Volvo's Automatic Braking System for Semi-Trucks

Truck Accident Lawyer Michigan

Volvo Trucks Global is taking a step into the future with its new automatic braking system. The company has created a Collision Warning/Early Braking system for its trucks. This development, as detailed in Business Insider, is designed for trucks to brake automatically if they get too close to other vehicles in front of them. A sensor on the front “sees” the road ahead, and brakes the truck on its own, if it gets too close to the car in front of it. 
 
When braking, an alarm sounds and a display light activates on the dashboard, anticipating the truck’s sudden stop. The truck’s back taillights flash like hazards when the automatic braking system is in use, alerting drivers behind the truck, so that drivers behind can avoid a rear end car crash. All this for a truck carrying 40 tons of cargo!   

The primary goal of Volvo working to make automated features for semi-trucks is to increase auto safety. Hayder Wokil, Autonomous and Automated Driving Director for Volvo Trucks, said, “We are focused on solutions that can make difficult, repetitive and time-consuming tasks easier for all concerned.” The latest technological improvement will affect other drivers on the road, beyond just the truck drivers. In 2015, almost 64% of fatal crashes involving large trucks also involved two other vehicles, as found in an analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In other words, other drivers are at risk of injury or death from a semi-truck accident. Developments like automated truck brakes may improve the safety of truck crashes for all drivers. 
 
Worldwide, companies like Volvo are using trucks to minimize harvest damage that human-operated trucks create, utilizing automatic garbage trucks, and enlisting self-driving delivery trucks to bring packages to people’s doorsteps. With so many possibilities for advancement, the automated truck industry will likely see rapid growth in the coming years. It will be exciting to watch consumer fears grow into fascination, as more and more automotive companies focus on turning even the biggest trucks on the road into a safer form of transportation in the near future. 

Michigan Truck Accident Attorney

Volvo's automatic braking system for semi-trucks will make stopping suddenly much easier for truck drivers, helping drivers behind them avoid rear end car accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our skilled attorneys can tell you if you are eligible for any compensation under Michigan law. 

Daimler's Autonomous Future Truck

Visitors to The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may have been keeping up with news on autonomous technology from companies like Ford, Toyota, and Google. A company that we haven't yet mentioned however, is Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. Daimler is also a member of the autonomous car industry and was one of the first to begin the automated transportation revolution with its development of self-driving trucks. The world of semi-trucks was transformed with the creation of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck. The truck's design includes automated driving capabilities that will allow drivers to operate the heavy, cargo-bearing vehicle much more easily, efficiently, and comfortably. Diamler-created autonomous technology, called Highway Pilot, has set the Future Truck apart from competitors, allowing it to be the safest semi-truck of its kind. Daimler had previously planned to release the Future Truck in 2025, giving driver-less car onlookers a not-so-far away glimpse into what roads may look like in the near future.
 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Mercedes-Benz Highway Pilot Autonomous Technology


The Future Truck uses Highway Pilot software to autonomously control driving. Daimler envisions a workplace similar to a living room for truckers, where they can relax as they control driving with an iPad. Highway Pilot uses sensors to observe areas in front of the vehicle and to take over control in certain situations, such as during sudden stops. Highway Pilot allows the humans to do all the thinking, without incurring any risk, and leaves the driving to the truck itself. 

Another characteristic of the Future Truck is vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Self-driving trucks will be able to pull over for emergency vehicles or slow down with traffic congestion, using data from the inter-vehicle signals. The trucks will be also be able to switch lanes and react to broken down vehicles on the shoulder, even steering and braking through construction zones with the help of its communication features. 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Daimler has embraced the opportunity to transform the future of long-distance driving with the development of their Future Truck. Klaus Riff, Deputy Head of Prevention for G Verkehr–Transport Industry Professional Association, confirmed for Daimler that truck drivers face extreme demands everyday, due to factors like sustained attention, tight schedules, and high traffic density. Not only are individual drivers likely to benefit from automated technology, but entire business models will be rearranged. Business Insider mentions how labor costs will be controlled differently and workloads will be streamlined, affecting businesses and consumers with these steps towards more advanced trucks. 

