The city of Birmingham is located in central Alabama and has a population of approximately 240,800 making it the largest city in Alabama. Birmingham is the county seat of Jefferson County. Birmingham is home to Birmingham-Southern College, Jefferson State Community College, Lawson State Community College, Samford University, Southeastern Bible College and University of Alabama at Birmingham. There are several trucking routes that run through Birmingham: Interstate 65 (I-65), Interstate 59 (I-59), Interstate 20 (I-20) and US 78. I-65 runs north to south from Indiana to Alabama. In Alabama I-65 travels through Athens, Kimberly, Birmingham, Hoover and Montgomery into Mobile where it meets Interstate 10 and ends. I-59 runs from Louisiana northeast to Alabama. I-59 passes through Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Fort Wayne before it runs into northwest Georgia. I-20 runs east to Georgia and turns into I-59 at Birmingham. US 78 travels southeast from Birmingham to Georgia and continues west from Birmingham through Carbon Hill and Jasper. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport provides air services to Birmingham.
Recent Truck Accidents in the Area
September 7, 2011 – I-65 about three miles south of the city limits
Mr. Jessie Williams Jr., 41, was killed in an accident with a tractor-trailer driven just outside of Clanton, Alabama. Mr. Williams ran out of gas and pulled his 2000 GMC truck onto the northbound side of the highway when it was struck by a truck driver driving a 1999 Freightliner.
Monitoring Roadside Hazards: Truck drivers are trained to look for disabled vehicles in and around the roadway. Because of the size and weight of a tractor-trailer, it takes several hundred feet to stop the vehicle at highway speeds. A truck driver has to be vigilant in looking for potential hazards in and around the roadway and adjusting his speed for the possibility of potential hazards. A truck driver knows to slow down whenever he sees hazard lights or brake lights up ahead of him. We have handled a number of accidents involving disabled vehicles struck by tractor-trailers. To view our case results, click here.
May 25, 2011 – Interstate 59
A family of Hurricane Katrina survivors was killed when their vehicle broke down in Argo, Alabama and was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer. The victims were Viola Smith, 41, her daughter Joan Smith, 22; her grandson Jayden Smith, five weeks, and another relative, 3-year-old Darrell Turner III, all of Chattanooga. Darrell’s mother and a 15-day-old infant survived the crash but are in critical condition.
Failure to Reduce Speed/Close Following Distance: Truck drivers have to manage space in front of them and to keep a diligent lookout for other vehicles in order to have sufficient time and space to stop for slowing traffic. Because of the weight of the tractor-trailer, a truck driver for a standard 60-foot tractor-trailer must keep a distance of 6 seconds from the vehicle in front of him at speeds under 40 mph. As the truck driver increases the speed, he/she must allow additional time to stop. At 55 mph, it will take a tractor-trailer about 450 feet to stop. The most common cause of truck accidents is the failure of the truck driver to allow enough time and space from the vehicle in front of him. The results of this error in judgment are usually catastrophic as the 80,000 lb tractor-trailer collides with the back of a stopped or slowing vehicle. This kind of rear-end accident is always preventable if the truck driver would simply follow standard guidelines for safe driving. We have handled a number of rear-end accidents involving tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles. You can click here to see our case results.
May 16 – Alabama Highway 157
Jewel Reeves Brock, a Hanceville woman, was killed instantly Wednesday evening, after a utility trailer being hauled by another vehicle detached and landed on her GMC Yukon. The accident occurred at approximately 5:08 p.m., when a single-axle utility trailer being hauled by Cullman resident Perry Latham came loose around the Lake Catoma bridge in the south side lane of Highway 157. Latham was driving a Ford F-150. The trailer struck the bridge and went airborne landing on top of the Yukon driven by Brock killing her instantly.
Proper Trailer Attachment: An F-150 pickup truck and trailer can be considered a commercial vehicle if the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer exceed 26,001 lbs. If the vehicle meets these requirements, it is subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. In most cases involving a pickup truck with a trailer, the trailer is usually attached with a pintle hook configuration. It is highly unlikely that the pintle hook failed without human error in coupling the trailer. As a commercial vehicle, the driver would be required to do a pre trip inspection, that if done properly would have prevented this tragedy. We have handled a number of cases involving mechanical issues with vehicles including trailers becoming detached from the towing vehicle. You can look at our case results by clicking here.
May 16 – Alabama 77 South, just inside the Clay County line
Alla Taylor from Talladega, Alabama woman was airlifted to Regional Medical Center in Anniston following a collision in Clay County, Alabama between her vehicle and a tractor trailer driven by Joel Jordan of Albertville. The truck driver thought that Taylor was turning right and attempted to pass her but Taylor instead was turning left and collided with the tractor trailer. Jordan’s vehicle was loaded with scrap metal for Lay’s Transportation in Guntersville.
Dangerous Passing Maneuvers: Truck drivers often are on tight schedules that interfere with good decisions. A truck driver must keep a vigilant lookout for passenger vehicles and cannot pass a vehicle unless it is safe to do so. A truck driver cannot pass a vehicle that has slowed to make a turn until the vehicle has made the maneuver. Even if the turning vehicle is indecisive or fails to signal properly, professional truck drivers are taught to anticipate such problems and to make sure the vehicle is safely out of the roadway before going around it. Truck drivers, like all drivers, cannot pass on a double yellow lane marking which signals that passing is prohibited.We have handled cases in the past involving dangerous passing or speeding on the part of the truck driver, and you can look at our past case results by clicking here.
Interstate trucking companies are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSR”), including trucking operations, driver qualifications, hours of service, maintenance of equipment, insurance, and alcohol and drug testing. Alabama also has state specific regulations governing intrastate trucking companies. Intrastate trucking companies pick up and deliver loads only in the State of Alabama and do not cross state lines. The Alabama Public Service Commission and the Alabama Department of Public Safety have established state specific regulations for intrastate carriers and have adopted many of the federal regulations as also being applicable to intrastate trucking companies. Under Alabama law, intrastate trucking companies must have minimum insurance of $100,000/ $300,000 in liability coverage. Under Alabama law, motor carriers are required to maintain and retain for a period of one year accurate and true records showing total number of hours that each driver is on duty per day and the time at which the driver reports for, and is released from, duty each day. The Alabama Public Service Commission has ruled that certain commodities are exempt from the jurisdiction of the Commission by the Alabama Motor Carrier Act, including many agricultural commodities.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a trucking accident, you should contact a trucking attorney at Fried Rogers Goldberg LLC as soon as possible to make sure that evidence is preserved and not destroyed by the trucking company. You can contact us by calling 877-591-1801 or clicking here to email us.