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3 Ways to Fight a BUI Charge in Tennessee

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Knoxville BUI defense attorneyBoating on Tennessee’s lakes and rivers can be a lot of fun. Whether you are cruising around on a speedboat or trying to catch some catfish from a small fishing boat, spending some time on the water can be very relaxing. Many boaters like to bring along a few alcoholic beverages, maybe a cooler of beer or some champagne to celebrate on a larger boat. While it is legal for adults over 21 years old to enjoy an alcoholic drink on a boat, it is not legal to operate the boat while intoxicated. 

The rules that apply to driving a car on land largely also apply to boats on the water. However, there are a few defenses available to boaters that are not available to drivers. If you have been charged with a BUI, it is important that you take the charge very seriously. It could lead to jail time. 

3 Defenses That May Help Only BUI Defendants

The laws regarding alcohol on boats are very different from the laws regarding alcohol in a vehicle on land. It is illegal to drive with an open container, but this law does not apply to boats. Defense strategies to BUI may include: 

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Knoxville DUI Defense AttorneyGetting arrested for a first-offense DUI can be a very startling experience. Especially if you have never been in trouble with the law before, you may be very confused about how to proceed from here. You probably know that you cannot ignore the charge - it must be addressed one way or another. Navigating the legal system and trying to keep your driving privileges can be a confusing process. It is best to have experienced legal counsel by your side before you begin. Calling a lawyer and talking about your case may be the last thing you feel like doing right after you leave jail, but it is extremely important that you do. Quick action is necessary to potentially avoid a license suspension. 

What Should I Do After a DUI Arrest?

Do not put off handling your case. The sooner you react and begin taking steps to address your charge, the easier this process may be. After a DUI arrest, make sure to:

  • Request a hearing - You have just ten days after your arrest to request a hearing with the DMV about your driving privileges. If you do not, your license will be suspended and you will not be able to drive at all. At this hearing, you will have the opportunity to argue that you can safely keep driving, generally with an interlock and other restrictions. 
  • Show up - If you were given a court date, it is absolutely critical that you show up for it. If you do not show up, a bench warrant will be issued for failure to appear, and you will be on your way back to jail, possibly with an additional charge. 
  • Seek treatment - If you are struggling with substance abuse issues that led to your arrest, this is a good time to consider seeking treatment. If you are sober, you are unlikely to repeat the offense. 
  • Vehicle retrieval - If your vehicle was seized and impounded at the time of your arrest you will want to make arrangements to have it returned as soon as possible. Impound lots typically charge by the day and can become quite costly.
  • Call a lawyer - One of the most important things you can do after a DUI arrest is to secure legal representation. Trying to fight a DUI on your own can be extremely difficult. An attorney who has experience with DUI cases will be better able to develop a defense strategy that could include highly technical arguments related to chemical testing. 

Also, try to remain calm. Getting charged with a DUI can be nerve-wracking, but your situation is not hopeless. 

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Knoxville Truck Accident LawyerAccidents involving semi-trucks can be particularly dangerous just due to the sheer size of these vehicles. An out-of-control big rig is quite likely to cause a crash involving multiple vehicles, especially when the accident happens at high speeds on a freeway. Sadly, people can lose their lives in these devastating accidents. Wrongful death actions in addition to personal injury accidents are all too commonplace following semi-truck crashes. 

If you have experienced a serious motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to recover damages for your own injuries or the death of an immediate family member. While it may seem difficult to move forward after such a traumatic event, it is important that you do not wait too long to contact an attorney so he can begin investigating while the evidence is fresh. 

What Causes Semi-Truck Crashes in Tennessee?

