May 2011 Archives

May 25, 2011

Tennessee Car Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents a Memorial Day Concern

Local law enforcement agencies have big plans for motorists over this Memorial Day holiday weekend, and a motorcycle or car accident in Tennessee is not one of them.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will once again be running their "Click It or Ticket" campaign over the weekend. The campaign officially begins before Memorial Day and runs well into the month of June. The "Click It or Ticket" campaign has been proven to be one of the most successful seat belt enforcement campaigns ever. It currently holds the highest national seat belt usage rates - nearly 90 percent. Law enforcement will be practicing their zero-tolerance enforcement efforts of all seat belt laws across the country throughout the campaign.
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Our Maryville injury lawyers urge all motorists to be extra careful on the road this Memorial Day holiday weekend as the number of fatal accidents continue to spike during this time of the year, every year. The National Safety Council estimates that the United States will see more than 400 traffic accident fatalities and another 39,400 injuries requiring medical attention over the upcoming holiday weekend.

The NSC also put out estimates predicting that more than 300 people may survive the Memorial Day holiday weekend because of wearing their seat belts. They also estimate that another 103 lives could be saved if everyone wore their seat belts.

Every Memorial Day holiday weekend over the last six years has seen an increase of more than 12 percent in fatal traffic accidents in comparison to other non-holiday periods.

Tennessee will be taking a different, but equally effective, route to improve roadway safety. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security sought to raise awareness of motorcycle riders and bicyclists though the "Share the Road" campaign, which takes place through the entire month of May.

"As the weather improves, more motorcyclists and bicyclists are traveling on local and state roadways," said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons. "This festival is essential in educating motorists on the how-to's of sharing the road and reminding motorcyclists to become properly trained before hitting the highway. Our collective goal is to keep all cyclists safe."

Earlier this week, riders from all over the state descended on Nashville to join together to enjoy the annual rider festival. This festival offered a bike show, the Police Rodeo Riders, a Tennessee Highway Patrol Motor Unit demo and a Stunt Riders demonstration.

"While motorists are cautioned to look out for motorcyclists or bicyclists, the riders should also help make themselves visible by wearing bright colors and using reflective tape," stated GHSO Director Kendell Poole. "Our priority is to increase safe riding between all road users and motorcyclists in an effort to reduce the number of fatalities on Tennessee highways."

The United States saw a decrease in motorcycle fatalities for the first time since 1997. Tennessee was not so fortunate as we saw an increase of 16 motorcycle rider fatalities from 2009 to 2010.

"It is imperative that motorcyclists educate themselves by taking an accredited training course and never ride beyond their skill ability," said John Milliken, Program Coordinator for the Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP). "They are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle occupants. The proper knowledge, training and protective wear will help make motorcyclists safer and more effective on the roads."

The TDOS offers these tips to motorcycle rider to help preserve their safety when traveling our roadways:

-Be sure you're always wearing your protective gear. This includes your boots, pants, helmet, headlight and your eye wear.

-Always ride within your limits. Don't attempt riding conditions that are above your level of riding. Adjust to weather conditions.

-Make sure you're properly trained. It is encouraged that motorcyclists complete an annual training course. This will also help to keep a motorist up to date with current laws.

-Watch your lane position and avoid tailgating other vehicles. Always be ready for the expected. Avoid sharing lanes, especially when riding in groups.

-Stay out of blind spots. These areas make motorcyclists the most vulnerable to an accident and serious injury.

-Never drink and drive. Riding your motorcycle requires great skill and attention. Consuming alcohol and jumping on your bike greatly slows your reaction time and ability.

-Remember, Tennessee law requires that the more than 300,000 Tennessee riders and their passengers to wear approved helmets and protective eyewear.

Continue reading "Tennessee Car Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents a Memorial Day Concern" »

May 24, 2011

Three Emergency Responder Vehicles Struck by 18-wheeler in Tennessee Trucking Accident

Three emergency vehicles were hit by an oncoming tractor trailer while responding to an evening accident on I-75. The driver of the 18-wheeler claimed that he didn't see the activity on the side of the road when his speeding big rig went barreling into the emergency responders causing the Powell truck accident. The 18-wheeler reportedly clipped the ambulance and the fire engine, before it slammed into the back of a second fire truck, according to Volunteer TV.
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The emergency responders were aiding an accident involving a possible drunk driver at roughly 1:30 a.m. The alleged drunk driver and his 5-year-old passenger were transported to the U-T Medical Center.