Daimler's Highway Pilot technology was officially tested in October 2015 with the Mercedes-Benz Actros truck, making it the world's first series-production truck to operate autonomously on a motorway. A top German politician, Winfried Kretschmann, and Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Board Member of Daimler AG responsible for Trucks and Buses, rode on the maiden journey of the Mercedes-Benz Actros with the Highway Pilot system, further displaying Daimler's commitment to ease of driving and safety precautions.

Autonomous Truck Regulations

Automated trucks, just like autonomous cars, have not been developed without closely monitored regulations. Four states in the US currently allow the operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads under certain conditions. Those states are Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan. Europe has been facing more strict restrictions. Vehicle safety tests in the EU have been designed for cars with someone behind the wheel, meaning the Future Truck and other driver-less cars like it, fail these tests. Politico reported last year that there were no plans to review this law, setting Europe back from the US and other countries where autonomous driving has been tested on roads. 

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Additionally, policies have regulated truck driver workweeks, working to help reduce motor vehicle fatalities that drowsy driving from a combination of lack of sleep and long hours on highway roads may cause. Semi-truck drivers carrying cargo may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty, and according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), may only drive 60/70 hours on duty in 7/ 8 consecutive days. With the release of the Future Truck, truck drivers will be able to rest more often and therefore go longer distances in faster times. Human error will be minimized since trucks will be driving themselves. 
 
Daimler’s automated semi-trucks will soon be approaching reality after years of planning, and the world will finally experience a new type of long-distance travel. Planes, trains, and automobiles are all slowly becoming autonomous, and the transportation industry is just on the brink of a revolution. Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have been a step ahead of the pack, and only have to look eight more years ahead to see The Future Truck front and center. 

Source: Daimler


The future of semi-trucks is looking autonomous and automated. In the present time however, while trucks are still being operated by humans, automobile drivers should take caution  when driving near trucks, as their size makes it harder for them to react quickly to vehicles around them. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck or other large vehicle, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Tips On Driving During Heavy Winds and Storms

A couple of months ago, in February 2017, a semi-truck driving on a highway got caught in high winds and toppled over, landing on top of an unoccupied police cruiser. Fox News reported that the truck driver drove the semi after ignoring a high wind advisory banning commercial vehicles from that particular area of the highway, close to nearby Elk Mountain. Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Kelly Finn said that wind speeds were close to 70 m.p.h. at the time of the accident.  

While Michigan isn't currently experiencing such a magnitude of winds, forecasts expect thunderstorms for the rest of the week. This week's thunderstorms could deter Michiganders from driving to the beach or relaxing out on the porch. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC would therefore like to take the time to remind Michigan motorists how they can safely drive in severe weather conditions, including high winds and heavy rain. 

Michigan Bad Weather Car Crash Lawyer

Safety Tips for Driving In High Winds and Storms

In bouts of extreme weather, the first safety precaution drivers can take is to remain in a specific location, such as home, and avoid driving in dangerous situations completely. 

If venturing out into the bad weather is unavoidable, the Defensive Drivers Team suggests that drivers check local weather reports and take note of any high winds, blizzard, flooding, or other extreme weather advisories that have been issued in the areas they plan to drive in.

When driving in a storm, motorists should remember to pay close attention to the road. Drivers may better focus on the road by turning down the radio, silencing or ignoring cell phones, and properly securing any pets in the vehicle so they don't cause a disturbance. Minimizing these distractions keeps drivers alert for instances in which storm debris or trees may be blown into the driver's path. Drivers should also remember to keep their headlights on since storms typically darken the sky. 

In addition, drivers should give large vehicles such as semi-trucks, tractors, RVs, and buses more space, as these vehicles may be more difficult to control in extreme weather. No one can anticipate sudden gusts of wind, so driving slower than normal and making lots of extra space for other motorists on the road may help ensure motorist safety. Drivers should also take safer, local routes and avoid speedy highways, rocky terrain, and routes through infrastructure such as tunnels and overpasses, which can potentially be damaged during storms. 