Carelessness is a common culprit, whether on the part of the driver or on the part of the trucking company. For those operating these massive vehicles, there is little room for negligent mistakes because the consequences can be horrible. Frequent causes of big rig accidents include: 

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Knox County DUI defense attorneyA majority of DUI stops are related to alcohol. Alcohol is both legal for adults over 21 years old and relatively ubiquitous, especially around the holidays. It is also relatively easy to detect during a DUI stop. Alcoholic beverages typically produce a strong odor, often accompanied by obvious signs like slurred speech and an unsteady gait. Drugs can be more difficult to detect following a DUI stop. 

Police officers typically rely on chemical or lab testing to determine whether a person is under the influence of another narcotic substance. However, drug tests are not perfect and are not always a clear indication of whether a person is currently intoxicated. If you have been charged with a drug-related DUI, an attorney can help you build a strong defense. 

What Can Cause False Positive Results on a DUI Chemical Screening?

It is not uncommon for a person who is not actively under the influence of any substance to still test positive. Even certain over-the-counter medicines can cause false-positive results for various substances. Here are a few things that could lead to a false positive drug test result:

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Knoxville personal injury lawyerFew things put a damper on your holidays quite like getting hurt in a car accident. Unfortunately, car accidents do tend to happen more frequently around major holidays for a number of reasons. Last year, this effect may have been reduced because the pandemic limited holiday travel for most Americans. This year, however, travel is expected to largely return to normal - and so is the usual spike in car crashes. If you are hurt by a negligent driver this season, it is important to call a lawyer sooner rather than later so he can begin preserving evidence quickly. 

Why Do More Crashes Happen Around the Winter Holidays?

A number of factors can contribute to car accidents during the holiday season. More people are on the roads in general, shopping and visiting loved ones while enjoying some time off from work. Some factors that can cause more motor vehicle collisions during the winter holidays include: 

  • Stress - Stressed-out and frantic drivers are more prone to making dangerous mistakes. Drivers are often rushing around trying to complete their pre-holiday checklist on time, all while juggling family responsibilities and other year-end tasks. An overwhelmed driver may not be focused on the road. 
  • Directions - A lot of people travel out-of-town for the holidays. This may mean that more people are driving around in unfamiliar cities, where they do not necessarily know which lane to be in or when to turn. A driver who is lost and confused may cause an accident trying to recover from a missed turn or because they did not anticipate a lane merge. 
  • Alcohol - Drinks can flow freely at holiday parties and family gatherings. Holiday stressors like money and family conflict may also influence people to drink more around this time. The difficulty and expense of finding a rideshare at this time can also lead people to drive when they should be finding a sober ride. 
  • Traffic - There is simply more traffic in general during the holidays, especially around major shopping centers. This increased congestion can make crashes more likely. 
  • Weather - Having a white Christmas can be lovely, but also dangerous if you have to drive through it. Ice, snow, and high winds can all lead to more accidents. 
  • Shipping - Online shopping and in-person shopping alike are at a high from the end of November through December. This leads to a lot more commercial trucks out making deliveries. Wrecks involving 18-wheelers can be particularly bad. 

No matter the cause of your holiday-season car accident, it is important that you consult a lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney may be able to help prove the cause of the crash. 

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Knox County DUI defense lawyerIf you agreed to take a breathalyzer after getting stopped for DUI and the result was over 0.08%, you may feel as if your case is a lost cause. This is not true. Breath tests are far from perfect. Anything from improper storage to improperly trained officers could affect the results of a breathalyzer, causing your BAC to appear higher than it actually was. If you failed a breath test during a DUI arrest, you will need an experienced DUI lawyer to bring any potential challenges to your breath test results. 

What Problems Could Invalidate a DUI Breath Test in Tennessee? 

