November 30, 2011

Feds Shut Down Maryland Trucking Company Due to Work and Driving Safety Hazards

How many large commercial trucks passed you on your way to or from work today? When a tractor trailer rumbles past you on the Baltimore Beltway or other Maryland highway, you probably don't think much about the driver's condition or the vehicle's maintenance record. You just assume the driver has had enough sleep and the truck itself is in good working order.

However the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does think about and regulate such highway driving safety issues.

The ability of big rig drivers to safely pilot large cargo-hauling trucks for long hours -- and the sound mechanical repair and maintenance of the trucks themselves -- directly impact the safety of both commercial truck drivers and the motorists who share the roads with them. This month, a Maryland trucking firm was ordered to cease operations immediately due to potential safety hazards.

The FMCSA issued a press release on Nov. 16, 2011, citing "Maryland-based Gunthers Transport, LLC an imminent hazard to public safety." The agency ordered the trucking company to immediately cease all transportation services, issuing an "imminent hazard out-of-service order against Gunthers following an exhaustive review of the company’s operations, which found multiple hours-of-service and vehicle maintenance violations."

As an experienced Baltimore County truck accident lawyer knows from work with clients in Maryland -- a commercial truck accident can be disastrous. The sheer size of these highway giants puts other motorists at a serious disadvantage when a commercial truck traffic accident with passenger cars occurs.

The FMCSA order to the Maryland trucking company prohibits them from operating within or outside the state of Md. The agency investigation cited the company for violations in several safety categories, including Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving, Driver Fitness, and Vehicle Maintenance.

Maryland work injury attorneys are familiar with Md. Workers Comp cases where drivers of commercial vehicles are injured during the course of their jobs. The U.S. Department of Transportation regulates how many hours commercial truck drivers may work before they are required to log out and take a break. This is not only for their own safety but for those of the driving public who share the highways, city streets and back roads with them.

The Baltimore Sun reported that federal transportation authorities only occasionally issue orders for a company to cease operation due to safety infractions. In addition, the Sun reported that the Maryland trucking company in question had been under investigation by the Federal authorities for two years. The Sun cites a case in 1995 where the truck company president had been fined $170K and ordered to 30 mos. in prison due to falsifying records.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney articles:

Maryland Car Accidents While at Work : How MD Workers' Compensation Works with a Motor Vehicle Accident Liability Claim

Truckers Reality Show Reveals Hazards of Big Rig Hauling -- On Any Road


Maryland Trucking Company Declared "Imminent Hazard to the Public," Ordered to Immediately Cease Operations
FMCSA Press Release Nov. 16, 2011

Md. trucking firm called 'imminent hazard,' ordered off roads
The Baltimore Sun Nov. 16, 2011

Maryland trucking firm called ‘imminent hazard,’ shut down
Fleet Owner Nov. 22, 2011

November 7, 2011

Working Overtime : Drowsy Driving a Serious Risk for Truckers and Other Maryland Motorists

Have you ever driven home from a long day at work or an evening engagement, yawning as the miles clicked by? Maybe you grabbed a cup of coffee to stay alert, or opened the car window to breathe some cold fresh air. Most Maryland drivers, if they're being honest, would admit to occasionally driving tired…when they'd prefer to be at home in bed, rather than navigating Baltimore County, Md. roadways.

This week is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. The AAA Foundation released a report that sheds new light on the problem of drowsy driving and risk of car accidents.

While nearly all Americans consider drowsy driving to be a serious safety hazard for themselves and other motorists (96% in the AAA study) -- one in three admits to driving drowsy recently. Those who admitted to driving fatigued weren't just talking about feeling a little bit tired: They said they had trouble keeping their eyes open on the road. In fact, the organization's research found that two out of every five drivers (41%) admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel, with one in ten revealing this had happened in the past year.

It's tough enough navigating Maryland's back roads, Baltimore city streets, and area bridges and highways without wondering if the driver in the next lane is awake.

The AAA and other driving safety advocates compare the symptoms of drowsy driving to those of drunk driving in terms of risk for serious and fatal auto accidents. For example, drowsy drivers experience problems with vision, judgment, and reaction time. They may miss their exits or become lost and confused.

The problem of driving drowsy is a concern for all U.S. drivers -- particularly those who drive for work in jobs that require long hours on the road. This includes sales people, commuters who travel long distances to their office jobs, and some contractors. Commercial truckers are at particular risk, given their long hours spent hauling heavy cargo across the state of Maryland and the country.

Catastrophic truck accidents can and do happen when a tractor-trailer driver takes his or her attention off the road, even for a second. This is why the U.S. Dept. of Transportation regulates how many hours truckers may drive before they are required by law to take a break. The Hours-of-Service regulations put limits in place for when and how long commercial motor vehicle drivers may drive.

