Fight Underway Over Trucking Regulations Designed to Prevent Fatigued Truck Drivers From Being on the Road

You may have heard about the trucking accident that seriously injured actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and killed comedian Jimmy McNair. The truck driver who crashed into their limousine van is alleged to have been sleepless for 24 hours before the crash.  Fatigued drivers are less attentive and often fall asleep so federal regulations are in place to prevent this type of reckless conduct and protect the motoring public. But, a fight is now underway in Congress on just how tough those regulations should be. 

In fact, just days before the Tracy Morgan accident, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment which would suspend the regulation which requires truckers to take an extended break from driving after reaching weekly limits.   Under current regulations, if the driver has driven 70 hours over 8 days or 60 hours over 7 days, there is a mandatory restart requirement which provides the driver must take 34 hours off. But, a group of senators including Cory Booker, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and others think these regulations save lives and have introduced an amendment which would keep these important safety regulations in place.

According to the senators involved in the amendment, the number of deaths caused by truck accidents nationwide has increased 16 percent since 2009 and the number of injuries has increased by 40%. On average, more than 4,000 people lose their lives and another 100,000 are injured in truck crashes. In Tennessee, in 2013 alone, the big four counties of Davidson, Knox, Hamilton and Shelby saw over 4,000 large truck crashes. Given these statistics, we find it hard to believe that anyone would suggest the regulations should be weakened.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident and you would like to talk to one of our award-winning lawyers in a free, no-obligation consultation, call us anytime at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787. Of course, one of the first things we do as part of our investigation into the crash is review the driver’s logs to determine if he or she is over the allowable service hours. But, we also do much more to prove your case. For more information on trucking accidents, click hereFor more information on our fees and expenses, click here.

For Kids, the Drunk Driver That Is Likely To Injure or Kill Them Is In Their Own Car

From 2000 to 2010, 2,344 children under the age of 15 were killed in drunk driving accidents. In a whopping two-thirds of those fatal accidents, the children were actually riding with the drunk driver as opposed to the drunk driver being a stranger in another vehicle. Unfortunately, drunk driving was not the only risky behavior found in these accidents. Researchers also found that the children were often not wearing seatbelts or, if appropriate, properly secured in a car seat. 

In Tennessee, since 2004, there have been a total of 74,390 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. Notably, this figure does not include parking lot and private property crashes or crashes in which the property damage was less than $400.00. 

At the Law Offices of John Day, our award-winning lawyers are experienced in handling drunk driving accidents. To ensure you receive a complete recovery, we will evaluate all potentially liable parties and all potential claims including liquor liability claims and uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. Click here for more information on drunk driving claims. And, click here for more information on liquor liability or dram shop liability claims. Then, give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation on your potential case. Call us any time at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787. We handle all drunk driving claims on a contingency basis.

Food Poisoning: Restaurants Present Greater Risk

According to a recent report, you are twice as likely to get food poisoning from a restaurant than you are from food prepared at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food borne illness outbreaks sicken more than 48 million people annually. Of that number, 128,000 require hospitalization and 3,000 will die. Importantly, the Center for Science in the Public Interest believes that these numbers are actually low due to underreporting of outbreaks. 

We have more information on food poisoning on our website, including a video by John in which he outlines what you should do if you think you have been the victim of food poisoning from a restaurant. If you would like to discuss a potential food poisoning case, call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle all food poisoning cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.

Tennessee's Drunk Driving Laws under Scrutiny

Under Tennessee law, a first time DUI offender must spend 48 hours in jail. But a drunk driver convicted of vehicular homicide may receive probation and avoid jail time. Memphis’ Commercial Appeal newspaper has reported three such incidents in which someone under the influence of alcohol who caused a fatal accident spent less time in jail than a first time DUI offender. Under the current law, a judge has wide discretion in sentencing based on a list of 24 factors. Not surprisingly, many find this to be convoluted and are calling for the legislature to fix the apparent loophole. 