Breath tests are scientific equipment and must be treated as such. They are not like a kitchen appliance one can leave sitting in a cabinet and dust off every now and again. They require routine calibration and correct operation by a trained officer. The results of your breath test could be challenged if any of these circumstances were present: 

  • Improper operation - Depending on the specific type of machine used, there is a strict set of operating procedures that must be followed. An attorney will be able to evaluate whether there could have been an error in the way the test was used. 
  • Improper operator - In Tennessee, an officer must be specially certified to administer breath tests. An uncertified officer may make an error that interferes with the results. 
  • Calibration - To accurately detect BAC, the breathalyzer must have been correctly calibrated. Police departments should keep logs showing when their device was last calibrated. 
  • Observation - There is a mandatory 20-minute observation period during which the officer must watch you and make sure you do not eat, drink, or vomit before a breath test can be given. The reason for this is that residual alcohol in your mouth can artificially increase the results of a breath test. 
  • Radio waves - Cell phones and radios can interfere with the way a breathalyzer functions. Officers must be sure to keep these devices away from breath test machines. 
  • Unapproved devices - The breath testing device used must be one of those specifically approved in the state of Tennessee for this purpose. Approved devices must meet a series of standards that unapproved devices may not. 

If the prosecution is relying on the results of your breath test to convict you, you will need an attorney who is familiar with breath testing procedure to evaluate your case and raise any possible defenses. 

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4 Ways to Fight a DUI in Anderson County

Posted on in DUI/DWI

tennessee DUI defense lawyerGetting convicted of a DUI can have serious repercussions, both legally and socially. Even a single DUI will have a permanent impact on your criminal records and could cost you opportunities in the future. Fortunately, the situation is not hopeless. There are a number of ways an attorney can help you fight a DUI in Tennessee, from challenging the stop to invalidating blood test or breath test results. If one of these defenses succeeds, you may be able to walk away with a clean record - and no jail time, license suspension, or other consequences. 

As soon as you are informed that you are being charged with a DUI, the best thing you can do is to immediately contact a licensed defense attorney who can assess your situation and determine which defenses may give you the best odds of beating your charge. 

4 DUI Defenses that Could Prevent a Conviction

Police officers must follow a strict and specific set of rules when administering DUI testing. When a procedure was not followed correctly, the evidence collected may not be admissible. Texas attorneys may argue that your DUI should be dismissed due to: 

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Knoxville drunk driving accident lawyerGetting into a car accident can be a very scary experience, especially if you are hurt. It is not likely to make you feel any better if you step out of your wrecked vehicle and discover that the other driver is intoxicated. Drunk drivers are almost always responsible for the accidents they are involved in, and may be both criminally and civilly liable. Seeking emergency medical care as needed is always the first priority after a motor vehicle accident. 

However, if you are able, there are steps you can take right after the accident that can help when it comes time to seek compensation. Calling an attorney as soon as possible may also help you with preserving evidence and start you on the right path to recovering damages. 

Steps You Can Take After a Drunk Driving Wreck

After any motor vehicle crash, getting to safety is the most important thing. If anyone is seriously hurt, call an ambulance first. Always move accident vehicles off the roadway if possible and get yourself to a safe and well-lit area. There may be additional safety concerns after a crash with a drunk driver. Intoxicated people are prone to acting belligerent and even becoming violent, especially during a high-stress situation. Typical advice, like getting the other driver’s insurance information, may be impossible. When you can safely do so, follow these steps: 

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Knox County criminal defense attorneyEveryone makes mistakes. Sadly, a single split-second mistake can have consequences that impact the rest of your life if you end up with a criminal record. Even one conviction can limit your future prospects, including educational and career opportunities. Fortunately, in Tennessee there is a way for certain offenders to avoid having a conviction on their record through judicial diversion. Eligible defendants may be able to have their charges dismissed after completing a period of probation or meeting other conditions. If you are facing any criminal charge, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney immediately. 

How Does Judicial Diversion Work?

To receive a judicial diversion, you must first plead guilty to your charges. Rather than sentencing you, the court “diverts” the charge for a specified amount of time. During that time, you will be required to follow certain conditions set by the court. Conditions may include things like submitting to drug testing, completing a class, and avoiding new charges. The conditions set will vary somewhat depending on your charges and the circumstances of your case. 

