The Truth About Truck Driving Safety

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It is a common misconception that truck drivers have easy jobs. In reality, truckers must drive long hours without getting tired, rely on little to no sleep, maneuver massive vehicles, and load and unload heavy equipment. Not only is all this work difficult, it’s also dangerous. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that truck drivers had the most fatalities of any occupation in 2015 with 745 work related deaths.

Drivers are forced to sacrifice safety for money.

Truckers are stuck in a constant battle between safety and wages.

Unfortunately, the way truckers’ wages are constructed require drivers to put their work ahead of their safety. Because delivery time is a critical factor on how much they get paid, drivers often continue driving even when they are too tired.

The 11/14 rule, which states a driver cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours and work more than 14 hours a day, is meant to prevent fatigued driving. However, many truckers break the rule in order to deliver quicker and earn more money.  This not only risks their own safety, but it risks the safety of others on the road.

Fatigued driving is only part of the problem.

Although some deaths come from fatigued driving, other factors account for additional injuries and fatalities.

Unloading and loading heavy equipment is strenuous to the body and, if mishandled, can cause serious injury or death. Even if unloading and loading equipment is handled properly, the contrast between heavy lifting and extended hours of lethargy will wear down a driver’s bones and health over time.

More dangerous than fatigued driving is the carelessness of other drivers on the road.

The Department of Transportation reports than nearly two-thirds of fatal truck crashes are other vehicles’ fault. Car drivers often don’t consider a truck’s extended breaking distance, wide turns, or large blind spots when maneuvering around them.

However, the most dangerous aspect of truck driving isn’t a sudden event. It’s the sedentary lifestyle that truck drivers face daily. Sitting for over 10 hours a day ruins a trucker’s body by hurting their back and neck, causing blood clots, as well as significantly increasing their risk of cancer. These damages are nearly impossible to undo once they begin and will stick with a driver for the rest of his or her life.

What can we do to emphasize the importance of safety over money?

Extending delivery deadlines, even by just a day, would create a much safer environment for truck drivers. This would enable truckers to get more sleep and drive less per day. Furthermore, it allows drivers to maintain a healthier lifestyle by giving them extra time out of their uncomfortable driving seat.

While the stores expecting the delivery may not be happy to extend delivery deadlines, they must realize it is a fundamental step to reducing trucker fatalities.

Truck drivers are an essential component to America. Without their constant hard work, it would be impossible to maintain America’s growing economy. We must do all we can to keep truckers safe. If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident caused by another driver’s negligence, call my office today.

As your Ohio truck accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

Under Ride Truck Accidents – Under Ride Guards are the Answer

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Under Ride Truck Accidents on the Rise 

Two mothers that suffered unimaginable, tragic losses are leading the crusade for better under ride guards on semi trucks.

The average semi truck trailer is about 3’ off the ground.  The average personal vehicle can easily “fit” beneath the semi trailer during an accident.  Unfortunately, under ride accidents have resulted in countless tragic and preventable deaths.  A vehicle that hits the side or rear of a semi trailer is almost guaranteed to have catastrophic results.

The solution is actually quite simple: Under ride guards.  On the back and sides of large trucks, under ride guards are metal or fiberglass barriers that hang to prevent smaller cars, trucks and SUVs from going under the trailer in an accident.  Unfortunately, the current federal mandate is decades old and trucking companies do not have to have ride guards in place.  Safety advocates are pushing for a big change. Under ride guards should not be confused with skirt type side panels that are used to improve gas mileage and driving performance. True, effective under ride guards are tested to withstand high speed impact and prevent passenger vehicles from becoming lodged under the trailer.

The Facts About Accidents and Under Ride Guards

Semi trailers are not required to have side under ride guards, and existing under ride guard quality is not mandated – Meaning many existing guards can crumble on impact. Rear under ride guards are federally required, further supporting the notion that side guards are a no-brainer.

