October 2010 Archives

October 28, 2010

Knoxville, Tennessee Bus Accident Blamed on Drunk Driving

The arrest of a Knox County school bus driver on a drunk driving charge is a stark reminder of the obligation of our school systems to ensure the safety and welfare of students who rely on buses for transportation to and from school.

Knoxville accident lawyers know that the start of the school year is a particularly dangerous time for school bus accidents, as parents, teachers and drivers become accustomed to bus routes and bus safety. But there is no excuse for permitting an intoxicated driver to operate a school bus. Both the school district and the contracted busing company should be asked some tough questions in the wake of this incident.
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Traditionally, school buses are a relatively safe mode of transportation, with an average of just 19 fatalities reported nationwide each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About half of those cases involve pedestrian accidents as a child is boarding or deboarding a school bus.

However, drunk driving is the leading cause of death on the nation's roads, accounting for about one-third of all fatal auto accidents. In 2008, a total of 11,773 motorists were killed in alcohol-related crashes, of the 37,423 fatal accidents reported on the nation's roads.

Additionally, Tennessee car accidents involving school buses can cause serious or fatal injuries to motorists, similar to those caused by tractor-trailer accidents or crashes with other large commercial vehicles.

Volunteer TV reports that the 63-year-old driver was driving the bus to pick up her first child, at about 6:30 a.m., when she rear-ended a truck at a red light on the I-40 East Bound exit ramp on Cedar Bluff Road. She was driving for Hensley Bus Lines; the bus was used for Cedar Bluff Elementary School and special education students at Hardin Valley Academy.

Police say she had a mix of alcohol and drugs in her system and was transported to the hospital so that a blood sample could be taken. She reportedly came close to striking another vehicle at least twice and ran up over a curb before rear-ending the box truck.

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October 28, 2010

Distracted Truckers a Leading Cause of Tennessee Tractor-Trailer Accidents

With a final rule banning truckers from texting while driving set to be issued this fall, federal authorities are targeting other in-cab distractions in an effort to reduce the number of serious and fatal tractor-trailer accidents caused by distracted driving.

Our Knoxville, Tennessee accident lawyers know that many accidents are caused by distracted driving and crashes involving semis or other large commercial trucks are no exception. While more than 30 states have some form of a ban on text messaging or cell phone use by drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has banned truckers nationwide from text messaging. That ban was first announced last year and expanded at a nationwide distracted driving summit held last month in Washington, D.C.
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Truckers News reports that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is looking at CB radios, dispatching systems and other forms of distracted driving.

The FMCSA is the federal agency charged with implementing and enforcing trucking rules aimed at increasing the safety of the motoring public, including hours of service rules and drug testing procedures. Consulting with an experienced Tennessee truck accident attorney is critical when determining whether a driver was in compliance with state and federal regulations at the time of an accident.

Last year, a total of 5,474 motorists were killed and 448,000 were injured in accidents caused by distracted driving. Only speeding and drunk driving are blamed for more fatal accidents on the nation's roads.

"These numbers show that distracted driving remains an epidemic in America, and they are just the tip of the iceberg," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Nationwide, more than 380,000 large trucks were involved in crashes in 2008 -- accidents that accounted for 1 in every 9 of the nation's traffic fatalities. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that more than 4,000 motorists were killed and 90,000 were injured in accidents involving large commercial trucks.

Trucking accidents in Tennessee claimed 92 lives that year.

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