AAA hopes to raise public awareness about the hazards of drowsy driving for all motorists. Their study found that one of every six fatal automotive crashes and one in eight crashes causing serious injury involved a drowsy driver. As Hunt Valley, Md. accident injury attorneys, we're well aware of the risks of driving in our state. Staying alert is the first rule of defensive driving.

AAA and the National Sleep Foundation recommend being aware of the warning signs that you're just too tired to safely drive…and planning ahead so that you're not getting behind the wheel when you should be getting under the covers. See links below for further discussion and suggestions.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:

More States Follow Maryland Ban on Texting While Driving


AAA Study: 1 in 3 Drivers Admit to Recent Drowsy Driving Nov. 7, 2011

How to Avoid Drowsy Driving (PDF brochure)
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
Hours of Service Regulations

National Sleep Foundation

May 11, 2011

Maryland Ford F-150 Driver Safety Alerts : Pickup Truck Airbags and Gas Tanks Under Investigation

The Ford F-150 pickup truck and its companions in the Ford F series have been dubbed by auto critics as the "best selling vehicles in the USA" for more than three decades. With its imposing grill and beefy demeanor, the Ford F-150 is a favorite choice of farmers, construction workers, and other drivers who enjoy a powerful pickup that can haul a good-sized load. But popular does not mean perfect, as evidenced by recent Ford F-150 truck safety concerns in the news.

If you're a Maryland driver of a Ford F-150 pickup truck -- be aware of two recent automotive safety investigations that may include your vehicle. Last month, an expanded recall went out for Ford F-150 pickup trucks (model years 2004 to 2006) because of reports the air bags could suddenly deploy without a traffic accident having taken place.

Now news reports state that NHTSA -- the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- is looking into more than 200 reports from consumers that their Ford F-150 gas tanks have fallen off. The problem, NHTSA asserts, may be that the steel straps holding the Ford F-150 gas tank in place could rust and break -- causing the potential for gas leakage and fire. Model years 1997 - 2001 are being investigated. Thus far no one has been injured or killed in a truck accident resulting from the Ford F-150 gas tank straps issue.

As experienced Baltimore County, Maryland truck accident injury lawyers, we pay attention to automotive product safety recalls and investigations such as those surrounding the Ford F-150 pickup truck.

No Maryland motorist wants to think about driving their car or truck on the Baltimore Beltway or across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and having their gas tank fall off and drag behind them in a trail of sparks. If you own or drive a Ford F-150 in Maryland, consult your Ford dealer regarding your vehicle and safety recalls or service bulletins. (See link below to page where you can search for safety notices related to your vehicle by VIN.)

Officials investigate fuel tank problem on F-150s May 9, 2011

Ford F-150 air bag recall expanded to 1.2 million trucks
Consumer Reports April 15, 2011

Questions and Intrigue After Recall of Ford F-150
The New York Times Feb. 24, 2011

Related Web Resource:

Ford, Lincoln & Mercury Recall Notices (vehicle owners may search by VIN)

Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:

Maryland Toyota Driver Safety Alerts: Gas Pedal Recall Extended to Additional Vehicles

January 7, 2011

Baltimore Beltway Traffic Accident Claims Life of Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver

A commercial truck driver was killed on a heavily traveled portion of the Baltimore Beltway earlier this week, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The newspaper stated that the fatal Baltimore County truck accident occurred around 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 4 on the Interstate 695 Inner Loop heading northbound, near Providence Road -- near one of the more heavily populated areas of the Baltimore Beltway. The truck driver reportedly struck a motor vehicle left unattended on the beltway shoulder and then hit a concrete abutment, before his truck flipped over. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Baltimore County, Maryland authorities were working to identify the truck driver killed.

Maryland State Police continue to investigate this fatal Baltimore traffic accident. It is unclear what if any role the unattended vehicle played in the factors leading up to this deadly commercial truck crash on I-695.

As a point of interest, 2010 Maryland Code considers any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer "[t]hat is inoperable and left unattended on public property for more than 48 hours..." to be an abandoned vehicle. Other circumstances may lead the state to consider a vehicle to be abandoned (see link to Md. transportation code language below).

Baltimore truck accident injury lawyers are familiar with Maryland state traffic laws and safety regulations designed to keep our highways safe for all drivers. Sadly, as in this case, a commercial truck driver out hauling a load doesn't make it to his destination.

Driver of tractor-trailer killed in accident involving unattended vehicle
The Baltimore Sun Jan. 4, 2011

2010 Maryland Code : Transportation Laws & Regulations

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Transportation Authority

Baltimore Beltway: Historic Overview

August 16, 2010

Truckers Reality Show Reveals Hazards of Big Rig Hauling -- On Any Road

The History channel is running its fourth season of Ice Road Truckers -- a reality show set in Alaska that follows a handful of steel-nerved truck drivers hauling heavy loads over mountains and frozen bodies of water. Their work is not for the faint of heart (to say the least), nor is watching them do it. They drive all night, for hundreds of miles, through blinding snowstorms, in sub-zero temperatures, up and down ice-covered mountain roads to deliver their cargo (which is often oversized and hazardous).

