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Sawyer Law Firm Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Fatal Logging Truck Accident

Andalusia, AL — Sawyer Law Firm, LLC and Beasley Allen Law Firm have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the wife of a Covington County man who was killed when the logging truck he was driving overturned. According to Alabama State Troopers, the driver was killed when the 2000 Peterbilt log truck he was driving on U.S. Highway 29 left the roadway in a curve and overturned. The logs on the trailer shifted forward, crushing the cab of the truck. The manufacturer of the cab guard, Merritt Equipment Company, is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

One of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit, J.P. Sawyer of Enterprise, states that “this tragic accident underscores the need to protect heavy truck drivers better.”

Most log trucks have cab guards or “headache racks.” These guards are used to prevent shifting cargo or logs from encroaching into the cab of the tractor-trailer. Many cab guards are designed from heat-treated aluminum, which can result in the weakening of the cab guard over time. “There are safer alternative designs for these protective devices which have been available too – but not used by – the heavy truck industry for years,” Sawyer says. “My former law partner at Beasley Allen, Ben Baker, has been a leader in litigation aimed at making these trucks safer. He has handled several cases where truck drivers have been injured or killed as a result of the logs shifting forward in collisions which were otherwise survivable.”

In 2011, the American Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) undertake research and data analysis on how crashworthiness standards for the tractor/truck cabs of commercial motor vehicles could have safety benefits for professional truck drivers. In the request, the organizations stated that “(w)e believe there may be opportunities to enhance the survivability of professional truck drivers if appropriate, research-based, uniform standards are developed.”

“The manufacturers know these guards will not protect an occupant if the logs shift forward. More shocking is that most of the manufacturers do not test the guards they warrant as safety features for log trucks,” Sawyer says. “Until the manufacturers accept their responsibility to design a safe product, these drivers will continue to be at risk”.


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