As for driving in windy weather, head and tail winds, or winds coming from the front and back of a vehicle, are not too difficult to deal with. A slight adjustment in speed or acceleration may allow the driver to compensate for these winds. On the other hand, side winds are the ones that create the most trouble for drivers. If strong enough, these winds can blow a vehicle off course. In the event that a driver finds themselves caught in a side wind, they should remember to not panic or move the car too abruptly if they feel the vehicle being pushed in the other direction, and instead move smoothly and gently to stay on the road. 

Mountainous Road

Tips For Driving In Heavy Rain

High winds and storms also bring precipitation. Heavy rainfall or a large snow melt may cause puddles to form, many with depths too hard to judge from behind the steering wheel. RAC, a British automotive service company, warns, "If it’s clearly too deep for your car, find another way to your destination." Drivers might find themselves in a harrowing position if driving through a puddle that is particularly deep and may cause their car to float. Water can also cause a vehicle to stall or breakdown. It is important to ignore the urge to try and crank the vehicle back to life in order to avoid further damaging the engine. Instead, drivers should wait for a professional to arrive and attend to the vehicle. This might even serve as an alarm for other drivers to follow safety tips to possibly avoid a serious car accident. 

With the looming threat of thunderstorms in Michigan this week, drivers and passengers are encouraged to follow these extreme weather safety tips to stay safe and help prevent an accident like the one which occurred in Wyoming. It is difficult to predict what the sky will do next, but motorists should practice driving safely in extreme weather, in order to reach their destinations before the next lightning bolt hits. 


All motorists could benefit from paying attention to the road and heeding wind and storm advisories this summer. If you or a loved one have ever been in a car accident, caused by extreme weather conditions, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced attorney, today.

Teens Die Recording Facebook Live Video

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“Are you going live?” were the last words heard by Chaniya Morrison-Toomey, 19, before being fatally killed by a tractor-trailer, back in Decemeber 2016. Morrison-Toomey was riding in the passenger seat while her friend Brooke Miranda Hughes, 18, was simultaneously driving and recording a Facebook live video. The Times-Tribune reports that the Facebook video shows Hughes face before flickering lights flash within the car followed by the sound of screeching tires. Before the video ends, the sound of a man talking can be heard accompanied by a bearded face. 

The video was posted to Ms. Hughes profile, not by Ms. Hughes herself, and was viewed more than 7,000 times before being removed due to investigation. The video was not banned from Facebook because it did not violate Facebook rules of explicitly showing a violent death and/or suicide of a victim. 

Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer

Pennsylvania State Trooper Dave Peters speculates that the accident was caused by the teens driving on a spare tire, despite initial reports stating that the teen girls were driving on a flat tire. Due to the car catching fire, authorities are having a difficult time determining the original state the car was in before the accident and could not visually identify the teens. However, authorities did announce the girls dead at the scene. 

Unfortunate accident like these should warn drivers that distracted driving behaviors and un-maintained vehicles can lead to accidents. In order to avoid being involved in motor vehicle accidents, drivers should not text, use hand-held devices, and drivers and passengers alike should refrain from engaging in social media. Motorists should also keep up with regular car maintenance and in case of a flat tire or other emergency, work to fix the problem as soon as possible. 


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015 alone, 60% of people that were killed due to distracted driving crashes were teenagers. This is a statistic to keep in mind with summer break fast approaching leading to many teens hitting the road. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We help victims of negligent, speeding, and distracted driving cases identify and receive any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Call today, 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Walmart Truck Driver Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Homicide In Tracy Morgan Case

Tracy Morgan Walmart Truck Accident

Back on June 7, 2014, Tracy Morgan, actor and comedian known for his antics on the TV show Saturday Night Live and for his character Tracy Jordan, on the TV show 30 Rock, was involved in a truck accident with a few of his friends. The crash with a Walmart truck left Morgan with a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones including his ribs and caused him to be in a coma for 6 days. Morgan's friend, fellow comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, was killed in the truck crash. Now, two and a half years later, Morgan can finally put his truck accident behind him for good.