After you successfully complete the diversion period, you can return to court and ask the judge to enter an Order of Expungement, erasing the charges from your criminal record. 

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Knoxville motorcycle crash lawyerIt is well-known that motorcycles can be a bit dangerous. When you get into a crash in a car, you have some level of protection from the vehicle. When you get into a crash on a motorcycle, your body takes the brunt of the collision. This is why serious head, neck, and spinal injuries are common. Careless drivers are often to blame for motorcycle crashes, but the motorcyclist’s failure to wear a helmet may be partly to blame for the severity of his injuries. Even if it is clear that a driver’s negligence caused the crash, whether the driver is responsible for the full extent of a biker’s injuries is a separate issue. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, it is important that you begin working with a licensed personal injury attorney to maximize your chances of recovering full compensation. 

What is Comparative Negligence? 

In Tennessee, the comparative negligence rule states that you must have been less than 50% responsible for your injuries in order to recover any damages from the negligent party who injured you. So, to prevail on a negligence claim you must prove that the driver who injured you was at least 50% to blame for the extent of your injuries. Unfortunately, if the court finds that your injuries are at least half your fault, you will not be able to recover. 

This will be a very fact-intensive legal analysis best handled by an experienced lawyer. If you were not wearing your helmet and suffered a head injury, the court will want to know whether your head injury would have been less severe or prevented entirely if you had worn a helmet. On the other hand, if you suffered an abdominal or leg injury, whether or not you were wearing a helmet is probably not relevant. 

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Knoxville DUI defense lawyerTennessee has rather harsh DUI penalties, even for first (and hopefully only) DUIs. You have likely already suffered through a one-year license suspension, DUI education programs, probation, or even jail time. So what happens if you get another DUI? The penalties you will face in Tennessee get progressively harsher with each DUI, going all the way up to a two-year prison term. 

It is clear from the sentencing guidelines that this state takes drunk driving incredibly seriously. If you are facing your second, third, or subsequent DUI it is extremely important that you work with experienced legal counsel to give yourself the best chances of a more positive outcome. 

What Happens After a Second DUI? 

While a first DUI can be quite serious, a second drunk driving charge is worse. Courts may see a first DUI as a learning opportunity, but are unlikely to be as forgiving after a second incident. This time, the period of driver’s license suspension is two years and you could be facing up to 11 months in jail. The minimum jail sentence, however, is 45 days - substantially longer than the 48-hour minimum a first DUI carries. You will also probably be ordered to substance abuse treatment, and you will have an interlock system in your vehicle when you begin driving again. 

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Anderson County BUI Defense LawyerTennessee offers some truly beautiful lakes and rivers, and there is no better way to experience these bodies of water than by boating on them. However, be careful - in Tennessee, boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI) is a crime, similar to the more well-known crime of DUI. However, the laws governing which types of boats fall under BUI laws can be confusing. If you have been charged with a BUI, it is important to get in touch with an experienced attorney. BUI is a serious crime that can lead to steep fines, jail time, and loss of boating privileges. Working with a qualified attorney reduces your risk of facing these harsh penalties. 

Which Watercrafts Fall Under BUI Statutes? 

The general rule is that if you need a license for the type of boat you are operating, you can get a BUI while driving it. This includes all motorized boats, regardless of what type of motor. It does not matter whether you are operating a speedboat capable of achieving highway-like speeds or a small fishing boat with just a trolling motor. You can get a DUI on a slow-moving tractor on land, and you can get a BUI on a slow-moving boat on the water. 

This law also includes sailboats. Sailboats can achieve high speeds and require skill and care to operate. An intoxicated person is unlikely to be able to safely operate a sailboat. 

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Anderson County DUI Defense attorneyIn Tennessee, driving under the influence of any drug is illegal, whether the drug was prescribed to you or not. Being prescribed a medication makes it legal for you to possess and use that medication according to your doctor’s instructions, but you could still find yourself charged with a DUI if you drive after taking it. In fact, Tennessee law explicitly states that having a valid prescription is no defense to a DUI. If you are facing DUI charges, whether it is your first DUI or a second or subsequent DUI, you will want an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and fight for a good outcome in your case. 