A 2015 IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) study found

  • 1,500 total individuals were involved in accidents with semi trailers
  • Of those, over 300 suffered fatal injuries
  • 292 additional accidents resulted in fatalities after drivers rear ended semi trailers
  • It’s estimated about 50% of all fatal accidents involving semi trailers are under ride related in nature

Under Ride Truck Accidents

  • Semi drivers lose control and vehicles become trapped
  • Car drivers can get pushed or crushed under during collisions
  • Distracted driving
  • Weather related accidents, sliding and more

Passengers and drivers are both at risk. Whether your vehicle becomes trapped after a head on collision impact, or from a side ways or rear impact – The crush injuries are virtually unavoidable.

Under ride guards that are built and installed properly almost guarantee a collision with the side of a semi truck trailer will allow the passenger vehicles safety mechanisms to work – Stopping the vehicle from going underneath the trailer and deploying air bags and seat belts to aid in crash injury prevention.  While the impact can be dangerous, the crush and nature of entrapment under a trailer is far worse.

  

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2-vehicle crashes with tractor-trailers 

Table from IIHS Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident with a semi trailer, contact my offices immediately. As your Ohio truck accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.

 

Truck Driving Accidents- How Fatigued Driving Affects All Drivers on the Road

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In 1939 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a federal law known as Hours of Service (HOS) that would regulate the number of hours any commercial motor vehicle driver reaches in a day.

Since the regulations were put into place, HOS was revisited in 2012 due to a major climb in truck accidents caused by fatigued drivers.

As of July 1, 2013, the new HOS regulations limit truck drivers to 14-hour days and a maximum of 70 hours in a work week.

If these limits are exceeded by 3+ hours, drivers can be fined $11,000 per offense and potentially face civil penalties as well.

Since the new HOS regulations became effective in 2013, truck-related accident fatalities have increased. According to FMCSA, the 2013 year concluded with a total of 4,127 large truck accident fatalities. By the end of 2015 there were 4, 358 nationwide.

Even with the new regulations in place, trucking accidents are still on the rise. What factors might be contributing to truck drivers going against the federal law?

Although HOS are limited, several factors may manipulate drivers to push for more daily hours on the road:

  • Money. Drivers are often only paid for how many miles they complete, and the more hours on the road mean the more money they get paid.
  • Deadlines. If a driver misses a delivery deadline, it can have financial consequences. Some may risk the 14-hour limit to avoid missing a deadline.
  • Lack of truck drivers. The truck driving industry is a tough career path—between the long hours on the road, time away from family, training courses, and job risks (trucking accidents, penalties, accident lawsuits), it becomes more and more difficult to find drivers to fill the jobs.

The trucking industry is complex and potentially dangerous to other drivers if protocol is not followed and regulations aren’t frequently monitored.

For this reason, many are calling into question the need for special educational programs for drivers on the dangers of fatigue.

The FMCSA is still working on a plan to mandate trucking companies on dealing with fatigued driving. The National Transportation Safety Board suggests a “fatigue management program”, but some argue this would be expensive and not address all factors in fatigued driving.

As the industry searches for solutions, drivers should be cautious on the road at all times—especially near semi-trucks and late at night. If you or a family member was made victim of a negligent driver in a trucking accident, call me immediately.

As your Ohio car accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I will Make Them Pay!® 

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Hurt in a Trucking Accident? 5 Must-Do Steps to Take

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Motor vehicle accidents can be stressful, traumatic, hectic or all of the above! When you’ve just suffered this traumatic experience, it can be hard to keep a clear mind and take the right steps following the accident.

Car accidents and semi-truck accidents are very different claims and you may be unsure how to proceed.

Make Them Pay

These 5 steps will help you if you’ve been in a trucking accident:

Step 1: Call the Police

Contact the local police immediately following accident! A police report will be beneficial to have when setting up your accident claim with the insurance companies and the trucking company. If there is no police report, there is a possibility it will affect your claim down the road if the driver at fault changes their story.

