Thursday, December 17, 2009

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of Donald P. Head of Cotati, CA. Here's the
otati resident Donald B. Head spent most of his life driving trucks, even after he and his wife purchased a Cotati bar more than four decades ago. Here's the story from the Press Democrat. .art_main_pic { width:250px; float:left; clear:left; }
Click to enlarge Donald B. Head

Head died Tuesday at his home after a long battle with cancer. He was 75.

Head spent many years driving big rigs, including his own truck. Even as the owner of the Cotati Beer Gardens, he regularly drove a special wrecker for Andreoli Trucking that could tow tractor trailer rigs.

“He drove the tow truck until he was 72,” said his wife of 47 years, Joan Head.

Born in Eureka, Head grew up in Oakland and Richmond. His father drove trucks for West Transportation, a company the son eventually also worked for.

Head served in the U.S. Army’s 11th Airborne Division during the Korean War.

He came to Cotati about 40 years ago. In the early 1970s his wife and he purchased a bar and renamed it to the Cotati Beer Gardens. They owned it until the late 1980s.

Family members described Head as strong and independent, someone who enjoyed people but also could work alongside police to handle an unruly bar patron.

“He was such a man’s man,” said his daughter, Danise Head of Cotati.

But he also enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. And Joan Head said he raised her son Everett Wicker as his own from the time the boy was 2-years-old. Wicker died in 1996.

Head was a member of Berean Baptist Church in Rohnert Park. With his family, he belonged to the Rancho Riders horse club.

Along with his wife and daughter, survivors include another daughter, Ladona Rossiter of Cotati, a sister, Marilyn Cramlett of Hercules; a brother, Robert Head of Mississippi; and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 12 at Berean Baptist Church.

The family prefers memorial contributions in care of the church to the Berean Baptist Christian Academy.

— Robert Digitale

Trucker Found in Truck Stop after Leaving Accident Scene

A trucker fled the scene of a truck accident but was later found by Ontario police at a truck stop.

According to Ontario police, Francisco Lecaro of Perris of California left after hitting two people who were chaining up their own truck on a freeway off-ramp in Eastern Oregon.

Milton Belton, 49, died at the scene while Miguel Victorio-Alvarez, 45, sustained non-life threatening injuries.

Lecaro just made his situation even worse by running from the scene of the accident.
Instead of just worrying about civil liability lawsuits that could be taken care of the trucking company and its insurance company, he chose to leave the scene.

As a result, he gave the city a reason to prosecute him criminally.

The truck accident even resulted in death which means he could at be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

We all have a duty to stop after a vehicular accident. Not only because it is required by law but because it’s the right thing to do.

If he had stopped, he could have assisted the injured parties and could have avoided the death of Belton.

Instead, he left the scene and now he might be facing some serious jail time for his choices.

Illinois to Raise Truck Speed Limit

Effective January 1, 2010, Illinois joins other Midwest states in allowing trucks to legally travel up to 65 MPH on rural interstates. This is welcome news to truckers who've risked speeding fines over 55 MPH when entering Illinois from any of the surrounding states that already have a higher limit.

SNI tractors are governed at 60 MPH on cruise control (62 MPH for teams) to save fuel, but the extra 5 MPH above 55 makes a world of difference when you drive 500+ miles a day.

Only California and Oregon retain the 55 MPH limit for trucks. You can read more about state speed limits at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website.

5 Questions About North Carolina Truck Accidents Answered

Will Owens is a member of the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, which is a national association of committed lawyers who have joined together to help eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices.
1. What is a "commercial truck"?
A commercial truck is a vehicle used in the course of business and/or for the transport of commercial goods. Examples are eighteen-wheeler tractor trailers, tanker trucks, delivery vehicles, and other large freight trucks.

2. What are some of the common causes of tractor trailer accidents?
• Aggressive drivers
• Unrealistic schedules
• Failure to inspect tires, brakes and lights
• Tailgating
• Long work-shifts
• Driver fatigue
• Cell phone use
• Failure to install blind spot mirrors
• Jackknifing
• Speeding and ignoring reduced truck speed limit

Added hazards include the absence of rear and side bumpers and high front bumpers that punch into automobile passenger compartments. Together these factors account for the high percentage of serious injuries and deaths in these crashes.

3. Who makes sure that big trucks and trucking companies are following the rules?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is in charge with promulgating regulations to keep us safe on the road. The rules are expansive and cover all aspects of commercial driving including the driver (e.g. training, drug and alcohol testing and licensing), the vehicle (e.g. transportation of hazardous materials, inspection and repair) and the carrier (e.g. insurance, records and maintenance). In North Carolina, enforcement of these regulations, and other state laws, falls to the State Highway Patrol’s Motor Carrier Enforcement.

4. What are the “hours of service” rules?
Under federal “hours of service” regulations, which took effect January 2004, interstate commercial drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 consecutive hours or drive after 14 hours on duty until they have had a 10-hour break. In addition, according to federal regulations, commercial truck drivers cannot drive after accruing 60 work hours during a 7-day period or 70 work hours during an 8-day period.

5. Are there any state or federal regulations governing truck drivers?
There are many regulations, both state and federal, that trucking companies are required to follow. Some of those laws include the following:

• Trucking companies are required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations concerning equipment and hours of service.

• Truck drivers are required to maintain a driver’s log.

• Federal regulations require commercial trucks to carry certain levels of insurance coverage, depending on the nature of the materials hauled. These regulations protect victims of large truck crashes from truck owners who may not have the financial resources to pay damages out-of-pocket.

• The Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program requires that individual States, and other political jurisdictions unify to develop and implement programs that will ultimately improve motor carrier, CMV, and driver safety and establish a safer and more efficient transportation system.

• Commercial driver’s license standards are federal regulations in place to reduce or prevent truck accidents and resulting injuries and/or deaths by requiring drivers of certain vehicles to obtain a single commercial motor vehicle driver's license.

• Both North Carolina State and / or federal law, depending on whether the truck was involved in intrastate or interstate transport may govern truck accidents.