Regardless of what the drunk driver is charged with, drunk driving accidents continue to be a problem on Tennessee roadways. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security publishes crash-statistics for alcohol-impaired driver crashes, and the counties with the top 5 crash rankings for 2008-2013 are:

1.       Trousdale County

2.       Decatur County

3.       Bedford County

4.      Perry County

5.      Lincoln County

And during the same time period, the big four counties performed as follows:

1.      Davidson County: 25

2.      Hamilton County: 44

3.      Knox County: 45

4.      Shelby County: 70

If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver and would like to discuss your incident with one of our award-winning lawyers in a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787. Click these links for more information on drunk driving accidents and dram shop cases. We handle all drunk driving cases on a contingency basis.

Another Cause of Impaired Driving: Hypothyroidism

We all know that drinking and driving is dangerous. The same is true about driving while under the influence of certain drugs including prescription medications. But, most people are not aware that certain medical conditions can impair driving ability. For instance, individuals diagnosed with epilepsy need to have their seizures well-controlled and meet certain criteria before they can be medically cleared for driving. Likewise, diabetics must carefully monitor their blood sugar or they can present a serious risk on the roadways. (In fact, one of our lawyers has successfully secured a seven-figure settlement in a car accident caused by a diabetic blackout.)   And now, we are learning that individuals with significant hypothyroidism can experience impaired driving similar to that of a driver under the influence of alcohol.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which an individual produces insufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone. The condition is fairly common and it can impair a number of bodily functions including brain function. According to a study recently released by the International Society of Endocrinology, untreated hypothyroid patients placed in a driving simulator performed similar to drivers with blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limits. Like any other medical condition, hypothyroid patients should talk to their doctor and ensure they are receiving appropriate medicine to combat the deficient levels of thyroid hormone so they do not present a risk on the roadways.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and would like to discuss your case for free and without obligation, contact one of our award-winning lawyers at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 or fill out this online form and we will be happy to call you. We handle all Tennessee car accident cases on a contingency basis which means we only get paid if we win. And unlike some lawyers, we advance all case expenses so you are never out of pocket any money to pursue your rights.

Defective Air Bags Affect Millions of Vehicles

If you have an airbag system in your vehicle, you likely take comfort in this additional piece of safety equipment. But because of a defect, your airbag may now present a serious risk of injury. Takata Corporation, a Japanese company, is the second largest manufacturer of vehicle safety equipment including airbags. But in the past several years, Takata has experienced problems with its airbags. The defective airbags can explode causing injury and even death. The explosions are different from an intended deployment in a crash. Instead, the defective airbags actually detonate and shoot shrapnel at drivers and passengers. In fact, in at least one incident, the metal ejected during the airbag explosion was so hot it set fire to the instrument panel and glove compartment of the vehicle. 

As a result, in recent days, Nissan and Honda have recalled more than 3 million vehicles because of defective Takata airbags, and Mazda has recalled a smaller number of vehicles. More recalls may be looming as Chrysler, Ford and BMW are investigating the issue in their vehicles. And, it is important to note that these recent recalls are in addition to earlier recalls involving millions of vehicles affected with the same airbag problem.

The cause of the explosions appears to be related to inadequate pressure and excess moisture during production of the airbags. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is, of course, investigating the problem and is also studying whether driving in high humidity presents an increased risk factor for the explosions, which is troubling news for Tennessee drivers as we enter the hot and humid summer months.  You can visit the NTHSA’s website to determine if you vehicle is affected by the recall and the steps to take to address the problem.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective airbag, you may have a product liability claim. If you would like to discuss your case with one of our award-winning lawyers, we would be happy to talk to you during a free, no-obligation consultation. Simply give us a call at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 or fill out this form and we will call you. We handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.