Step 2: Seek Medical Attention

Often times it can take a few hours to a few days to notice any injury. An accident is a traumatic experience to your body and mental state; it could take a few days before you begin to recognize the physical pain from the accident. Seek medical attention immediately and follow up with your primary doctor or any specialists. If you wait too long for treatment, the insurance company may deny liability for your injuries!

Step 3: Set Up Your Insurance Claim

Make sure you let your insurance company know you’ve just been in an accident and you are receiving medical treatment. You don’t need to go into the details of your accident but you will need to set up a claim with the insurance company.

Step 4: Get Estimates

Getting the estimates for your property damage can often move the process along quicker. You can do this by having your insurance company’s adjuster come out to look at the vehicle, the other party’s insurance company adjuster, or by taking it to a local body shop.

Step 5: Seek Out Legal Counsel

You will want an experienced attorney that can work directly with the insurance companies and trucking company so you don’t have to. Trucking accidents compared to passenger vehicle accidents are extremely different; there are multiple parties that can be held liable for an accident including the trucking company, the insurance company, and the truck driver.

You will need an attorney that understands the complexity of a trucking accident. Call me today if you’ve been made a victim in a semi-truck accident.
As your Ohio trucking accident attorney, I’ll be there for you. My life’s passion is to seek fair compensation, and Make Them Pay.

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Can New Federal Regulations Decrease Trucking Accidents?

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Truck accidents and car accidents alike can result in serious or even fatal outcomes. The dangers of these two are similar, but the magnitude of a tractor trailer collision can quickly become deadly.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, estimates the number of US trucking accident fatalities to be about 4,000 deaths per year.

Since January 1st of 2015, there was an 82% increase in deaths involving commercial tractor trailers— truck drivers were at fault 37% out of the 82%.

There are many factors that can contribute to trucking accidents:

  • Unsafe and outdated equipment
  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driver error
  • Weather conditions
  • Unqualified drivers

With these factors in mind, the U.S. Department of Transportation is revisiting the FMCSA regulations.

The current Safety Fitness Determination has been in place since 1982, but with technology changes and safety violations in the trucking industry, safety guideline changes must occur.

The proposed new rule will replace the current three-tier rating system: satisfactory, conditional and unsatisfactory. This new regulation will change to one determination as “unfit”. If a motor carrier rates as unfit, the carrier must cease operations or improve operations before getting back on the road.

How will this new regulation be beneficial for our roadways?

According to the FMCSA, the current rating system only allows the association to evaluate 15,000 carriers a year and less than half receive an evaluated rating. As an attorney that handles trucking accidents, I find this number to be astonishing!

By implementing the new SFD rule, more trucking companies will be thoroughly evaluated as road-fit or unfit and in turn, may drastically decrease the number of unsafe truck drivers, unsafe equipment, and the overall number of trucking accidents.

As long as there are unsafe trucks on the road, I will be here to fight for you and your loved ones. If you were injured in a trucking accident, call me today.

As your Ohio trucking accident attorney, I’ll be there for you and I’ll Make Them Pay! ® 

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Trucking Accidents -Ticking Time Bombs

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We have all been there. You are driving down the highway and an 18-wheeler appears to have a precarious load, or is easing into your lane. This rush of fear and adrenaline is a result of our primal understanding that this moving mass can cause mass damage! As drivers, we want to trust that the truck, its operator, and the load is is carrying are secure and safe for transport. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

Trucking companies have amassed a variety of ways to continue doing business despite state and federal safety regulations – and every single their trucks hit the road your life is in danger.

How Trucking Companies Continue to Keep Trucks on the Road

From blatantly ignoring legal notices to playing the system, trucking and transportation companies can continue business as usual, and your safety is in jeopardy.

In a recent Northeast Ohio case, a trucking company was ordered to cease operations after an inspection uncovered over 40 violations on one truck! The catch, this company was supposedly already out of business.  Since 2014, this company had already been ordered twice, to complete a laundry list of repairs.