What Prescription Drugs Could Lead to a DUI Charge? 

A number of prescription medications can impact your ability to drive safely - and legally. If you are prescribed any of these drugs, you will need to be careful to avoid driving while you are under their influence. Even some medications you do not think of as a narcotic can lead to a DUI charge in Tennessee if they affect your mental state. You could face DUI charges after taking: 

  • Narcotic Painkillers - This category is fairly clear - prescription pain medications like Oxycodone and Dilaudid impair your ability to drive, and you will get a DUI if you drive after taking them.

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Oak Ridge DUI defense attorneyTennessee is known for having the harshest penalties for first-time DUIs in the country. Unlike most other states, a first DUI comes with a one-year loss of driving privileges. But you probably still need to get to work or school, doctor’s appointments, or just the grocery store. There are legal options for retaining at least limited driving privileges after one DUI. You will need a knowledgeable attorney to represent you and help you retain your driving privileges in Tennessee. If you have been charged with a first DUI, getting a good attorney should be a high priority for you. 

What is a Restricted License? 

A restricted license allows you to keep your driving privileges, but with restrictions. In Tennessee, this means you may only be allowed to drive to certain places and at certain times. For example, you may not be allowed to drive after a certain time in the evening, or you may only be permitted to drive to school and back home. The level and type of restrictions can vary quite a bit depending on the circumstances of your DUI and what terms your lawyer is able to negotiate. 

The purpose of a restricted license is to prevent any further impaired driving - someone who has committed one DUI is not likely to be drunk while driving to work at 8:30 am on a Tuesday, nor is he likely to be drunk while driving home from work later that day. A restricted license, however, would prevent that first-time offender from stopping at a bar after work, or driving to a party on the weekend, thus, in theory, preventing him from driving drunk again. 

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When is DUI a Felony?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Anderson County DUI Defense LawyerUnder Tennessee state law, most DUI charges are misdemeanors. There are, however, some circumstances under which a DUI can be handled as a felony. A felony DUI can carry prison time over a year and have a serious impact on your ability to secure employment and housing in the future. If you have been arrested for DUI -- especially if you have been told that it is being treated as a felony -- you will need a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney to maximize your chances of avoiding a harsh outcome. 

When Does a DUI Involve Felony Charges? 

There are several reasons a DUI might be charged as a felony. These circumstances typically involve either repeat offenses or creating a real danger, if not actual harm, to another person. Here are a few reasons a DUI might be treated as a felony in Tennessee: 

  • Fourth or Subsequent Offense - In Tennessee, a fourth DUI is automatically a felony, regardless of whether you caused harm to anyone. A minimum of 150 days must be served in jail or prison. 

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Anderson County Pedestrian Injury LawyerFailure to yield the right of way is a common cause of car accidents of all kinds, but it can be an especially serious problem in accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians. Some drivers are ignorant of the laws governing the right of way for pedestrians and bicyclists, while others may fail to yield the right of way due to other factors that impede their driving abilities. In these cases, pedestrians and bicyclists are largely defenseless, and they can suffer severe injuries. If you have been hit by a car, an attorney can help you pursue compensation through a personal injury claim.

Tennessee Right of Way Laws for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

According to Tennessee law, pedestrians have the right of way at both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Marked crosswalks have white cross-hatching, and they can be found at intersections or between blocks. Any intersection in Tennessee without white cross-hatching is considered an unmarked crosswalk. When a driver approaches a crosswalk where a pedestrian is in the process of crossing the road, the driver should stop and let the pedestrian pass. Pedestrians also have the right of way when they are coming out of an alley or driveway.