Driving conditions for the ice road truckers are extreme. However the show depicts some of the same commercial truck driving hazards that truck drivers and other motorists experience here in the Lower 48. Common causes of highway truck accidents in Maryland and elsewhere in the U.S. include:

  • Driver Fatigue (including driving without mandatory rest breaks)

  • Faulty or poorly maintained equipment

  • Difficulty breaking or swerving in time to avoid other motorists

  • Improperly secured cargo that may shift or become loose

Large Truck Accident Statistics
As Baltimore County, Maryland truck accident injury lawyers know, you don't have to be driving on an icy mountain precipice to be involved in a deadly highway truck accident.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2006, large trucks were involved in 368,000 traffic accidents. In those commercial truck accidents, 4,995 people were killed and 106,000 were injured. The DOT defines "large truck" as one that carries a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds.

The Maryland Department of Transportation reported that in 2003, there were 8,000,000 (that's 8 million) registered large trucks in the United States -- a figure expected to grow 70% to 80% in the next two decades.

U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, November 2007

Maryland Dept. of Transportation, Truck Parking Study, Jan. 2005

Related Web Resources Ice Road Truckers

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Rules & Regulations

Maryland Department of Transportation: Commercial Vehicle Operations

July 16, 2010

Maryland Highway Construction Worker Killed in Dump Truck Accident

The Washington Post reported that a construction accident near the Beltway claimed the life of a 27-year-old man from Bryantown, Maryland.

According to Maryland State Police, the traffic accident occurred early on July 15, 2010, on Pennsylvania Ave/Route 4 in Forestville, Maryland, near the Beltway. Reports state that a road construction worker was killed when he was crushed between two dump trucks. The victim was brought to a Prince George's County, Maryland, trauma center, where he died shortly after.

Prince George's County construction accident lawyers are well aware of the hazards to workers in and around highway and road construction zones. Road workers often perform their jobs at night, in narrow sections of the highway, with heavy construction vehicles moving closely alongside laborers on foot.

According to The Center for Construction Research and Training, highway incidents were ranked among the top causes of construction worker death in the U.S. in 2005, with transportation accidents amounting to 28.4% of all deaths from construction injuries. (Source: The Construction Chart Book, The U.S. Construction Industry and Its Workers, Fourth Edition, Dec. 2007.)

This Maryland construction truck accident is being investigated.

Man killed by dump trucks in Md.
The Washington Post July 15, 2010

Related Web Resources

The Center for Construction Research and Training

Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health

June 8, 2010

Maryland Work Injury Update: BLS Issues Revised Fatal Occupational Injuries Report -- Work Related Deaths on the Decline

Last fall, we posted a blog article on the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) preliminary results for its 2008 census of fatal occupational injury rates. The BLS recently released its final numbers, which were slightly higher than originally reported based on identification of new cases of work-related injuries and deaths. The final data offer the following insights regarding worker safety in the U.S.:

o A total of 5,214 work fatalities occurred in the U.S. in 2008 -- the lowest number of work-related deaths since the BLS began conducting its census in 1992. This represents a national fatal work injury rate of 3.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.

o Private industry construction accidents causing death have declined (975 deaths in 2008 -- 19% lower than in 2007); and the fatal work injury rate for this sector is down by 10%. However, even with these notable statistical gains -- which translate to lives saved -- construction remains one of the most hazardous forms of work, with a 9.7 fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 FTE workers).

o Fatal work-related highway accidents (including truck accidents) numbered at 1,215 -- 14% lower than in 2007 and the lowest since the census began in '92.

o Work deaths caused by falls amounted to 700 -- 17% lower than in 2007 (though the U.S. Department of Labor is advocating for greater slip, trip and fall prevention in the workplace; look for a future blog article on this issue. Falls from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, and other high elevations are a major cause of brain and spine injury in construction workers).

o One negative note: Workplace suicides were up to 263 cases -- the most ever reported.

Maryland Worker Injury Fatality Rates on the Decline
As fatal occupational injuries have declined across the U.S., Maryland has also seen reductions in work fatalities -- 60 work related deaths occurred in 2008, compared to 82 deaths in 2007 and 105 deaths in 2006. Causes of Maryland work-related deaths include transportation and trucking accidents, falls, contact with objects or equipment, exposure to harmful substances, as well as assaults and other acts of violence.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland work accident lawyer, I have worked with individuals and families who have experienced these types of work-related injuries and fatalities. Often people hurt at work are unsure what to do and whether to file a Maryland Workers Compensation claim along with a possible lawsuit. Which is why it's so important to contact an experienced work injury attorney if you're hurt in course of performing your job in Maryland, or if a family member is killed due to a work accident.