In the US, many complain that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) are simply not doing enough to prevent dangerous equipment and companies from hitting the roadways. While an easy online search can uncover any trucking or transportation company’s safety and history records – an equally easy purchase can gain a company a new USDOT identifier and ultimately a clear bill of health.

The Motivation

Greed is the top motivator for trucking companies that continue to operate with unsafe equipment. While some infractions may seem trivial, there are many moving parts that need to work together and even a single small item could cause a problem. For some owners and operators, justifying and pushing these very real, very dangerous issues out of their mind is second nature.

Some companies that face expensive repair bills, excessive fines and other related fees resort to cheating the law and have a reckless disregard for human safety.. The cost of human life and injury is a distant worry – and our laws and regulations are not doing enough to ensure this doesn’t happen.

As your truck accident injury lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
 
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Trucking Accidents; 3rd Party Accountability

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Accidents involving tractor trailers can be confusing to navigate. Pedestrians, automobile drivers and truck drivers themselves can suffer debilitating injuries because of 3rd party negligence.

Understanding the Difference – Operator vs. 3rd Party

If an operator of a motor vehicle behaved negligently and it resulted in an injury or death, the operator can be held accountable. A host of factors are considered before an injured party is awarded compensatory and punitive damages.

Alternatively, if a third party such as a trucking company, failed to properly maintain its fleet of trucks and ultimately resulted in an injury or fatality – Both the operator and any other injured parties can be eligible for compensation.

Types of 3rd Party Involvement

Semi trucks are not alone on the road, and their safe operation is dependent on a variety of factors. From the drivers side of the equation, proper licensing, training and care lend to safe and careful operation on the roadways. From a 3rd party perspective; proper parts,maintenance procedures, or the cargo itself can impact the safe operation on the roadways.

Incorrect loading procedures, obscured or doctored cargo inventories, faulty parts and poor maintenance can all lead to catastrophic results. With the size and speed of a multi-axle vehicle, the results can be devastating for both the operator and other drivers. Purposeful negligence on the part of 3rd parties needs to be recognized and penalized;  a precedent must be set so a similar event will not happen again.

Compensation in a Truck Accident

As the victim of an accident resulting from 3rd party negligence, you are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and more. From surgeries to medications, long term rehabilitation, equipment, travel fees and lost income – Fighting for your rights is what I do.

As your Ohio truck accident lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
 
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities.” You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Cleveland Truck Accident Lawyer Supports Safe Haul Act

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Cleveland Truck Accident Lawyer Supports The Safe Haul Act 

Interstate commerce is an integral part of our busy lives. Truck drivers spend countless hours on the road, because consumers and businesses alike rely on them to be efficient, effective, and safe.

Trucking is big business and as such, profit is of primary importance to trucking companies.  Unfortunately trucking safety has taken a back seat to profit.  In fact, more than 300,000 semi-trucks were involved in traffic accidents in the United States in 2012. These accidents resulted in more than 100,000 injuries and almost 4,000 deaths.  Trucking accidents continued to rise at an alarming rate in 2013 and 2014.

Despite a steady increase in the number of accidents involving tractor-trailers, commercial motor vehicle s have surprisingly low minimum insurance coverage requirements.

In 1980, the minimum insurance coverage for commercial motor vehicles set by Federal Law was $750,000.  Incredibly, the minimum insurance coverage requirement remains the same in 2014, 34 years later!   Today, a whopping 42% of all U.S. truck accident settlements exceed the current federal insurance requirements. 

Most truck drivers in the United States are grossly under-insured.

Since the vast majority of the motor carrier population maintains insurance coverage at the federal minimum, most truck drivers are grossly underinsured.  When truck drivers have inadequate insurance coverage, or their employer does not provide them with adequate coverage, damages can be devastating.  Following an accident, drivers are forced to go after their employers to cover damages, or they often have no choice but to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying damages.

As a result of inadequate insurance coverage, truck accident victims are often left with catastrophic injuries, sometimes unable to work, and without compensation.

