Semis and other cargo delivery trucks, often much larger than passenger vehicles, are a potent threat to motorists, motorcyclists and bicyclists. Because truck accidents can be so dangerous, commercial transportation carriers must be operated and maintained according to regulations developed by federal and state authorities.
For example, drivers must undergo extensive training to demonstrate that they are capable of safely operating large vehicles in traffic. Once licensed to operate commercial trucks, drivers must follow detailed rules about how long they can drive and what they’re able to haul. Additionally, trucking companies must schedule regular maintenance on vehicles and observe other regulations.
Unfortunately, laws governing the commercial trucking industry are routinely broken — often due to negligence. As a result, truck drivers and commercial delivery companies are often responsible for motor vehicle accidents and can be determined liable for personal injury damages.
Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
There are many potential causes of truck accidents. Some of the most frequent to occur are the direct result of negligent actions on the part of truck drivers or commercial delivery companies.
Following are some common causes of truck accidents:
Driver fatigue. Federal law states that drivers may operate a truck for no longer than 11 hours at a time. Following this period on the road, an operator must break from driving for at least 10 hours. Drivers are legally responsible for keeping a logbook that tracks the number of hours and miles they drive.
Distracted driving. Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, and the temptation to talk on a handheld cellphone or sending text messages can be very strong. It is also against the law, and potential grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Speeding. Drivers are under increasing pressure to shorten the time it takes to transport their goods from city to city. Operators may drive over the speed limit to make up time on the road. Pressure to go faster may also cause drivers to follow passenger vehicles too closely.
Oversized load violations. Safety standards dictate clear restrictions on how much weight a truck may carry. Additionally, there are standards for properly securing loads, marking large loads and following travel restrictions.
How Can An Attorney Help?
To protect themselves from lawsuits, trucking companies and their insurance companies employ people who specialize in investigating truck accident. These professionals have an interest in minimizing a trucker’s or company’s fault in accidents. This makes it especially important that you also have a knowledgeable advocate, someone to look out for your legal and financial interests after a car accident.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be familiar with state and federal trucking laws, providing insight on what accident factors may make it possible for you to file a civil lawsuit. Additionally, an attorney can obtain cellphone records, logbooks and other materials that can be critical toward proving a driver was distracted, fatigued or engaged in another negligent behavior at the time of an accident.