18-Wheeler Crashes into South Carolina Burger King

According to North Augusta, South Carolina Public Safety Officers, an 18-wheeler crashed into a local Burger King as restaurant employees were preparing to serve breakfast to customers recently. Fortunately, no one was injured during the crash.

Authorities say the trucker, Kenneth Sanderson, 68, was traveling on Knox Avenue in North Augusta when he lost control of his 18-wheeler.

The truck reportedly went through an intersection, knocked down trees, and sideswiped the restaurant’s sign before crashing into the side of the restaurant.

Sanderson was reportedly taken to a nearby hospital for a medical evaluation but he’s expected to make a full recover. The estimated cost in damage to the restaurant is still unknown at this time.

Police say the driver will not be charged but did not elaborate further.

“It’s an unfortunate incident but no charges will be filed,” North Augusta Lt. Tim Thornton told a local media outlet. “Sanderson simply lost control of the vehicle.”

Police said the restaurant had not yet opened when the accident occurred. There were a few employees in the back preparing food when the crash took place.

“It’s extremely fortunate that no one was seriously injured,” Thornton told the media. “We’re just very thankful everyone’s OK.”

The Burger King will be closed for business until further notice.

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What’s next for the Wal-Mart driver indicted in the Tracy Morgan crash?

Tracy Morgan

Pictured: Tracy Morgan (Via Wikimedia Commons)

The Wal-mart trucker involved in last year’s deadly crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that severely injured SNL alumni and comedian Tracy Morgan has been indicted on criminal charges.

The driver, Kevin Roper, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide as well as eight counts of aggravated assault.

In early-June 2014, authorities say he crashed his 18-wheeler into Morgan’s limo fan, killing his friend and fellow comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair. The crash left Morgan in a coma for two week, and he also suffered multiple broken bones and serious brain injury.

Trucker’s Attorney: “My client’s rights have been compromised.”

Roper’s attorney, David Jay Glassman, recently told CNN that the prosecutor in the case has corrupted his client’s right to due process and doubts that the indictment will stand.

The prosecutor “ran out of opportunities to corrupt the defendant’s right to due process and finally elected to present the matter to the grand jury which surprisingly after over a year of continuous negative publicity, returned an indictment,” Glassman stated.

Morgan and some of the others who were injured reached a settlement with Wal-Mart in May, although terms have not been made public.

NTSB Investigation Results

Federal investigators found that the injuries to Morgan and other passengers were made worse by their failure to wear seat belts. The board faulted Morgan and other passengers for also adjusting headrests.

An NTSB investigation concluded in August that Roper hadn’t slept in the 28 hours before the crash, a finding Roper’s attorney has disputed.

The report also determined that Glassman’s client failed to slow down immediately before the crash despite posted warning signs on the turnpike.

What’s Next

Roper’s attorney recently told The Associated Press he will ask a judge in Middlesex County, New Jersey to dismiss the case because his client is unable to get a fair trial because of negative publicity surrounding Morgan’s federal lawsuit against Wal-Mart.

If convicted, Roper can face up to 30 years for the aggravated manslaughter charge alone, while a death-by-auto charge carries a five-to-10-year prison sentence. Each assault-by-auto charge is punishable by up to 18 months in prison.

Our Thoughts

We disagree with Glassman’s attempt to dismiss the case due to the “negative publicity” it’s received and its “high-profile nature.” A judge and jury will view this case no differently than any other criminal case—no matter who the key players are involved, celebrity or not. At the end of the day, the evidence will speak for itself. If, in fact, the prosecution can prove Roper hadn’t slept in 28 hours and was also speeding, he should be held criminally responsible and face the consequences.

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FMCSA to Create Voluntary Drug Form for Commercial Drivers

Federal trucking regulators are asking for public comment on a plan to create a voluntary driver medication form to help make America’s roadways safer. According to a recent Federal Register announcement, the FMCSA hopes to accomplish the following with this CMV Driver Medication Form:

  1. Assist medical examiners in determining if a truck driver is medically qualified to drive under 49 CFR 391.41
  2. Ensure that there are no disqualifying medical conditions or underlying medical conditions that could adversely affect a trucker’s safe driving ability or cause incapacitation constituting a risk to the public.
  3. Ensure that there are no prescribed medications that could adversely affect a trucker’s safe driving ability or cause incapacitation and pose a risk to other drivers on the road.

