September 29, 2016

Speed limiting devices proposed to reduce large trucks crashes

truck-accidentsTwo safety regulators, the NHTSA and the FMCSA, have proposed a joint rule to help reduce large truck crashes. The rule would require large trucks and buses to be equipped with speed limiting devices. The proposal would affect all newly manufactured trucks, school buses and multipurpose vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or more. Each vehicle would be required to have its device set to a specified speed.

Safety administrations feel that this truck speed limiting safety measures could affect force of impact in the event of a crash and could save lives. The proposal addresses the benefits of setting maximum speeds of 60, 65 and 68 miles per hour. According to the Wall Street Journal, the government agencies said that capping the speeds on new large vehicles would reduce the 1,115 fatal crashes involving large trucks that occur each year. The speed limiting devices could also save $1 billion in fuel costs.

Studies in the proposal examined the relationship between travel speed and crash severity. It was concluded that the severity of a crash increases with increased travel speed. Furthermore, research found that the effect of this kinetic energy in a crash is particularly relevant for combination trucks, such as tractor-trailers, due to their large mass. Higher speeds also affect the brake time of trucks,  significantly increasing the distance it takes to come to a stop.

Researchers studied truck crashes that occurred between 2004 and 2013 where speed likely contributed to the severity of the crash. During that time period, safety administrations estimated that truck crashes resulted in 10,440 speed-related fatalities.

Large Truck Crash Statistics

The NHTSA Truck Safety Facts 2014 Data released earlier this year found that in 2014, there were 3,903 people killed in crashes involving large trucks. An estimated 111,000 people were injured in large truck crashes. This was an increase of 17 percent over the previous year. 73 percent of those people killed in large truck crashes were the occupants of other vehicles. With these facts, any measure that safety administrators can implement and enforce to reduce truck accidents and protect lives should be taken.

As truck and car accident lawyers who see the devastation and traumatic injuries caused by large truck accidents, we feel it’s important that this be addressed. Read the entire proposed trucking rule.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, call the truck accident attorneys at Distasio Kowaslski in Wilkes-Barre today at 570-970-5400. You need an attorney who is experienced at litigating truck accident cases and fighting for the injured.



August 31, 2016

Hit and Run Accidents too Common in NEPA

Hit and run accidents, like the deadly crash that killed a man riding his bicycle on a Scranton sidewalk on Sunday morning, are happening all too frequently in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas. Just today, a motorcyclist was killed in a hit and run accident in Philadelphia. The impact so strong when the motorcycle was hit by an SUV, that the victim’s body was thrown about 30 feet. Hit and run accidents can be deadly, especially when involving a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist. They are tragic for the victims of these crashes, and also for their families.

2015 Traffic Crash Facts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report this week stating that traffic accident fatalities were up sharply in 2015. 2,348 more people died in traffic accidents in 2015 than in 2014. A total of 35,092 people were killed in crashes. This a 7% increase over the previous year, the largest increase in traffic crash fatalities in nearly 50 years. The number of those injured in crashes increased to 2.44 million people. Hit and run accidents have been on the increase with other crashes.

  • Bicyclist fatalities rose by 12.2%
  • Pedestrian fatalities rose by 9.5%
  • Motorcyclist fatalities rose by 8.3%

Pennsylvania Hit and Run Accident Laws

When a truck, SUV or car hits something smaller, it can have tragic results. Leaving the scene of a hit and run accident is illegal. When you are involved in an accident, you are required to stop. Failure to do so can result in considerable penalties.

Kevin’s law was passed in 2014. The law was named for Kevin Miller, a 5-year-old boy who was killed by a hit and run driver on a Wilkes-Barre Street. With the law, penalties became stricter for those who flee the scene of fatal hit and run accidents. The law also fixed a loophole when it comes to DUI hit and run cases. DUI seems to be a major factor for drivers fleeing the scene of a hit and run crash.

Kevin’s Law increased the mandatory minimum prison sentence for fleeing the scene of fatal accident to 3 years. This sentence is now on par with the 3-year sentence for DUI pedhomicide. This closed the loophole under which leaving the scene of a fatal accident carried a lesser minimum sentence than DUI homicide. Continuing to impose stricter penalties on those who flee the scene of these deadly accidents may save lives. It may also result in a safer environment for pedestrians and others.

If you have been injured in a hit and run accident or another car accident or truck accident, call the car accident attorneys at Distasio Kowaslski in Wilkes-Barre today at 570-970-5400. You need an attorney who is experienced and is going to fight to get you the justice you deserve.


August 22, 2016

Biscontini appointed to Drug and Alcohol Commission

Peter-BiscontiniPeter J Biscontini, Esquire, an attorney with the Wilkes-Barre personal injury firm of Distasio & Kowalski, has been appointed to serve on Luzerne-Wyoming County Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission.

The Commission works in conjunction with the Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Drug and Alcohol Program to provide a continuum of care to county residents with respect to the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The Commission oversees the Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Drug and Alcohol Program’s delivery of the services of prevention, intervention, and treatment. The Commission’s goal is to eradicate addiction within the counties and advise in the distribution of federal, state, and county resources.

“I am proud to have the opportunity to advocate for citizens in our community on this important commission that focuses on such a vital issue in our area,” Biscontini stated.