For more on this issue, read my blog post on Maryland Workers' Compensation Liens and Construction Accident Injury: "Can I File a Work Comp Claim AND a Third Party Lawsuit?”


Revisions to the 2008 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) Counts (PDF)
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 22, 2010

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (Current and Revised data)
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fatal Occupational Injuries in Maryland
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Related Web Resources

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (homepage)

April 19, 2010

Trailer Truck Driver Killed in Maryland Accident When Cargo Slips and Falls

An industrial truck driver hauling cargo in Maryland was fatally injured when granite countertop slabs he was unloading from the back of a flatbed truck slipped and fell on him. According to news reports, the fatal industrial truck accident occurred Monday in Hanover, Maryland. The Baltimore Sun reported that the driver, a 41-year-old man from South Carolina, was delivering slabs of granite to a countertop company. As the driver unloaded his cargo, the granite slabs slipped and fell on him, killing him.

Anne Arundel County, Maryland police responded to the truck accident scene and identified the victim. The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Department is reportedly investigating this construction work-related accident.

A Maryland construction accident lawyer may be consulted by workers or their families when injury or death occurs due to a work accident.

Maryland Workers Compensation claims are often part of such construction injury or death cases.

Maryland Construction Accident Fatalities : Labor Statistics
In Maryland, 59 people died in work related accidents in 2008. According to the national Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number-one cause of construction work related deaths in Md. involves transportation -- whether highway transportation and/or hauling freight, such as in this case, or nonhighway transportation, with vehicles moving on a construction site. Construction transportation accidents also include pedestrian accidents where a construction worker is struck and killed by a vehicle on the construction site.

(Source: National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2008, United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aug. 20, 2009)

South Carolina man identified as victim in Hanover industrial accident
The Baltimore Sun April 13, 2010

Local Truck Driver Killed in Industrial Accident April 13, 2010

Related Web Resources

Maryland Dept. of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

March 10, 2010

Family of Cyclist Killed in Baltimore Truck Accident Files $5 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of a bicyclist killed in a Baltimore, Maryland traffic accident last year is seeking damages against the driver and owner of the truck involved in the fatal accident.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the fatal truck accident took place on August 4, 2009. News reports state that a 67-year-old man, who was riding his bicycle south on Maryland Ave. behind a loaded fuel tanker, became caught in the truck's wheels as it made a right turn onto Lafayette Ave. The man was run over and died at the traffic accident scene. A wrongful death civil lawsuit on behalf of the deceased man's family has been filed in Baltimore Circuit Court seeking compensatory damages again the truck driver and the trucking company.

A spokesperson for the Baltimore police had previously stated that their investigation indicated the bicycle rider was at fault. No charges had been filed at that time against the truck driver, who did not stop following the traffic accident.

A Baltimore truck accident injury lawyer has knowledge of Maryland traffic laws in regards to proving liability when someone is injured or killed in an accident involving a large commercial vehicle — which outweighs the average passenger car by several tons.

Pedestrians, bicyclists (pedacyclists), and motorcycle riders who share Maryland's streets and highways with semi-trucks, tanker trailers, and other large commercial trucks are vulnerable to catastrophic injury (including brain and spine injury) and death, when an accident with one of these enormous vehicles occurs.

Family of bicyclist killed in city accident files $5 million lawsuit March 5, 2010

Related Web Resources

Maryland Bicycle Safety Laws

Maryland Bicycle Safety: Things to Know

December 21, 2009

New Year's Eve and Other Holiday Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Maryland

With the holiday season in full swing, everyone is scrambling. There's last-minute shopping, preparing for holiday parties and feasts, wrapping up year-end projects at work -- and increased travel by air, rail, and road. Unfortunately, drunk driving car accidents are also part of the holiday picture in Maryland and around the country.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that state law enforcement across the country will be cracking down on drunk drivers this holiday season, with the "Over the Limit, Under Arrest" campaign. People who overindulge in alcohol at family gatherings, work parties, New Year's Eve celebrations, and other holiday get-togethers pose a risk of serious personal injury (including debilitating brain or spine injury) or death to themselves and others. Nationally, 13,470 people were killed in 2006 in alcohol-related traffic accidents.

Maryland Drunk Driving Statistics and Holiday Traffic Accidents
Baltimore County, Maryland car accident lawyers know the human stories behind the statistics. In Maryland, 189 people died in drunk-driving accidents in 2006. And while the Maryland state rate of drunk-driving accident fatalities has been on the decline in recent years (178 deaths in 2007 and 152 in 2008 -- a decline of 12.5%), we know that even one death is one too many. (Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland, 2004 - 2008).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nationally, more fatal drunk-driving car crashes occur at night (36%) and on the weekend (31%) -- just when holiday parties are most likely to be held. In Maryland, we have snow, ice, and the rest of winter's fury adding to the hazards on our roads and highways.