According to CNN, Kevin Roper, the driver of the Walmart truck, pled guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and four counts of third-degree aggravated assault in Middlesex County Superior Court, in New Jersey. Roper was responsible for crashing into Morgan's chauffeured limo on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury, New Jersey. At the time of the accident, Roper had been behind the wheel of the Wal-Mart truck after not sleeping in the past 24 hours. He had decided to drive 12 hours to work before starting his 14-hour shift, which according to federal regulations, which state that truck drivers should have at least 10 hours off in order to have enough time to sleep, is illegal. 

"Mr. Roper entered a guilty plea to certain counts of the indictment pending against him," Roper's attorney David Glassman told CNN in a statement. "In exchange, he was granted admission into the PTI program (pretrial intervention program)." By entering a 3 year PTI program Roper will be able to maintain a clean record, and the charges against him would be dismissed upon completion of the required 300 hours of community service while staying arrest free. 

Glassman’s own opinion of the court's decision was that the deal was "an exceptional result and opportunity given the serious nature of the charges and potential for far more serious outcomes. Kevin is grateful for this opportunity to get these charges dismissed and move on with his life."

Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer

As for Walmart's role in the crash, “Safety is the absolute highest priority for Walmart,” the retailer said in an emailed statement acquired by CBS New York. A Walmart company spokeswoman said that Roper’s truck was equipped with a system designed to slow its speed and notify him of stopped traffic ahead, but it is unknown if the system was working at the time. 

However, due to the notoriety of the accident, Walmart made an undisclosed settlement with Morgan back in May 2015. The only statement made about the settlement came from Morgan who said, "Walmart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably."

Tracy Morgan is currently on a comedy tour titled, “Picking Up The Pieces.” 


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 72,000 crashes and 800 deaths are attributed to drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel.  The CDC states that the warning signs of drowsy driving include lane drifting, frequent yawning or blinking, and difficulty remembering the last few miles. If any of these symptoms occur, it is best for drivers get to a secure location and rest until they are able to proceed to their destination. If you or anyone you know has been involved in an accident involving a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, please feel free to contact the Michigan Law Firm PLLC. Our attorneys are highly qualified in dealing with a variety of motor vehicle accidents. Call us today, 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

40 Car Pileup On I-96 Causes 3 Deaths

Around 9:30 AM on Thursday, December 8, 2016, Michigan's Livingston County Police dealt with a 40 car pileup that left 3 dead and 11 injured on the westbound side of I-96 between the the Okemos and Williamston exits. The pileup was a result of the recent snowfall causing whiteout conditions and had later frozen over the roads making them a hazard. 

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

“It was very chaotic for them to get to the victims to assess the situation,” Livingston County's Lt. Eric Sanborn said at a news conference.

When the police finally arrived to the scene, they found a semi-truck that had been jackknifed across the majority of the lanes on I-96. They counted about a dozen vehicles that were scattered across ditches. Some drivers were located on the median or shoulder of the highway and several dozen other vehicles were found to be severely damaged and had to be quickly removed from the road. 

Michigan Truck Accident Lawyer

The accident was so extensive, that the police closed down both the east and westbound lanes in order to rescue the cars that had slid into the median. Authorities also had to extend westbound I-96’s closure from M-59 to M-52 until later that evening, in order to properly remove the vehicles from the roadway. The eastbound expressway later opened for traffic at 2:50 PM.

Kathleen Gray, a Detroit Free Press reporter, was headed to Lansing, Michigan when she encountered the accident. She said the pileup caused "the most terrifying sound" she ever heard. Gray herself was almost hit by a tractor-trailer that skid on the ice behind her and was unable to flee due to traffic being at a standstill. "Fortunately, he was able to stop before plowing into me," Gray said, noting that "it probably took about an hour to get through the accident scene. Traffic was able to pull around the jackknifed tractor-trailer on the shoulder of the freeway."

With this recent snowfall and future ones in Michigan's forecast, drivers should let this accident serve as a grim reminder to drive slow, when there is snow.