“Addiction knows no boundaries, it can affect anyone regardless of age, race or financial status. Prevention, treatment and recovery is not only integral to the health and well-being of our youth, but to our entire area. For those struggling with addiction, it is imperative that they get the help and support they need to fight the disease of addiction,” Biscontini added.

In his position with the personal injury firm of Distasio & Kowalski, Attorney Biscontini focuses on personal injury and workers’ compensation. He earned his Juris Doctor at Duquesne University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Kings College. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Luzerne County Bar Association, Wilkes-Barre Law Library Association and is vice president of the Plains Lions Club. Attorney Biscontini resides in Plains.

Located in Wilkes-Barre, Distasio & Kowalski LLC represents the victims of Auto/Truck Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability, and Personal Injury/Wrongful Death. For more information on Attorney Biscontini or Distasio & Kowalski LLC, please call 570-970-5400 or visit






August 11, 2016

New PA Law Requires Rear Facing Child Safety Seats

Starting this week, Pennsylvania motorists must be aware of a new PA child safety seat law. Drivers must be sure that rear facing car seats are used for all children under the age of two. The measure officially becomes a new PA law on Friday, August 12. Parents are cautioned to follow the manufacturers height and weight requirements on their seats. Sometimes children will still be within the ranges, even if they are 2 or older.

Rear facing seats are said to lower the risk of death or serious injury in the event of a crash. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% in infants and by 54% for toddlers. On average, three children were killed and 470 children injured every day in traffic crashes in 2013.

Pennsylvania is the fourth state to enact a rear-facing child safety seat law for young children. Similar laws have been passed in New Jersey, California and Oklahoma. Under the existing law, all children under 4 years of age must be restrained in an approved child passenger restraint system, and children between 4 and 8 years of age must be restrained in a booster seat. The new law requires children under age 2 to ride rear facing. The new regulations are based on 2011 recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Using an approved child safety seat correctly and according to the law is the best protection you can give your child. Be sure to use the correct type of car seat for your child’s age, height and weight. Child safety seats do save lives.

At Distasio & Kowalski, safety is our top concern.

Please take note of this new PA child safety seat law. If you or your child have been seriously injured in a car or truck accident, contact the injury lawyers at Distasio & Kowalski in Wilkes-Barre today at 570-970-5400 for a free consultation.

July 22, 2016

Reducing truck underride crashes priority with accident attorney

Close call imminent crash accident with a tractor trailer truck viewed from inside a passenger car with scared driver face in rear view mirror

Close call imminent crash accident with a tractor trailer truck viewed from inside a passenger car with scared driver face in rear view mirror

73% of all fatalities in a truck accident in 2014 were the occupants of other vehicles, according to the NHTSA. The immense size and weight of large trucks can result in devastation for a passenger vehicle and its occupants when it comes to a collision. This is especially true in the event of truck underride crashes.

Few truck accidents are more destructive than those that involve a passenger car getting lodged underneath a large semi-truck. The bed of a trailer is often higher than the hood of a standard car. In an underride or undercarriage crash, a car goes partially or completely under a truck or trailer. This dramatically increases the chance of severe injury or death. A car can go under the rear of a truck or may also get lodged under the side of a truck or tractor-trailer. This is referred to as a side underride crash.

Large trucks and semitrailers are required to have undererride guards. They are large steel bars that hang from the rear of a truck to prevent a passenger vehicle from getting lodged underneath in the event of a truck collision. Truck underride guards are not currently required on the sides of large trucks or on the rear of smaller trucks, such as garbage trucks.

Even in a low speed collision, a passenger vehicle can become lodged under a tractor-trailer. This happens often if the proper guards are not in place or if there are not adequate guard safety standards. Some existing guards are just not strong enough to prevent a car from sliding underneath the truck. Side underride collisions most often occur when a truck driver is attempting to turn across traffic onto a street, attempting a U-turn or backing across traffic. The driver of a passenger vehicle may not see the truck in its path until it is too late and a collision is unavoidable.

The top of the passenger vehicle is often ripped off or crushed in a truck underride crash. This often causes severe head and neck injuries or death to the passengers inside. Truck underride crashes also occur with bicyclists who don’t see a truck turning, crash and become lodged under the truck.

The NHTSA has issued improved rear safety guard standards for newer model large trucks. These standards are often not required on older model trucks. Existing guards may also not offer complete protection when a car crashes into one of the rear corners of a tractor-trailer. While lethal side underride crashes continue, there is still no law requiring side guards. Safety advocates have petitioned the NHTSA to strengthen laws and implement a new standard for underride guards. The NHTSA is moving slowly in taking action and implementing stronger truck underride guard standards.

How to prevent fatal truck underride crashes

There’s much that can be done to protect passenger car occupants from the dangers of truck underride crashes. This includes strengthening existing truck underride guards that might not be adequate in high-speed crashes. Expanding requirements to include guards on older model trucks will also help to prevent these deadly crashes. Legislation requiring side guards for all large trucks should be implemented as well.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck underride accident, call the truck accident attorneys at Distasio Kowaslski. Call the attorneys in Wilkes-Barre today at 570-970-5400. You need a lawyer who is experienced at litigating truck accident cases and in dealing with their insurance companies. The attorneys at Distasio Kowalski serve the Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Hazleton area in NEPA.