So please: Drive sober, within the speed limit, and defensively this holiday season -- and be alert if you're coming home from a party. The night-time fatal drunk driving accident rate is four times higher than the day-time rate (9%). That's a sobering figure to keep in mind when you're driving to or from your destinations this holiday season. (Source: Traffic Safety Facts 2006 Data, Alcohol-Impaired Driving, NHTSA)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Intensive Holiday Drunk & Impaired Driving Crackdown & Advertising Blitz
NHTSA Press Release, Dec. 7, 2009

Fatalities and Fatality Rates in Alcohol- Impaired-Driving Crashes by State, 2007-2008 (download PDF)
NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts: Research Note, Dec. 2009

Related Web Resources

Over the Limit, Under Arrest 2009 Campaign

Maryland Department of Transportation: Traveler Alerts

December 10, 2009

Pedestrian Killed in Baltimore County, Maryland Tanker Truck Accident at I-695

A fatal pedestrian accident took place this past weekend in Baltimore County, Maryland, involving a tanker truck.

Maryland State Police reported that on Saturday morning, a pedestrian stepped into the path of an Exxon tanker truck at Harford Road and Interstate 695. The man, a 57 year old resident of Parkville, Md., died of his injuries at the scene. The Baltimore Sun reported that alcohol was not a factor in this fatal Maryland truck accident. No further details were available.

Baltimore County truck accident attorneys are familiar with regulations in place governing the safe operation of commercial vehicles, such as tanker trailer trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is part of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, works to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

The FMCSA reports on its Safety Tips for Pedestrians website that pedestrians are at "a major disadvantage" when crossing roads and intersections where large commercial trucks and buses travel. Pedestrians may not always be visible to drivers of large commercial vehicles, which take longer to brake and stop than automobiles.

Police identify pedestrian killed by tanker truck Dec. 7, 2009

Related Web Resources

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

FMCSA: Safety Tips for Pedestrians

Maryland State Police

December 3, 2009

Maryland Chain Reaction Car Accident Kills Pedestrian, Injures 3 Others

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, police reported that a fatal car pedestrian crash occurred Mon. Nov. 30 in Severna Park, Md.

The deadly car and pedestrian accident took place around noon on Ritchie Highway near Cypress Creek Rd. According to news reports, a Chestertown woman, age 64, and a man, age 43, from Arnold, Maryland, were standing next to a minivan that had stopped because of a motor vehicle accident. A Jeep Cherokee driven by an 18-year-old man crashed into a vehicle stopped at a traffic light, setting off a four-vehicle chain reaction that pushed into the two bystanders. The woman pedestrian died of her injuries and three other people suffered personal injuries.

Maryland pedestrian accident lawyers are well versed in state driving laws and issues surrounding driver liability, when a serious car or truck accident occurs and someone is hurt or killed on our state's roads and highways.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), though car-pedestrian fatalities decreased by 13 percent from 1997 to 2007 -- still 4,654 pedestrians lost their lives on U.S. roadways in 2007. Most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas, at night, under normal weather conditions, and where walkers are not in crosswalks. (Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2007 Data: Pedestrians)

No further details were available on this fatal Anne Arundel County, Maryland car and pedestrian accident.

MARYLAND: Pedestrian killed in 4-car crash
Associated Press Dec. 1, 2009

Related Web Resource
NHTSA Pedestrian Portal

November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Traffic Accidents a Concern for Maryland Police: Add Increased Travel, Alcohol & Wildlife to the Mix

This Thanksgiving, as is the case every holiday season, law enforcement will be on the lookout to pull over speeders, reckless drivers, and drug- and alcohol-impaired drivers to prevent Maryland car accidents.

Though 2008 saw a decline in Thanksgiving travel, gas prices have stabilized to a level more drivers can live with, and the AAA predicts an uptick in holiday travel this year. That means more cars on Maryland's roads and highways as people travel to and from our fair state to visit family. Other factors contributing to danger on Maryland roadways this holiday season:

> County and wildlife experts report that deer-vehicle collisions in Maryland occur in the thousands every year. Exact numbers are hard to gauge, as it's unknown how many deer-car crashes occur that don't get reported. Deer in the roadway are a concern for holiday drivers, particularly as dusk comes earlier with the days getting shorter, and animals are active at dawn and dusk.

> Thanksgiving, football, and alcohol go together like turkey and stuffing. Unfortunately, all that merry-making can turn lethal when someone who's had too much holiday cheer picks up the keys and hits the road. Fatal drunk driving accidents ended the lives of 179 people in Maryland in 2007 (Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2004 - 2007).

