuries sustained in the crash. The police have stated that there is an active investigation into the accident.

Does Negligence on My Part Affect My Maryland Case?

Contributory Negligence is a legal concept that potentially prevents plaintiffs in an accident case from receiving recovery for injuries resulting from a crash if their negligence contributed to the accident to any degree. Essentially, even if the negligence of the operator of another vehicle is largely responsible for the accident, if the plaintiff was even a little negligent, it is possible they will not be able to recover compensation. In Maryland, contributory negligence is interpreted very broadly, allowing minor negligence by the plaintiff in personal injury cases to defeat even very strong claims.

In today’s society, our busy roads are shared with a wide range of vehicles, in addition to pedestrians. It’s important for every road user to be mindful of others who we share the road with. This includes large semi-trucks sharing the road with bicyclists, which can be dangerous considering the big gap in size between the two vehicles. Truck drivers may have a harder time seeing smaller vehicles like bicycles, and should take great precaution to ensure that their line of vision is clear before proceeding. Bicyclists must ensure that they are also very diligent and aware of their surroundings. Accidents happen everyday, so it’s important that we are all actively paying attention to those around us who we share the road with.

In a recent news report from a Brooklyn accident, a 44-year-old bicyclist was tragically killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer. According to the article, the driver of the tractor-trailer was turning when the bicyclist, who was in a crosswalk, was struck by the tractor-trailer, and dragged under the truck. The bicyclist suffered severe head trauma and later died at a local hospital. The tractor-trailer driver did not immediately face charges.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHS), the most serious injuries involving Bicyclists are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing properly fitted helmets. IHS reported that a total of 932 bicyclists were killed in crashes involving motor vehicles in 2020. Further, IHS reported that 57 percent of bicyclists killed in 2020 were not wearing helmets, and that 79 percent of bicyclists were killed in urban areas.

There’s no denying that at any moment, the unexpected can happen with a vehicle you are driving. A flat tire, or a car that suddenly stops and becomes undrivable with little to no warning. On some occasions, the warning signs of a mechanical issue happen days, weeks, or even months before, but unfortunately, some drivers may choose to ignore those warning signs. Routinely checking your vehicle to ensure that everything is working properly is extremely important, as it can prevent dangerous mechanical issues from happening suddenly while you’re driving, and it could save you more money instead of having to pay for even more expensive vehicle repairs later on.

When a mechanical car issue happens suddenly while you are driving on the road and if your vehicle becomes undrivable, it can be important to call a tow truck to remove a vehicle from the road. Some drivers fail to do so, choosing to leave their vehicles abandoned on the road, which can be dangerous for all drivers. When you’re driving on a road or highway, it can be a bit of a surprise if you find a vehicle left unattended that you suddenly have to maneuver around.

A recent news article revealed the dangers of abandoned vehicles left on the road. According to the news article, charges have been filed against a man who is accused of leaving his tow truck on the interstate in North Dakota due to a later crash involving the abandoned vehicle. The 43-year-old-man has been charged with negligent homicide in the death of a 43-year-old woman, in addition to reckless endangerment, driving under suspension and driving without liability insurance. The driver of the tow truck experienced a mechanical issue and stopped in the right lane of the interstate. He then proceeded to get a ride from someone else and left his tow truck where it had stopped. Unfortunately, the 43-year-old woman crashed into the tow truck, and the impact killed her. In addition, her two children were severely injured in the crash.

Throughout the country, truck companies are increasingly exploring the use of autonomous trucks in order to increase profits and decrease reliance on drivers. As a result, autonomous truck accidents in Maryland will likely become more common as a greater number of these vehicles hit the road. As autonomous truck accidents in Maryland increase, the fault of drivers in such accidents will also begin to evolve. The addition of autonomous driving software to trucks fundamentally changes the role and concept of the driver. While autonomous trucks currently often have safety drivers, people in the cab monitoring the artificial intelligence driving the truck autonomously, leading autonomous truck development companies have increasingly used completely driverless trucks on the roads. In December of 2021, a truck completed an 80-mile trip in Arizona on public roads.

Given the increasing risk of being involved in an autonomous truck accident, drivers should be aware that this could fundamentally impact how fault is determined in Maryland truck accidents. Currently, Maryland uses contributory negligence in truck accident cases, which can dramatically impact a victim’s recovery if they are at fault. The introduction of autonomous trucks to the road may change that process. A recent news article discussed an autonomous truck accident that occurred in April 2022.

According to the news article, the accident occurred when an autonomous truck suddenly veered left, cutting across the I-10 highway and smashing into a concrete barricade. At the time, there was a driver and an engineer on board, and the company blamed human error. However, regulatory disclosures and internal documents reveal that there may have been issues with the autonomous software operating the vehicle at the time. An internal report on the incident, states that the truck veered suddenly because the person operating the vehicle did not properly reboot the system before engaging the autonomous driving function, causing it to execute an outdated command. In this case, the truck engaged in a left-turn command that had been made 2 ½ minutes prior, resulting in the accident.

Contact Information