Our Tennessee trucking accident attorneys constantly remind motorists of the dangers tractor-trailers pose to other motorists on the road. As they weigh much more than other vehicles, they are come with a lot more power. Accidents with these trucks prove more likely to be fatal and result in serious injury and damages.

"As they were doing their jobs, they noticed that this eighteen wheeler was coming at a high rate of speed. Actually one of our firefighters even said, 'whoa, that guy is really moving.' But there was literally no time before they started seeing trucks start getting moved over, towards them," said Rural Metro Battalion Chief Jeff Devlin.

One fire truck was totaled. That department is currently being forced to use a back-up truck. The second truck belonged to the volunteer fire department. That was their only truck and it also was seriously damaged during the accident. Rural Metro will be sending them a back-up engine.

"Thousands and thousands of people every hour are driving all over the place. We understand that. Most people do it safely, most people are trying not to do this. However, any moment like this that causes one more person to think a little bit clearer, pay a little bit more attention, slow down just a little bit...we certainly appreciate it," said Chief Devlin.

Tennessee Highway Patrol is still investigating both accidents.

Because of these types of incidents, Tennessee currently enforces a Move Over Law. This law is meant to protect emergency vehicle responders and other law enforcement officials while pulled on to the side of the road.

This law states that all motorists must allow the right of way to these listed vehicles and other government vehicles. Motorists are asked to pull over and/or slow when possible, when an emergency vehicle is stopped with activated lights. Motorists are also required to exit the lane closest to the responders when passing the scene. Tennessee implemented this law back in 2003. Violations of this law can slam motorists with a fine of up to $300 and/or 30 days behind bars.

Motorists are also asked to follow the same rules regarding construction areas. As the summer months move in, construction work will increase. These areas can be extremely dangerous for workers as well if motorists do not take caution while passing through.

According to Move Over, America, more than 150 law enforcement officers in the U.S. have been killed after being hit by other vehicles on America's highways since 1999.

It is estimated that more than 70 percent of Americans have never heard of "Move Over" laws. More than 85 percent of supporters believe that these laws should be in effect in all 50 states. Again, 90 percent of motorists believe that these types of traffic stops and roadside emergencies are extremely dangerous for first responders and law enforcement officials.

Continue reading "Three Emergency Responder Vehicles Struck by 18-wheeler in Tennessee Trucking Accident" »

May 20, 2011

Three High School Teens Die in Tennessee Traffic Accident

Three freshmen of Trousdale County High School were killed in a Tennessee traffic accident, according to The Tennessean. Their pickup truck collided with a semi-tractor trailer between Hartsville and Lebanon on Highway 141.
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Tennessee Highway Patrol office in Cookeville reports that the teen driver and his two passengers were heading northbound in 141 in a pickup truck when he lost control of the vehicle and went off the road and onto the shoulder. He overcorrected and crossed the center line and headed into the southbound lane. That is where a southbound tractor-trailer struck the passenger side of the pickup. The accident occurred right before 1:00 p.m. and closed the highway for quite some time.

Knoxville accident attorneys understand that teen drivers have less experience and more distractions, making them especially vulnerable to serious accidents. With the end of the school year approaching, prom, graduation and summer break will increase the risk of car accidents involving young drivers.

Two of the teen occupants in the truck were killed immediately. A third teen was ejected from the truck and later pronounced dead at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, the semi-truck driver was not injured. Alcohol and drugs tests are being done on both drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, there were more than 208 million licensed drivers in 2008 on the roads of the United States. It is estimated that young drivers, between the ages of 15 and 20-year-old, made up more than 6 percent, or more than 13 million, of the total number of drivers. The number of teen drivers increased more than 5 percent since 1999.

Nearly 2,500 15- to 20-year-old drivers were killed, and 196,000 were injured in traffic accidents in 2009. Nearly 200 teens were killed in traffic accidents that involved a teen driver in Tennessee in 2009.

We encourage parents to talk with your teen about the responsibilities of driving and the consequences of making poor decisions behind the wheel. To help you establish some safe driving ground rules, the AAA Foundation offers this parent-teen driving agreement.