As Baltimore County car accident lawyers, we've seen how families can be torn apart when someone drinks and drives on the holiday or any other time in Maryland. A serious motor vehicle accident doesn't just ruin someone's holiday dinner. It can end a life or cause permanent, debilitating injury, such as brain and spine injury.

Whether you drive a motorcycle, car, truck or SUV -- be safe out there this holiday season and avoid accidents. Take your time, drive defensively, be aware of what's around you, and don't give Maryland police a reason to pull you over.

AAA Thanksgiving travel forecast: Highways more crowded on Yahoo! Finance Nov. 18, 2009 Assessment of Deer Vehicle Collisions in Maryland

Related Web Resources

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

St. Mary's County Dept. of Public Works, Maryland: Deer Safety

November 17, 2009

Johns Hopkins, Baltimore Student Hit and Run Death: Police Review 911 Call Made Before Fatal Pedestrian Accident

The Baltimore Sun reports that city police are reviewing a 911 call placed shortly before a Johns Hopkins University student was killed in a fatal hit-run pedestrian accident in Baltimore City, Maryland.

On Friday Oct. 16, 2009, in the mid-afternoon, neuroscience student Miriam Frankl, age 20, was attempting to cross St. Paul Street at University Parkway when she was struck by a pickup truck. The driver in this fatal Baltimore City pedestrian - pickup truck accident fled the scene. Ms. Frankl suffered serious head wounds and died of her injuries at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police later apprehended and charged Thomas Meighan Jr. of Carroll County, Maryland, in relation to the death of Ms. Frankl. News reports state that Mr. Meighan has a lengthy history of drunk driving traffic violations in Maryland, including another DUI hit-and-run arrest in Northwest Baltimore this past summer.

Police are now reviewing a 911 call from a man who wanted to report a white pickup truck driving in Baltimore City erratically about 90 mins. before Ms. Frankl was struck and killed. The Sun reports the transcript reveals initial confusion between the caller and police dispatcher, then apparently a decision was made that a cruiser would not investigate (see link below to 911 call transcript).

Maryland Pedestrian Fatalities and Drunk Driving Statistics
Baltimore City wrongful death lawyers may be consulted by individuals and families who suffer personal injury or lose someone they love because a driver got behind the wheel intoxicated, without regard for public safety. Some sobering facts:

> 116 people in Maryland lost their lives in fatal pedestrian traffic accidents in 2007.

> Over one-third of all fatal Maryland car accidents involved alcohol-impaired driving in 2007 (179 out of 614 traffic deaths).

(Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2003 - 2007.)

Police to review 911 call in student's death Nov. 13, 2009

Driving down the road to ruin Nov. 1, 2009

Related Web Resources

JHU family celebrates student’s life
The JHU Gazette Nov. 9, 2009

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

November 9, 2009

Transportation Among Top Causes of Fatal Maryland Work Accidents (but Occupational Death Rates Are Down)

What would you guess are among the most dangerous jobs in Maryland? Construction? Roofing? Electrical work? You'd be right on all those counts, but some of the top causes of fatal occupational injuries in Maryland may come as somewhat of a surprise. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the 59 people who lost their lives due to work-related accidents in Maryland in 2008...

> Transportation accidents (which include air, rail, highway transportation including freight trucking accidents, nonhighway transportation, and being struck and killed by a vehicle, e.g., construction site worker pedestrian accidents) accounted for 17 deaths;

> 9 fatalities resulted from Assaults and Violent Acts (including self-inflicted injury);

> 12 were victims of Falls;

> 10 died due to Contact with Objects or Equipment;

> and another 10 perished due to Exposure to Harmful Substances.

Maryland Occupational Injury Death Rates Decline
The good news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is fatal occupational injuries are down across the United States, including significant reductions in Maryland (59 work related deaths occurred in 2008, compared to 82 deaths in 2007 and 105 deaths in 2006).

Total U.S. workplace deaths in 2008 amounted to 5,071 -- down from 5,657 in 2007. Deaths from falls -- a major hazard for construction workers -- were down, as were fatal transportation accidents. Workplace homicides declined, but sadly, workplace suicides went up in 2008. The BLS reports all these numbers are preliminary, and final figures will be made available in April 2010.

As Maryland Work Injury Lawyers, we have seen all these types of work-related injuries and fatalities. Many families are unaware that they may be entitled to Maryland Workers' Compensation benefits even after their family member has died. That is why it is so important to contact an experienced Md workers' compensation attorney to find out what benefits you may be entitled to -- before accepting an offer from the employer or speaking to their attorney or insurance company representative.