New iPhone App Prevents Texting and Driving

Yesterday, we told you about the alarming increase in texting while driving amongst teens. Today, we want to share with you some new technology to help combat this dangerous and deadly behavior. Earlier this week, a new app was released in the Apple store. The app completely disables an iPhone while driving. The app is called No Text and Drive and it uses GPS to sense when a vehicle is traveling in excess of 10 mph. At that speed, the app disables the iPhone and prevents a user from texting or making phone calls. (And for those of you who are wondering, you can still listen to music.) The app also has an override feature for when the user is a passenger and a parental feature that alerts parents when the app has been turned off. This is the first app of its kind in the app store, and since a whopping 61% of American teens own an iPhone, it could be an important weapon in the campaign to end texting and driving. 

Texting While Driving Now a Greater Risk to Teens than Smoking

The good news: teen smoking is down. In fact, it is at a 22 year low. The bad news: texting while driving is on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently released a new report which shows that 41.4% of students admit to texting and emailing while driving a car. Two years ago, the number was 32%. 

Car crashes remain the number one cause of death for teenagers. Texting or emailing while driving and inexperience can make a deadly combination. According to research, drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a driver who is undistracted. 

Through education, as a society, we have made some headway on the risks of smoking. And now, we must turn our focus on distracted driving. Here are some tips to help avoid this dangerous behavior:

1.       Put your phone where you can no reach it while you are driving;

2.      Turn notifications off so you are not tempted to respond to an incoming message;

3.      If you must respond to a text, ask a passenger to do it for you or pull over to a spot of safety;

4.      Talk to your teens about the risks and set a good example by not using your phone while driving;

5.      Use an app to auto-respond for you or to disable your phone while driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an car accident and would like to discuss your case with one of our award-winning lawyers, give us a call at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We handle all car accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.

By the way, smoking is still a bad idea.

Dog Bite Claims Continue To Rise

In 2013, the number of dog bite claims rose 5.5%, and in the last decade claims have risen more than 45%. Dog bite claims account for more than 1/3 of all homeowners’ claims, and in 2013 the average claim was $29,752.00. In total, insurance carriers paid out more than $438 million dollars in dog bite claims. Of course, the severity of a dog bite claim can vary greatly. Some victims get away with only a small bite or scratch. While other dog bite incidents should be more appropriately characterized as an attack given the substantial injuries suffered by the victim. 

At the Law Offices of John Day, our award-winning lawyers are experienced in dog bite claims and would be glad to talk to you about your case free of charge. We handle all dog bite cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you. So call us any time at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 or simply fill out this form and we will call you.

To learn more about Tennessee dog bite cases and Tennessee dog bite law, click on the links below:

Tennessee’s Dog Bite Law and Proving Your Case

Dog Bite Statistics

Damages Recoverable from a Dog Bite Case

Insurance in Dog Bite Cases

Preventing Dog Bites

On-Call Chauffeurs and Things You Should Consider Before Letting Them Drive Your Little Deuce Coupe, Little Red Corvette or your Hot Rod Lincoln

OK, I will admit it. I am a card-carrying member of AARP and I am proud of it – mostly because of the discounts I have enjoyed since qualifying for membership at age 51.   Earlier this week, while reading the AARP monthly magazine, I was alerted to the growing trend of on-call chauffeurs. Rather than using a taxi, the bus or Uber, etc., these on-call chauffeurs will drive you in your car.   While many of these companies are clearly trying to minimize drunk driving, they are certainly not limited to those situations. Over 600 such companies exist in over 46 states. In Nashville, our research revealed three on-call chauffeur companies: Guardian Angel Drivers, noDUIride and Scooter Squad.   Additional companies are located in Knoxville and Memphis. 

These on-call chauffeurs are fantastic to the extent that they prevent even one drunk driving accident. However, there are some things consumers should consider when using these services:

·       How are the drivers screened? Clearly, they should have a clean driving and criminal history?

·       Are the on-call chauffeurs insured and, if so, the amount of the insurance?

·       How does your insurance policy treat anyone driving your car with permission?

·       Do the chauffeurs actually have a chauffeurs’ license?

If you have been involved in a car accident and would like to talk to one of our award-winning lawyers in a free, no-obligation consultation, please call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787

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About John A. Day

I am a fifty-three year old lawyer who is fascinated by the law of torts. I have studied the field for over twenty-nine years. I represent plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

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