Articles Tagged with Tennessee trucking lawyer

New data out from the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts puts data behind what those of us who practice tort law knew:  tort filings are down in Tennessee. 

The AOC’s Annual Statistical Report shows that tort filings for the one year period ending June 30, 2011 were 10,576.  Ten years ago, in the one year period ending June 30, 2002, there were  12,166 tort cases filed in the state.    

Total tort case filings in the six counties with the largest population were as follows: 

Truck drivers who text while on the road are now violating federal law.  On  January 26, 2010, the federal  Transportation Department  said  it is prohibiting truck and bus drivers from sending text messages on hand-held devices while operating commercial vehicles.

Tennessee banned texting while driving effective July 1, 2009.  

The Transportation Department said that "FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting.  At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.  Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers."

There was a big conference in Washington, D.C. this week that addressed cell phone use and texting and how these practice impaired a driver’s ability to focus on the safe operation of his or her vehicle.

The two-day summit  brought together safety experts, researchers, industry representatives, elected officials and members of the public to share their expertise, experiences and ideas for reducing distracted driving behavior and addressing the safety risk posed by the growing problem across all modes of transportation. 

Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood  announced new research findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that show nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured. On any given day in 2008, more than 800,000 vehicles were driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.  To further study how cell phone distraction affects commercial truck and motor coach drivers, Secretary LaHood also announced a new study the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is undertaking this month through June 2010. The study will help FMCSA better understand the prevalence of cell phone distraction in conjunction with crashes and near-crashes.

 The Tennessee Supreme Court has published a proposed re-draft of Rule 27, the rule which addresses the process of judical evaluation.  Set forth below is my letter to the Court that addresses one phrase in the proposed rule.  NOTE:  this letter was written in my individual capacity and not as Chair of the Tennessee Judical Performance Evaluation Commission.

I have read the draft of revised Supreme Court Rule 27 and offer one comment for consideration by the Court.  I respectfully request that the Court remove the phrase “In the face of society’s increasing litigiousness…” from the beginning of Section 1.03.  This statement is in essence of finding of fact that is unwarranted given what we know about our civil justice system in Tennessee.

Court filings in civil court of almost every type have decreased in Tennessee over the last three years.   According to the 2007-08 Annual Statistics Report, total Circuit Court filings in 2005-2006 were 65,039; in 2007-08 they were 62,204. Total Chancery Court filings in 2005-06 were 64,808; in 2007-08 they were 63,256.  The number of civil appeals and applications to the Court of Appeals in 2005-06 were 880; in 2007-08 they were 867.   Rule 9, 10, and 11 applications to the Supreme Court were 936 in number in 2005-06.  In 2007-08 there were a total of 843 of those applications.  The data for 2008-09 is not yet publically available.

The American Association for Justice has issued a report called "Warning!  Safety Violation Ahead."  The report reveals that "a new analysis of government data reveals that more than 28,000 motor carrier companies, representing more than 200,000 trucks, are currently operating in violation of federal safety laws."    The safety violations include "defective brakes, bad tires, loads that dangerously exceeded weight limits and drivers with little or no training or drug and alcohol dependencies."   The accompanying press release indicates that

AAJ obtained data on the safety performance of U.S. trucking companies through the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), which is maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).  Over a million lines of data were analyzed in an effort to pinpoint just how many unsafe trucks might be on the road.

Tennessee had 107 fatalies involving large trucks in 2007.  The country as a whole had 4808 fatalities and 142,949 non-fatal crashes involving large trucks.  You can access the national database by clicking here.   You can reach the Tennessee database by clicking here.  Trucking companies are listed by city.