United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aug. 20, 2009

Maryland Division of Labor and Industry
Fatal occupational injuries by industry and event or exposure, Maryland, 2006 (XLS doc)

Related Web Resources

Maryland Division of Labor and Industry Research and Statistics
Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities

October 23, 2009

Student Killed in Baltimore Hit and Run Pedestrian Accident; Carroll County Truck Driver Questioned

Baltimore City Police have questioned a Carroll County, Maryland man regarding a truck involved in a hit-and-run pedestrian accident that killed a Johns Hopkins University student. According to news reports, the 20-year-old victim was crossing the 3500 block of St. Paul Street at University Parkway when she was struck by a white Ford F-250 pickup truck traveling at a high rate of speed. She later died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The vehicle involved in this Baltimore hit-run truck accident sped off, however a witness took down the Maryland license plate number. That and news reports informing the public to keep a lookout helped police locate the vehicle. Police have questioned but not arrested a Carroll County, Maryland man, who has a lengthy history of traffic offenses, including 4 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests going back to the mid-1990s.

The individual being questioned has another DUI trial coming up in Dec. for an incident that occurred in July. He is charged with multiple offenses, including reckless driving and failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury or death.

Maryland Pedestrian Traffic Accident Statistics
Baltimore pedestrian accident lawyers often work with individuals and families when someone is injured or killed due to negligent, reckless and/or impaired driving. In 2007, pedestrian traffic accidents took the lives of 116 people in Maryland -- the highest number in five years. Of the total 614 Maryland traffic fatalities for 2007 -- 179 involved alcohol-impaired driving (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2003 - 2007).

Baltimore City Police continue to investigate this fatal Maryland traffic accident and have not arrested the Carroll County truck driver, who remains "a person of interest."

Police: Owner of truck in hit-and-run is 'person of interest'
Carroll Eagle, Oct. 21, 2009

Hit and Run Death Reveals Disturbing Past Oct. 21, 2009

Hopkins student dies of injuries Oct. 18, 2009

Related Web Resources

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore Police Department

October 14, 2009

Harford County, Maryland Motorist Killed in Tractor Trailer Truck Accident on Pulaski Highway

The Baltimore Sun reported that a semi truck driver faces multiple charges after a deadly Maryland highway truck crash that took the life of a 57-year-old woman from Edgewood.

The fatal SUV - truck accident occurred Sunday in the early morning hours on Pulaski Highway in White Marsh, Maryland. According to news reports, the woman's 2003 Chevy Tracker SUV was struck by a Kenworth semi truck, which entered the highway from Stevens Rd. The victim died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where her husband remained in critical condition. The truck driver, from Virginia, will face a number of charges. No further details were available on this fatal accident.

Another semi truck accident involving two tractor trailers and a pickup truck took place in Frederick County, Maryland, on Tues., closing down the eastbound side of I-70 near Bill Moxley Rd. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in this multi vehicle accident, which involved a semi truck jackknifing and spilling a haul of metal railing into the highway. A second tractor trailer struck the roadway debris, rupturing the truck's gas tank. A Chevy pickup truck was also involved in this Maryland highway accident. The cause of the first truck's jackknife has not been reported.

Harford County, MD truck accident lawyers are well versed in the laws and safety regulations governing the operation of these mammoths of the highway. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has 100s of specific safety regulations in place pertaining to the operation of large commercial trucks. Excessive speed and lack of sleep sometimes contribute to these deadly tractor-trailer accidents. In addition, using cell phones and texting while driving have become critical safety concerns in the United States. (See link to Distracted Driving Summit, below.)

One killed in truck-SUV crash in White Marsh
The Baltimore Sun Oct. 12, 2009

Police investigating fatal collision in White Marsh
The Baltimore Sun Oct. 11, 2009

Accident closes eastbound I-70 in Frederick County Oct. 13, 2009

Related Web Resources

United States Department of Transportation:

Federal Highway Administration Safety Program

Distracted Driving Summit

October 7, 2009

Deterring Baltimore County Traffic Accidents: Speed Camera Laws Go Into Effect

The Baltimore County City Council passed an act concerning speed cameras designed to thwart motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents that occur in school zones. Bill 61-09 Speed Monitoring Systems, which went into effect Oct. 1, 2009, authorizes county law enforcement, in consult with other agencies, to use and enforce citations issued by speed monitoring systems in school zones.

The bill defines "speed monitoring systems" as "a device with one or more motor vehicle sensors producing recorded images of motor vehicles traveling at speeds at least 12 miles per hour above the posted speed limit." Drivers will be subject to a $40 fine. An amendment to the bill limits the number of cameras to 15. The one councilor who dissented felt that more police -- not speed cams -- was a better way to address the problem.

In addition to the county bill targeting speeders in school zones, a separate state law now allows speed cameras at work zone sites; two have been placed in Baltimore County -- one on I-695 at Charles Street and another on I-95 between I-895 and White Marsh Blvd.

