Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye in Armstrong County. Covering over 664 square miles and home to over 75,000 people and families this county is important because it contains several major roads. However, when you are driving on the road you are likely to be sharing the road with commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers. Due to their size, weight, and momentum when there is an accident involving a tractor-trailer there are likely going to be severe injuries and even the possibility of death.
Commercial Truck Driver Regulations
In many ways, tractor-trailers are just like other cars on the road. They have to follow the speed limits. They have to obey traffic signs and signals. They have to slow down in construction zones. However, unlike general passenger vehicles, tractor-trailer drivers and other commercial drivers are subject to their own sets of regulations, which are in addition to the general traffic laws that everyone must follow.
The trucking industry has an extensive list of regulations and laws called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The FMCSRs guide the self-regulated trucking industry with regulations spanning all aspects of trucking, including:
Licensing requirements for truck drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has noted that it takes a higher level of knowledge, experience, skill, and physical ability to drive a commercial vehicle as opposed to a general passenger vehicle. Therefore they have imposed higher standards for those who are seeking to drive a commercial vehicle
In order to receive a commercial driver’s license, a driver will generally have to show that they are eligible by producing a driving record in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, they will have to show that they are medically qualified to drive a trailer
Limits on consecutive work hours by hours
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration had conducted years of study and determined that because of the long hours that truckers are on the road, they pose a danger to themselves and to others on the road. Therefore, they enacted laws, which limit the amount of time a driver can be on the road. Generally, the rule is that a driver may drive for a maximum of 11 hours after they have had 10 consecutive hours off duty.
Weight, size, and route limitations
There are strict laws and regulations for how much a truck can weigh, how large it can be, and what roads it can use when it weighs a certain amount. These regulations and their interpretations are vital when building a truck accident lawsuit.
Common Reasons for Truck Accidents
Despite the fact that it takes more training, skill, and knowledge to be a truck driver, there are many reasons why a truck driver may be involved in an accident. Some of the most common reasons include:
Defective and hazardous roadways
The Transportation Construction Coalition found that hazardous roadways lead to over 22,000 fatalities every year. Dangerous roads are often the result of construction or maintenance or poor design.
DUI/ Drugs/ Alcohol
Driving while impaired is a major problem plaguing truck drivers across the country. Federal regulation subpart A § 392.4which regulates the use of drugs and other narcotic substances by truck drivers and clearly states: -No truck driver shall be on duty and possess, be under the influence of, or use, any of the following drugs or other substances: -Any 21 CFR 1308.11 Schedule I substance -An amphetamine or any formulation thereof (including, but not limited, to “pep pills” and “bennies”) -A narcotic drug or any derivative thereof -Any other substance, to a degree that renders the driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.
There are federal laws that dictate how long a driver may drive due to studies they’ve done on the effects of driver fatigue. However, that does not mean that the drivers always follow these rules. Often drivers will forgo the amount of rest that they need in order to make an extra delivery or stop.
In addition to these reasons, there are countless other reasons why a tractor-trailer or other commercial driver may be involved in an accident. Excessive speeding, poorly maintained trucks, improperly loaded or overloaded trucks, and lack of training can all lead to accidents on the road.
Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Truck Accident?
Determining who is responsible for a truck accident is not always as easy as it sounds. Often times determining who was at fault can be an issue and one that can be very complex. However, when there is an accident involving a commercial vehicle there are often other parties who may be responsible including:
- The truck driver – the truck driver is one of the first people that are blamed for a trucking accident and are often the defendants in any litigation.
- The trucking company – the trucking company itself may be held liable for the actions of their drivers.
- The equipment manufacturers – in the event that an accident was caused by a defective product or piece of equipment then the company who manufactured the material may also be held liable
- Other drivers – truck accidents are often the result of multiple people and parties, therefore there might be more than one driver who is responsible for an accident.
- Government entities – federal, state, and local governments can all be responsible for certain accidents depending on the circumstances. One of the most common reasons why a government body might be held responsible is because a hazardous roadway caused the accident.
It is not always clear who is ultimately responsible for an accident but when you work with an experienced truck accident attorney who is familiar with the players and who to file a claim against can greatly increase your ability to receive compensation from the court.
Get in Touch with a Truck Accident Lawyer
However, if you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer you do not have to face your problems alone. The attorneys of Reiff Law Firm have over 100 years of combined award-winning experience in representing innocent victims who were catastrophically injured or killed in truck accidents. Our truck accident attorneys may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation call (215) 246-9000 or contact us online today.