Bicyclists in Tennessee are subject to the same traffic laws as drivers of motor vehicles. This means that they must yield the right of way to other vehicles as they would if they were driving a motor vehicle, but it also means that drivers must yield to them. For example, at a four-way stop or an intersection with a traffic light, bicycles should be treated the same as cars. Drivers who are turning right at an intersection should also take special care not to turn into the path of a bicyclist.

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Anderson County DUI Defense LawyerThe risk of causing injuries or death is the primary reason why drunk driving is treated as such a serious criminal offense in Tennessee and throughout the U.S. When a drunk driver does actually cause an injury or fatality, the consequences they face can be especially severe. However, those who have been charged with a DUI offense involving injury or death do still have rights. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help to protect these rights and ensure that a defendant is treated fairly under the law.

Tennessee DUI Offenses Involving Injury or Death

According to Tennessee law, there are three different criminal offenses that may apply when a drunk driver injures or kills another person. The first of these, known as vehicular assault, occurs when a drunk driver causes serious—but not fatal—bodily injury. Typically, this means that the injuries result in disfigurement or loss of bodily function, or that they pose a substantial risk of death. Vehicular assault is a Class D felony, and an offender can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum incarceration period of 48 hours, along with a longer prison sentence and substantial fines. An offender's license can also be revoked for at least a year, with no possibility of a restricted driver’s license.

If a drunk driver causes a fatality, they can instead be charged with vehicular homicide. This is a Class B felony offense, which may result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years and fines of up to $25,000. A driver who is convicted of vehicular homicide will also have their license revoked for between 3 and 10 years.

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Oakridge Wrongful Death LawyerA fatal car accident can strike at any time, and it is one of the most tragic and shocking experiences that a family may be forced to go through. Coping with the unexpected loss of a loved one can be a lifelong challenge, but it may be possible to obtain financial relief to ease some of the burden through a wrongful death claim. Understanding some of the common factors involved in fatal car wrecks may help you know where to look for evidence of another driver’s negligence, especially if you have an experienced attorney on your side.

Fatal Car Crash Risk Factors

According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 1,135 fatalities in Tennessee motor vehicle accidents in 2019. Data from the State of Tennessee shows that this number increased in 2020, and it is on pace to increase yet again in 2021. Throughout the last few years, some of the most common factors in fatal car accidents have included:

  • Speeding - Traveling at high speeds, especially speeds that are unsafe for the road conditions, increases the risk of a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or a stationary object. A vehicle’s speed at the time of impact can also influence the severity of the injuries suffered in the collision.

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Oak Ridge DUI Defense AttorneyIf you have been arrested and charged with DUI, you may feel that you have a poor chance of avoiding conviction and the serious consequences that come with it. It is certainly true that Tennessee prosecutors take DUI cases seriously, and they may have a strong case against you. However, an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you build a strong defense strategy that can stand up to the prosecution.

One important thing to understand about DUI cases is the types of evidence that the prosecution commonly uses to secure a conviction. With this knowledge, you may be better able to protect your rights.

Forms of Evidence in a DUI Case

In order to secure a DUI conviction, the prosecution must have evidence to demonstrate that you are guilty of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors can use many different forms of evidence to support their case, including:

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Jacksboro Personal Injury LawyerWhen a semi-truck overturns on the highway, the driver is far from the only person at risk of being injured. The large size of a truck means that several other vehicles could be caught in the path of a rollover, or be unable to avoid an overturned truck that is obstructing the roadway. If you are injured in a rollover truck accident, it is important to understand the common causes of these crashes as you begin your pursuit of fair compensation.

Semi-Truck Rollovers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regularly maintains statistics regarding large truck accidents for the benefit of research like their Large Truck Crash Causation Study. Data from this study has revealed the following as some of the most common reasons for semi-truck rollover crashes:

  • Excessive speed - This not only includes cases in which the driver exceeded the posted speed limit, but also cases in which the driver was traveling too fast for the specific conditions at the time, including the weather, the road conditions, the size of the truck’s load, or the need to traverse a curve.

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