The Reason for the Form

The primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

In October 2014, a medical review board presented medication recommendations to the FMCSA following an earlier report on Schedule II Opioids and Stimulants & CMV Crash Risk and Driver Performance.

According to the FMCSA, because there is moderate evidence to support the contention that the licit use of opioids increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes and impacts indirect measures of driver performance negatively, it was recommended that agency develop a standardized medication questionnaire to assist the certified ME (medical examiner) when reviewing prescription medications that have been disclosed during the history and physical examination for CMV driver certification.

The Information the Form Asks

Two advisory groups recommended to FMCSA that the standardized CMV driver medication questionnaire be voluntary for truck drivers and include such following information:

  1. All medications taken by the driver
  2. Medical conditions of the driver
  3. Name and date of birth of the driver

The 391.41 CMV Driver Medication Form will be available on the FMCSA web site.

Our Thoughts

In order for this form to be effective, commercial drivers must obviously be willing to fill it out. Personally, we think it should be mandatory. In the meantime, it is our hope that trucking companies nationwide will do the right thing by participating. Doing so not only protects the public, but it can also greatly lower a trucking company’s chance for accidents, fines and legal repercussion down the road.

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Trucking Industry Becomes More “Uber-like”

Most people think of Uber as an alternative taxi service. However, the trucking industry is quickly jumping on board the Uber bandwagon as competitors seek to capitalize on technology that matches carriers and shippers faster and at lower costs.

The U.S. trucking industry has relied on third-party brokers or travel agents to connect truckers with customers for quite some time. Nearly 70% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks, according to the American Trucking Association.

Trucker-On-Demand Apps

Now, startups are working towards making an impact on the supply chain industry with trucking on-demand. Below are just some of the companies that are making “trucker-on-demand” now easier than ever before.

  1. Convoy The Seattle-based trucking company offers an on-demand service that arranges regional and local shipping deliveries, without the customary telephone calls and price haggling by third-party brokers, according to The Seattle Times.
  2. Transfix Barnes & Nobles, Samsung and J.Crew are just a few of the companies experimenting with this new technology. Its app delivers 24/7 visibility and automatic ETA notifications across platforms and devices. According to the company’s website, its automated system reduces costs, and it passes those saving directly to the customer.
  3. Cargo Chief This new technology startup offers customers easy access to more than 500,000 trucks. According to its site, the company manually verifies each carriers’ authority, safety and insurance before each shipment. Customers can instantly locate their shipment on its interactive map 24/7.
  4. Cargomatic This company is focused on maximizing utilization and efficiency in the local shipping industry. The platform is designed to ensure that no truck drives anywhere empty and that a business that needs a load delivered can piggyback on a load already in transit, thereby getting its goods delivered more cheaply than hiring a truck to make a separate run.

Some Challenges Ahead

While trucking startups are making big improvements to the supply chain industry, there are still barriers that need to be addressed. According to the Supply Chain Digest, “most shippers, at least the larger ones, rely on networks of “core carriers” that move the vast majority of their freight, turning to spot markets only when their usual carriers can’t cover a load.” If the larger shippers had to choose, they would prefer the drivers who are more familiar with their policies of cosignee, rather than a different driver every time.

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FMCSA: Minnesota Truck Driver Falsified Documents, Declared an Imminent Hazard

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared Minnesota-licensed truck driver John Ray Carpenter to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate or intrastate commerce.

According to the FMCSA, an investigation revealed that Carpenter, a commercial driver’s license holder, is medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Carpenter was served the federal order on Nov. 6, 2015.

On Oct. 22, 2015, while driving a company truck in Crystal Bay Township, Minn., Carpenter reportedly suffered a medical problem, which caused his vehicle to cross into oncoming traffic, collide into a passenger vehicle, and fatally injure the driver.

Following the crash, Carpenter revealed to federal and state investigators that he had experienced approximately six previous episodes involving medical problems while driving, some of which also resulted in crashes.

In the past four months, investigators also found multiple violations by Carpenter of federal hours-of-service regulations, which are designed to prevent fatigued driving. On the day prior to the fatal crash in October, investigators found evidence that Carpenter had falsified his records of duty status.

Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years. Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Lawsuit Alleges Truck Driver Speeding and Distracted, Causing Wreck that Killed Family of Four

A Navy corpsman whose wife and three children were killed on the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida is now suing the trucker and multiple other companies, blaming them for the tragedy that changed his life forever.

Shortly after the crash in March 2015, Dexter Culclager, who remained vigilant through the heartache, took to Facebook, posting the following message about the deadly accident to friends and family in Arkansas.

“I am being strong as I can for everyone in the family and I’m working as fast as I can to bring them home to you guys,” stated Culclager.

Authorities say Culclager’s wife and three children were killed when their SUV that had broken down on the bridge was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer. Yakel Culclager, 36, and her three children — 18-year-old Tre’Quis Woods-Sims, 17-year-old Tradesia Woods-Sims and 6-year-old Trevieon Woods-Franklin all burned to death.

Fast forward eight months later, and Culclager has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against, Judson Humphries, the trucker who authorities say hit his family. This lawsuit alleges more than a dozen different counts that lead up to the deadly crash, including that Humphries wasn’t even qualified to drive the truck.

“Anybody would want justice served and that’s all I am seeking — just to know why it happened and how it happened and what could have been done to prevent it,” Culclager told First Coast News. “Safety is key in daily living, especially on the roadways. … You have to be undivided in your attention and safe on the road. You can’t let distractions get the best of you.”

The preliminary Highway Patrol report states that Humphries “failed to slow” and operated the truck in a “careless or negligent manner.” Records show Humphries was distracted before his big rig slammed into the SUV, causing it to eventually burst into flames, killing the family inside.

“Instead of looking 15 seconds ahead and driving safely as a reasonable professional tractor-trailer driver would, Humphries chose to drive his semi while distracted, on cruise control and in a dangerous, reckless and unsafe manner,” the lawsuit states.

Humphries was not properly licensed to drive the tractor trailer after testing positive for a controlled substance, the report said. In lieu of charges, he’s be cited for a non-criminal traffic violation.

Along with Humphries and his company, Hobit Express, the lawsuit also sues Sunteck Transport Group, Sunteck Transport Co., General Motors and North Florida Lubes.

The lawsuit is expected to be heard in court in mid-2016.

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Georgia Trucker Falsifies Medical Records, Ordered to Stop Driving after Wreck

A Georgia trucker driver has been ordered to shut down after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared him to be an imminent hazard to public safety. The driver has been identified as Matthew Jason Boozer. Authorities have demanded that he not operate any commercial vehicle in interstate commerce.

According to an FMCSA, an investigation recently uncovered that Boozer is medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle on the roadways and that he had falsified the medical history section of a recent truck driving job application to conceal a disqualifying medical diagnosis.

On July 6, 2015, while driving a commercial vehicle on Georgia State Route 11, Boozer reportedly suffered a medical problem, resulting in his truck crossing both lanes of traffic and crashing through a fence before colliding into a parked vehicle.

Following the crash, Boozer was sent by his employer to a physician who declared him to be medically unqualified; Boozer then fired from his job as a truck driver.

Officials then say that just one day after the accident, Boozer, filled out another truck driving application for a different employer and falsified the medical history section to conceal the medical disqualification issued the previous day, which referenced a 2011 disqualifying medical diagnosis.

Authorities say that Boozer was then hired on the basis of his fraudulent job application and drove trucks for his new employer through September 17, 2015 when his employer became aware of his July 6, 2015 crash and his disqualifying medical condition.

According to the FMCSA, violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense could result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years. Criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office are also a possibility.

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Two Tractor Trailers Plunge From Interstate, Create Chaos Down Below

A crash involving two 18 wheelers on a highly traveled Georgia highway turned into a traffic nightmare for Atlanta drivers —and one they’d probably like to quickly forget. Cleanup reportedly took well more than 24 hours, and as you might imagine it created a big mess down below.

Several media outlets say the accident involved a Publix tractor trailer and tanker truck. Police say the crash between the two commercial vehicles forced them both to drive off the Interstate 285 bridge and onto GA. 400.

The fuel tanker was said to be carrying 8,000 gallons of gasoline but first responders with Sandy Springs Fire Rescue says the fuel was contained inside the vehicle and there was no leak.