That is why Matt Cartwright, a U.S. State Representative from Pennsylvania, has proposed the Safe Haul Act, which would increase the federal minimum insurance requirements to $4.4 million.  The newly proposed minimum insurance requirement accounts for today’s costs/inflation.

I am a member of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of American (APITLA), and it is our mission to reduce the number of traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths associated with trucking accidents. We work to “put the brakes on unsafe trucking companies” by working aggressively within the law through learning, legislation, and litigation.

As an avid member of APITLA, I want to ensure innocent drivers are protected from the danger of tractor-trailers. If you or your loved one were involved in a trucking accident, call me immediately at 1 (877) 944-4373. I will not only fight to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve, I will continue to fight to change policy so innocent drivers can be protected.

As a highly experienced personal injury lawyer who has represented many truck injury victims, I fully support the increase of minimum insurance coverage requirements for commercial motor vehicles.

As your Ohio truck accident lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

For more than 34 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny, has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Wide Turns: #1 Cause of Trucking Accidents

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It’s no secret that big trucks are difficult to drive. That is why truck drivers must go through proper training and log on-the-road practice hours before they start working.

Even something as simple as a turn can become complicated and dangerous for someone driving a tractor-trailer.

In fact, squeeze play and/or wide turns are the two most common causes of trucking accidents.

When a semi-truck driver attempts to make a right-hand turn, cars on the left side of the truck are in danger. This is because it is necessary for the truck driver to swing the truck wide left to navigate a right hand turn.  Accidents typically occur during the turn and can potentially cause serious damage to the impacted vehicle, as well as severe injuries to its driver and/or passengers

Wide turn accidents have been known to occur when a truck driver fails to see the car in the left lane or mistakenly believes he or she has enough room to make the wide turn. Proper training is supposed to help drivers gauge where other vehicles are at all times, but training isn’t fool proof.

Drivers must recognize the potential dangers associated with big trucks on the road.

Truck drivers may signal to other vehicles if they feel they do not have enough room to make wide turns. It is important to pay attention to these signals because trucking companies will try to blame the other driver in wide turn accidents.

Keep in mind, truck drivers are always at fault when they negligently fail to see vehicles in a wide turn situations. If you or your loved one were involved in a trucking accident, you have to call me immediately at 1 (877) 944-4373. As your semi truck accident lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Truck Drivers’ Sleep Apnea: The Cause of Trucking Accidents?

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Four percent of the general population suffers from Sleep Apnea. Among truck drivers however, the percentage  who suffer from Sleep Apnea skyrockets to 30%. It is believed that this correlation is the result of Sleep Apnea risk factors that are commonly associated with those in the trucking industry, including: lifestyle, age, gender, and weight.

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that momentarily restricts a person’s airway while they are sleeping.  This event causes poor sleep quality and exhaustion. Since the disorder occurs during sleep, it result in a loss of oxygen which may lead to a stroke, heart attack or even death.  Furthermore, people often are never diagnosed with the disorder.

Truck drivers suffering from sleep apnea may be the cause of a large percentage of trucking accidents.

A research study compared the number of accidents of 800 truck drivers diagnosed with Sleep Apnea to 800 truck drivers without  Sleep Apnea and the results very clear.  Drivers with Sleep Apnea had more than twice the number of accidents than drivers without the disorder; 250 crashes in a three year period versus just 123 crashes.

Risk factors for Sleep Apnea include:

  • Obesity with a body mass index of 33 or greater
  • High blood pressure
  • Age over 40
  • Nasal Obstructions
  • Male gender
  • Neck 17″ or larger
  • Cigarette smoking

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Lack of concentration
  • Loud snoring
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Gasping for breath

The trucking industry has identified Sleep Apnea as one of the biggest factors contributing to tractor trailer accidents. The problem is that not enough is being done about it.  Trucking companies should implement Sleep Apnea screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs to help reduce the staggering number of accidents attributed to Sleep Apnea.

If you or your loved one was involved in a trucking accident, call me immediately at 1 (877) 944-4373. As your truck accident lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.