Continue reading "Three High School Teens Die in Tennessee Traffic Accident" »

May 17, 2011

New Proposals Aim to Reduce Risk of Tennessee Tractor-Trailer Accidents

A tractor-trailer accident in Tennessee sent a driver to the Huntsville Hospital earlier this month, according to the Times Daily. Police report that the driver was airlifted from the scene of the accident to the hospital. The other driver was treated and released from the Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield.
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Both of the tractor-trailers were heading west when the accident occurred. One truck, hauling plastics for a Memphis company, left the Sprint Mart truck stop when the accident occurred. A second truck, hauling grain for a Ripley company collided into the other truck. The accident took place shortly after 11:00 a.m. on U.S. 72 near Old Lee Highway.

A Knoxville trucking accident attorney should always be contacted in the wake of an accident involving a tractor-trailer or semi-truck as injuries and damages can be severe because of the size and weight of these massive vehicles.

"For some reason he didn't see her," Tuscumbia police Sgt. Mike Smallwood said. "A witness who passed (Jefferson's truck) said he saw (Willis' truck) just run into the back of the first one."

Emergency responders from the fire departments of from Tuscumbia and Locust Shores worked at the accident for more than 25 minutes trying to cut the wreckage away from the one driver.

Debris from the two vehicles involved in the accident covered the two westbound lanes of the Interstate. The impact of the accident was so severe that it knocked the entire engine out of one of the trucks and dislodged the rear axle from the other truck.

Colbert County HazMat team members were called to the scene to help cleanup any fuel and oil that may have spilled during the accident. The Tuscumbia police are still investigating the accident.

A second accident, on interstate highway in Oklahoma, occurred when a tractor-trailer truck struck a dozen cars and killed ten people. The cars were stopped because of an earlier fender-bender. Instead of slowing down and traveling around the clutter, the truck traveled right through the congestion at nearly 70 mph, according to the Associated Press. The truck rolled over three vehicles and dragged them along until it smashed into the others and finally came to a halt.

Investigators report that the truck driver was driving with less than five hours of sleep from the previous night. He had been driving for a total of ten hours at the time.

"Even if you don't necessarily have more crashes, when there is a crash, there is more damage," said Henry Jasny, general counsel for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Because of these, and other serious trucking accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board administered a two-day forum last week to gather the thoughts of safety experts, federal regulators and the truck and bus industries to help create ideas and action plans to help prevent these types of fatal accidents and to discuss why previous safety recommendations have yet to be enacted.

"We must remind ourselves that each data point in these statistics represents a family member that will never come home to loved ones," said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt.

The NTSB has approximately 100 bus safety recommendations that have yet to be filed. In 1968, the board first recommended that buses be required to come with seat belts for all passengers, but it wasn't until last year these seat belt recommendations were proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That rule, which has not been finalized, does not apply to buses that are already on the road.

"From an economic standpoint, it would do a great deal of harm to this industry and wouldn't improve safety," said Dave Osiecki, senior vice president at the American Trucking Associations.

While the industry is concerned about profits, motorists need to be concerned about their own safety when around these big rigs.

Continue reading "New Proposals Aim to Reduce Risk of Tennessee Tractor-Trailer Accidents" »

May 13, 2011

Tennessee Trucking Accidents a Constant Safety Threat

A tractor-trailer accident in Tennessee took the life of a Birchwood Man late last month, according to Times Free Press. The accident happened on Interstate 75 in McMinn County, reports the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The two tractor-trailers collided on the northbound lanes of 75 near mile marker 50 just before 3:00 a.m. The accident closed the area of the interstate for hours.

One of the drivers was traveling at about 85 mph when he struck another tractor-trailer that was traveling at roughly 45 mph with its hazard lights activated. The speeding tractor-trailer wedged itself underneath the slow-traveling vehicle, breaking open the trailer and spilling chicken feed all over the road.
1321250_bridge.jpgOur Knoxville truck accident attorneys would like to urge all motorists to travel safely, but especially near large tractor-trailers. The size, weight and power of these vehicles can cause serious injury to those involved in accidents.

According the fatality report from that accident, no criminal charges or citations have been issued. Neither driver tested positive for drugs or alcohol.

A separate tractor-trailer accident left a vehicle overturned and in flames at the I-24/I-40 merge near the Silliman Evans Bridge, according to The Tennessean. The Tennessee Department of Transportation reports that the accident caused all eastbound lanes from the Second Avenue exit to the Shelby Avenue exit to close.

The driver of a flatbed truck reportedly lost control rounding a curve at the I-24/I-40 merge near the Silliman Evans Bridge, according to Metro police. The flatbed flipped, and scattering its load of 10-inch metal water pipes across interstate lanes.