After it landed, the Publix truck ended upside down. The tanker landed on its side. Authorities say both truck drivers were briefly trapped in their trucks but were pulled out.

Shortly after the crash, Publix issued the following statement: “Thank you for your inquiry about our truck driver involved in the accident earlier today. He has been taken to a North Fulton Hospital where he is being examined. Our thoughts and prayers are with both drivers involved in the accident.”

Surprisingly, there were no fatalities involved. According to WXIA-TV, the drivers of both trucks were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of another vehicle involved in the accident was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

What caused the crash to begin with is still a big mystery. In an article by the AJC, Sandy Springs Police Department spokesman Sgt. Ron Momon has declined to comment on a possible reason for the crash, saying details would be released “whenever our investigators finish their investigation.”

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Tractor Trailer Bill Attracts the Attention of Georgia Department of Transportation

A federal bill to make tractor trailers safer has caught the attention of the Georgia Department of Transportation. This piece of legislation comes after five nursing students were killed and three others seriously injured in April when an 18 wheeler failed to stop, plowing into traffic that had stopped on I-16 in Georgia.

A few weeks later, in May of 2015, five more people died when another tractor-trailer smashed into two cars and burst into flames on the same section of highway.

The accidents prompted Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson to introduce the “Safe Roads Act of 2015” this month.

“Tragically, the simple installation of automatic braking systems on all commercial motor vehicles – a $500 safety feature – might have prevented these deaths and countless others across the country,” said Johnson. “America’s roads and highways should be safe for all drivers. Taking full advantage of technologies that are available and proven to anticipate and prevent crashes will save lives.”

According the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2011 alone, commercial motor vehicles were involved in nearly 130,000 crashes, resulting in more than 4,000 fatalities and 80,000 injuries.

Johnson stated that truck and bus traffic on the roadways are expected to increase due to the forecasted growth in population and the corresponding increase in movement of freight and passengers. The congressman stressed that any increase in truck and bus traffic also increases the potential for additional accidents.

If passed and signed into law, requiring Forward Collision Avoidance and Mitigation or (F-CAM) would bring down the costs per vehicle to approximately $500, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) estimates — which Hanson says far outweighs the costs in terms of preventing lost productivity, injury and loss of life.

Here at the Truck Accident Attorneys, we commend Hanson for taking the initiative to make America’s roadways safer. We hope that lawmakers nationwide will see the value in such a bill and pass it into law immediately.

If you or a loved one have ever been hurt or injured in a crash or have lost a loved due to an accident involving a tractor trailer, contact us today at (800) 628-4500 to find out how we may assist you with your case.

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Semi Wreck Causes More Crashes After Unleashing 20 Million Bees Onto Roadway

On Thursday afternoon, the Idaho State Police say a crash involving a semi created resulted in multiple crashes along I-15 at milepost 71, in Pocatello, ID.

Police say Robert M. Langford, 32, of Ogden, UT, was driving a semi pulling a trailer loaded with thousands of bees.

Authorities say Langford was reaching for an item located in the cab of his 18-wheeler when he drove off the roadway, hitting a concrete barrier under the overpass. The vehicle continued off the roadway and overturned.

Langford was transported by ground ambulance to the Portneuf Medical Center, in Pocatello. The right lane of travel was blocked for approximately three and a half hours.

About 15 minutes after the 18-wheeler’s crash, local media outlets reported another crash on I-15 near the Pocatello 5th Ave. exit involving a motorcycle, according to the Idaho State Journal.

There was an additional crash in the area at 2:15 p.m. on the northbound side of I-15 about two miles north of Pocatello and the bee crash. This crash involved a tanker semi and a car. The car rolled and is on its top and one of the tankers on the semi also rolled.

Butte County Sheriff Wes Collins told the newspaper that he tried to save some of 408 beehives that were dumped onto the sagebrush but was unable to. The bees, 20 million of them, were being transported by a tractor trailer from Idaho to North Dakota.

Brian Wiggins, co-owner of Idaho-based KatieBee Honey, told the Idaho State Journal that the loss represents about 50 percent of his business. He did not provide a dollar estimate but said the loss was covered by insurance.

This crash remains under investigation by Idaho State Police.

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