Baltimore County car accident lawyers may provide legal assistance in cases where serious car crashes, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and truck accidents occur due to drivers speeding through school and work zones -- where people on foot are moving in and out of the roadway.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that school zones as well as construction work sites are particularly hazardous areas when motor vehicles travel too fast. The Council estimates that every year, some 15,000 people perish and hundreds of thousands suffer personal injuries due to motor vehicles speeding in these high foot-traffic areas. Children getting on and off school buses are especially vulnerable, as are road workers and police who direct traffic at work sites.

Two speed cameras will operate in Baltimore County starting today Oct. 1, 2009

School speed cameras get Balto. County nod Sept. 9, 2009

Related Web Resources

Legislative Session 2009, Legislative Day No. 13
Bill No. 61-09 (PDF file)

Safe Speed - Automated Enforcement Program
Baltimore County, Maryland

Baltimore County Police Department: Speed Cameras

September 2, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Crackdown: Maryland Drunk Driving Accident Prevention

Labor Day traditionally heralds the end of summer. It's an opportunity for family and friends to get together one more time before diving back into the fall season's school-and-work grind. Not surprisingly, this long holiday weekend typically sees a spike in alcohol-related traffic accidents nationwide.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is ramping up its public awareness safety campaign in an effort to reduce the number of Labor Day car, truck, and motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities. Called "Drunk Driving: Over the Limit, Under Arrest," the campaign brings together law enforcement and public safety advocates to drive home the message that drunk driving is not an accident, nor is it a victimless crime.

The DOT reports that last year, 40% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents that occurred over Labor Day weekend were due to drinking and driving. Law enforcement will be cracking down on impaired driving this holiday weekend for drivers of all types of vehicles including motorcycles, cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks.

NHTSA reports that in 2007, some 13,000 people were killed in highway crashes involving drivers or motorcycle riders whose blood-alcohol levels were .08 or higher, above the legal limit set in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico. The agency wants to get the message across that drunk driving deaths can be prevented if people take precautions, such as designating a sober driver when they plan on consuming alcohol.

Maryland Drunk Driving Fatality Statistics
In Maryland, 179 people died in 2007 in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Though any death due to drunk driving is one death too many, the number in Maryland is down from a five-year high of 211 drunk driving deaths in 2004--in part thanks to law enforcement and public awareness safety campaigns such as this one (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland 2003-2007). Too often, Maryland car accident lawyers witness how families' lives are changed forever when a party-goer drinks too much and gets behind the wheel. Be safe this Labor Day weekend. It's supposed to mark the end of summer -- not someone's life.

Stop Impaired Driving: Campaign Headquarters

Law Enforcement August/Labor Day Crackdown: Fact Sheet

Related Web Resources

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD):
Law Enforcement Officers Prepare for Labor Day Weekend

Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP):
Sober Ride Program

August 25, 2009

Maryland Highway Traffic Accidents Alert: Loading up for Back to College

We started seeing them around the middle of August: Pickup trucks with open flatbeds overflowing with randomly packed furniture (often an old couch poised precariously). Vehicles with luggage, boxes, and all sorts of things loosely strapped to roof racks and flapping in the breeze. Pieces of all of the above on the side of the highway -- and sometimes in the roadway itself.

Then, there are the cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs that go whizzing past you with the backseats, hatchbacks, and passenger compartments filled above the window tops with stuff. It's amazing there's any room for the driver.

It's the start of the annual back-to-school pilgrimage made by students attending college or university in Baltimore, Maryland and across the mid-Atlantic. And you don't have to be a Maryland car accident attorney to know an accident waiting to happen when you see it. The fact of the matter is poorly secured loads on the outside of vehicles, as well as unsecured cargo inside the car, are a real hazard to motorists on our nation's highways.

Unsecured Cargo and Auto Accidents
Poorly secured items on the exterior of the vehicle may suddenly break loose, becoming projectiles on the highway, potentially causing a fatal car crash. These hastily done packing and tie-down jobs can also cause accidents after the fact, when items that have fallen from a truck bed or roof rack land in the road and become road debris, and are struck by an unsuspecting motorist, who then looses control of their vehicle.

Likewise, anything in the cargo or passenger area of a car, if not secured, can become a dangerous projectile that could hurt the car driver or passengers in a serious car accident. Research findings presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at the University of Baltimore in 2004 showed that even seemingly harmless objects such as text books can cause personal injury or death when a serious car accident occurs. NHTSA writes:

Unsecured cargo is also a potential injury source - e.g. text books, portable DVD players, golf clubs, softball equipment, water heaters, laptops, bowling balls, etc. (NHTSA, Crash Assessment for Field Triage “Rules and Exceptions”, Nov. 4, 2004)

So when you or your kids pack up for college, please take special care and make sure everything is secure on the inside and outside of your vehicle -- for the sake of the driver, his or her passengers, and the lives of the other motorists sharing Maryland's highways.

Related Web Resource
NHTSA, Crash Assessment for Field Triage, “Rules and Exceptions”, Nov. 4, 2004