Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

Federal safety regulators have shut down a troubled trucking company in Iowa that owned the semitrailer involved in a human trafficking case in which 10 immigrants died in Texas. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration placed Pyle Transportation under an “out-of-service order” after a review found the company’s safety rating so unsatisfactory that it was unfit to remain in business. In July, dozens of immigrants were found packed inside a Pyle-branded semitrailer in the parking lot of a San Antonio, Texas, Walmart. Eight people were found dead inside, and two more died after being hospitalized. The driver, James “Bear” Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Florida; and Pedro Silva-Segura, 47, of Laredo, Texas, are charged with several offenses, including conspiring to transport and harbor immigrants who are illegally in the U.S. for financial gain. Brian Pyle, who owns Pyle Transportation, has denied knowledge of the alleged smuggling conspiracy. He has said that he sold the trailer and hired Bradley, who had worked previously for the firm, as a contractor to drive it to Brownsville, Texas, to deliver it to the buyer.

Although the company has not been directly implicated in the deaths of the occupants of the truck, the case drew attention to Pyle’s history of safety violations and failure to pay taxes and wages owed to some employees. Several former employees said they were pressured to drive too many hours without rest, to falsify their logs to conceal those violations and to transport overweight loads on unrealistic deadlines. Federal regulators launched a compliance review into Pyle, which had been operating with a “conditional” safety rating due to prior violations, after the human trafficking case.

Information released this week shows the company was cited for knowingly allowing an employee to drive with a disqualified commercial driver’s license and permitting a driver to make a false report regarding his duty status. It’s unclear whether those violations were tied to Bradley, whose commercial driving privileges had been disqualified by Florida for failing to file updated medical information. Federal data also shows that enforcement officers conducting inspections on Pyle trucks found numerous safety violations nationwide. In August and September, drivers were found to have been working beyond the number of allowed hours, failing to log their hours, carrying overweight loads and driving with tires and brakes that weren’t properly maintained.

Any type of car accident can be potentially deadly, but vehicle rollovers are among the most dangerous. While they are relatively rare, accounting for only about three percent of all crashes, they account for about 30% of people who are killed while riding a vehicle. Many people believe that rollovers only affect SUVs and large vans, but a rollover can happen in any vehicle under the right circumstances.

How it Happens

As we said above, any vehicle can roll over but these types of crashes are much more common to tall, narrow vehicles like SUVs, vans, and trucks because these vehicles have higher centers of gravity than sedans and coupes. Rollovers are most common in turns because what happens when a car rolls over is essentially a pendulum effect. When a car makes a turn, sideways forces shift the center of gravity to one side. The faster you’re driving, the stronger these forces are. If these forces become too strong, they can cause a vehicle to roll over.

Automobile accidents of any kind can have devastating consequences, but trucking accidents are particularly dangerous due to the larger size of the vehicle involved. Truck accidents are more common in large metropolitan areas like Atlanta simply due to the presence of more of them on the roadways and more traffic bogging them down. While truck drivers are trained professionals who are generally safer drivers than regular motorists, accidents can and do happen.

Driver negligence plays a large role in trucking accidents, but they can also be caused by a variety of of other circumstances, including weather, road hazards, or the poor driving of others on the road. As with almost all types of automobile accidents, the most popular legal theory underlying liability in a trucking accident is negligence. A plaintiff in a trucking accident suit must show:

  1. That the defendant truck driver owed the plaintiff a duty of care—in this case, they would owe the plaintiff the degree of care to avoid injury under the circumstances

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