As stated by the Free Press, the Michigan Department of Transportation announced that they, along with several road commissions and municipalities, will start using green lights on winter maintenance vehicles, which they hope will better catch drivers' attention and help reduce car crashes. No matter what precautions are taken however, car accidents are still always possible. If you or someone you know has been in an auto accident caused by hazardous weather conditions, please contact The Michigan Law Firm PLLC. Call us, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

United Kingdom May Legalize Self-Driving Semi-Truck Platoon System

The United Kingdom may have exited the European Union, but they are about to dive head first into the world of autonomous vehicles. There’s just one obstacle however: getting the government to go along with it. 

A proposal has been made, which would clear the way for self-driving truck technology called “platooning.” Platooning refers to multiple trucks being connected by wireless technology, similar to Wi-Fi, and following a manned lead vehicle in a tight convoy, thereby saving fuel economy and potentially manpower according to Quartz. This system was tested in April 2016 when dozens of trucks drove thousands of kilometers across Europe.

Autonomous Car Crash Lawyer

Approval of the platoon hinges upon the tweaking of Highway Code Rule 126, which states drivers must leave a two-second gap between their vehicle and the vehicle in front as a way to prevent rear ending a car. Quartz reports that the trucks which were tested in the April trials by automakers Volvo and Scania, were driven in platoons with gaps of less than one second between them. The benefit of these platoons is the reduction of “thinking distance” because the trucks further back in the convoy can react immediately to speed changes with the leading vehicle. Logic follows that the tighter the platoon, the less fuel is used and the less carbon is put into the air. 

“There is an opportunity to reduce the separation distance required between these vehicles, and hence to maximize the efficiency gains through reduced aerodynamic drag,” the government’s Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles said in a statement. 

Truck Accident Lawyer

Introducing these platoons aren’t the only technology-related changes the United Kingdom is exploring. The country wants to change laws which "would allow other technologies that are commercially available such as automated remote-control parking, and motorway assistance that would allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel temporarily." 


There are around 400,000 accidents involving semi-trucks annually in the United States. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an accident with an eighteen wheeler, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Collisions with large vehicles of any kind may result in severe and irreversible damage, leaving victims in need of medical attention and a way to pay to their bills. Our attorneys will fight to get you the help and answers you need. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Semi-Truck Crashes in Detroit, Spills 9,000 Gallons of Oil

Semi-Truck Crash Attorney

At approximately 8:45 a.m. on May 24th, 2015, an oil tanker blast occurred on a curved bridge where the I-75 meets the I-375 in Detroit, Michigan according to The Detroit News and WXYZ. The tanker was carrying 9,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline, which set fire and released a large amount of smoke into the air. The driver, Kai Moore, said his brakes had gone out, causing the tanker to roll on its side and catch fire. Initially, the fire caused an hours-long traffic jam along the freeway, and it is expected to be at least a five-day closure. 

Auto accidents happen on a regular basis, and sometimes like this situation, sometimes mechanical failures in the motor vehicle are involved in the accident. Unfortunately, Kai’s brakes allegedly stopped working and his semi-truck tanker ended up rolling over. Kai thought that it was amazing he survived. He also described the situation and how he reached safety. 

“When that tanker impacted the ground, it immediately caught fire. Fire came up into the cab, I was in my seatbelt, that's what held me. I had to climb out and run away from the fire and the fuel that was coming down the ramp.” Fortunately for Kai, he was wearing his seatbelt and because of this he was able to climb out of the tanker with minimal injuries. 

Motor vehicle safety is extremely important. Although Kai was involved in a crash, he was able to survive due to his seatbelt, and this demonstrates how crucial this safety is. Our firm has put together free resources to help those who have been injured in car accidents or would like to learn more about traffic laws, ways to keep safe on the road and how to seek treatment for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes.

If you have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, contact a lawyer at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our accident lawyers handle all types of personal injury cases. The Michigan Law Firm can help victims of car crashes deal with insurance companies and medical bills to ensure a peaceful and healthy recovery process. Call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation today.