America's Road Team offers these safety tips to help prevent tractor-trailer accidents:

-Plan ahead. Figure out directions before you take off on the interstate. Know which exit you'll be using to avoid sudden lane changes.

-Stay focused. Taking your eye off the road, if only for seconds, can drastically increase your chance for an accident.

-Keep a safety cushion. Plan a quarter mile at a time. Have an escape route if caught in a bind. Know what you'd do to avoid an interstate collision.

-Keep your seat belt on. Seat belts help to save lives!

-Do not tailgate. Keeping a safe distance between you and the car in front of you can help to avoid a collision.

-Watch out for blind spots. Trucks have substantially larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. It is important for truck drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers to be aware of these spaces and double check them before making a move.

-Watch your speed. Your risk for an accident increases as your speed increases.

The United States has roughly 296,000 large trucks traveling our roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3,500 fatalities, and 74,000 injuries, resulted from trucking accidents in 2009 in the United States. Tennessee had nearly 1,500 vehicles involved in these large-truck accidents.

Continue reading "Tennessee Trucking Accidents a Constant Safety Threat" »

May 12, 2011

Awareness Month Aims for Fewer Motorcycle Accidents in Tennessee

Earlier this month, a Tennessee motorcycle accident took the life of a local Highway Patrolman, according to The Tennessean. Two officers were escorting U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilots to the Smyrna air show during the time of the fatal accident. One died and one was injured in the accident in Sam Ridley Parkway.
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The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that the wreck involved another motor vehicle and no civilians were injured. A 36-year-old officer was escorted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and died shortly thereafter. The second offer was taken to Stonecrest Hospital where he was treated for injuries and later released.

Our Knoxville motorcycle accident attorneys would like to remind motorists that spring is the deadliest time of year for motorcycle accidents caused by other drivers.

"I am saddened by the loss of Trooper Wall. He was a fine state trooper who was dedicated to serving and protecting others. Tonight, the entire THP family mourns his loss," said Colonel Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. "We hold a deep respect and appreciation for local law enforcement professionals, and our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Wall's family and his fellow state troopers."

National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Tennessee is dedicated to raising awareness about the presence of motorcyclists on our roadways. The Tennessee Department of Safety, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Governor's Highway Safety Office and the Motorcycle Awareness Foundation of Tennessee proudly support the "Share the Road" campaign that aims to encourage motorcyclists and other motorists to share the road safely with one another. The month-long awareness event kicked off with a Motorcycle Awareness Day event that was held at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville, according to TexDOT.

"With the warmer weather here, more motorcycles are on the road, and that means drivers need to be more alert," stated Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. "We have done a good job in reducing the number of vehicle fatalities in recent years, but the same can't be said about crashes involving motorcycles. The number of motorcycle fatalities in Tennessee has more than doubled in the last 7 years. We want all riders and drivers to share the road and help reduce that trend."

Tennessee experienced nearly 150 motorcycle traffic fatalities in 2007, a number that has steadily increased over the last nine years -- from 42 in 1998 to 148 in 2007. With approximately 275,000 Tennesseans licensed to operate motorcycles it is important to educate all drivers and remind them of the spring and summer presence of our riding friends.

"Motorcycles are becoming more popular, but cyclists must understand that riding a motorcycle is different than driving a car," said John Milliken, the state coordinator of Tennessee's Motorcycle Rider Education Program. "It's imperative that motorcyclists educate themselves by taking an accredited training course and never ride beyond their skill ability."

The Texas Department of Safety offers these tips to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:

-Avoid tailgating. Motorcycles are not always able to stop easily, especially on wet pavement.

-Watch out for blind sports. Because a motorcycle is so small, it can often be caught in a car's blind spot.

-Be careful at intersections as this is where most motorcycle-vehicle accidents occur.

-Allow a motorcyclist to have the entire lane. They have the same rights on the road as all other motorists.

-As it's easy to misjudge distance and speed because of the size of a motorcycle, be sure to practice extra caution when you see one. Assume they are closer than they appear.

-Remember that motorcycles adjust often in their lane to avoid winds and road debris.

-Blinkers of motorcycles are not always self-canceling as they are on passenger vehicles. Make sure that a rider's signal is for real before passing.

Continue reading "Awareness Month Aims for Fewer Motorcycle Accidents in Tennessee " »

May 7, 2011

Swimming Pool Drowning a Summer Danger in Knoxville, Maryville

Pool season brings a high risk of Tennessee drowning and pool accidents.

Now that spring has arrived, the temperatures will be heating up enough to start jumping in the pool for a swim. Adults are reminded to make sure your kids are under constant supervision in order to prevent a swimming pool accident in Knoxville, Maryville or elsewhere in Tennessee.
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Recently, a babysitter was watching over the son of a well-known trucking entertainer when a pool accident occurred. The Tennessean reports the three-year-old boy fell in the pool and almost drowned under the babysitter's watch. The boy still showed signs of life when he was discovered in the pool so he was LifeFlighted by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Nine days following the fall into the pool the young boy died after being removed from the ventilator. No charges have been filed against the babysitter to date as the incident was considered an accident.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report children are at a high risk of drowning accidents. In 2007, it was reported that over 20 percent of drowning victims were children ages 14 and under. For every five children involved in a pool accident, an average ratio of 1 drowns and 4 have to go to the hospital for nonfatal submersion injuries. Submersion injuries can lead to a permanent vegetative state, learning disabilities, memory problems or long term disabilities caused by brain damage.

Some parts of the state are being proactive in an attempt to minimize drowning and pool accidents this year. WBIR reports the passing of Katie Beth's Law which took effect on January 1st, 2011. The new law requires any homeowner in East Tennessee who has a pool on their property to install a pool alarm.

Building permits will not be handed out by local governments unless the contractor specifically states a pool alarm will be installed. Electrical inspectors will only give a seal of approval to installations that have a functioning pool alarm. Pool companies are required to post signs in their place of business alerting customers about the new law.
Katie Beth, the great grand-daughter of State Senator Charlotte Burks, drowned back in 2009 in a Cookeville swimming pool.

The CDC offers the following MUST DO tips to prevent drowning or pool accidents this summer:

- Learn how to swim by taking lessons and becoming comfortable in the water.

-Kids should have a buddy system when playing in the pool. Never allow a young child to swim alone unless a constant eye is kept on them at all times.

-Never use air-filled or foam toys in replacement of a life vest. These are meant as toys, not to save lives.

-Adults should know CPR, especially if you have kids swimming in your residential pool.

-Install a four-sided fence around the pool area only.

-Have a pool company install a pool alarm at the time they open the pool for the season.

Continue reading "Swimming Pool Drowning a Summer Danger in Knoxville, Maryville" »

May 6, 2011

Bicyclists beware of blind spots to avoid a Tennessee trucking accident

The Nashville News is reporting bicyclist need to be extremely careful when riding near large trucks.

Our Tennessee truck accident lawyers are aware of the recent truck accident that involved a cyclist.
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It is understandable that Middle Tennessee cyclists are outraged that the driver of a dump truck that hit a rider was cleared of all charges, including the $50 ticket for driving within 3 feet of the bicyclist. The $50 fine does seem like a small amount to pay for failing to drive further than 3 feet from a cyclist. In response to a host of calls from cycling clubs, the state's Transportation Committee unanimously passed a bill out of committee that will raise the fine to $250 for the unsafe passing of a bicyclist or a pedestrian.

Large trucks need plenty of room to move through traffic. Most truck drivers allow for extra space between themselves and other vehicles. We can help avoid problems while riding near large vehicles by remembering that the driver of a truck has many blind spots. Even trucks equipped with fish and specialized side view mirrors won't always help the driver see you. If a truck moves at the same time as a cyclist is in their blind spot a collision is bound to occur.

Safety Tips for Drivers:

-When passing a bicyclist do it slowly and leave at least a distance of 3 feet between you and the bicycle.

-Never try to pass a bicyclist on a two-lane road until oncoming traffic has cleared.

-Never pass a bicycle on narrow roads; doing so could force them off the road or into parked cars.

-Tapping your horn briefly and gently lets riders know you are passing. Never startle the bicyclist by blasting your horn.

-The most common causes of collisions are drivers turning left in front of an oncoming bicycle or turning right, across the path of the bicycle.

-Pay attention to riders, especially children, turning in front of you without signaling or looking.

-Never turn across the path of the bicyclist, merge with them when making a right turn.

-Always let a bicyclist pass if you are turning right and the rider is approaching.

-Bicyclists should try to maintain eye contact with drivers around them, especially when they or a vehicle is making a turn. Always try to gain and maintain eye contact with the rider to ensure a safer turn.

-Always use your turn signals.

Continue reading "Bicyclists beware of blind spots to avoid a Tennessee trucking accident" »