Do you find yourself spending a lot of time on the highway? Almost everywhere you go, you see semi-trucks on the roads. You might not think anything about traveling next to these large trucks, but these trucks are akin to deadly weapons because when they aren’t maintained and handled properly, they can cause accidents that injure or kill.
The more time you spend on the highway the more commercial trucks you will come across. While you know the importance of sharing the road with these vehicles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to avoid trouble at all times. There are various factors that can lead to a truck accident and even though the United States has put several regulations in place to govern the trucking industry, unfortunately, even if you’re obeying the rules, a trucker could make an error or ignore a rule with disastrous results.
If you or a loved one are involved in a Texas truck accident, call the Begum Law Group and speak to the Law Giant about your options. Free consults available: 866-523-4167.
Here are some of the most common causes of a commercial truck accident:
- Drowsy driving. It’s important for all truckers to follow the federal guidelines in place for consecutive driving hours. When a trucker is too tired to drive, he or she is more likely to cause an accident.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any type of substance, including some types of prescription drugs, can hinder a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner.
- Inadequate training. Many companies put drivers onto the road before they are fully trained. For this reason, they don’t know the driving techniques and safety tips necessary to remain safe.
- Reckless driving. This can include everything from speeding to weaving in and out of traffic.
- Unrealistic schedules. In this case, the trucking company is often to blame. Many companies set unrealistic schedules that require drivers to speed and drive for too many consecutive hours.
Contributing Factors of Truck Accidents
Trucker fatigue is a huge problem, which is one reason why the federal government has instituted the Hours of Service regulations for many truckers. These regulations dictate how long truckers can work before they must take time off. This doesn’t do anything to help some of the other factors that can lead to trucker fatigue, including driving at night or having a medical condition that increases fatigue.
Improperly secured loads
Semi-trucks can carry very heavy loads. If these loads aren’t properly secured, they can become projectiles. Truckers should secure loads in ways that will keep those loads stationary while the truck turns and handles common driving maneuvers. In some cases, such as tankers, securing the load isn’t possible. This means that truckers have to be sure that they are driving in a safe manner that includes taking the sloshing of the liquid into account as they drive.
Just as distractions can lead to drivers of automobiles having accidents, distractions can lead to truckers having accidents. Truckers shouldn’t use cellphones to make calls or text if they have to use their hands. They should also avoid eating and doing anything else that will require them to take their eyes or focus off the roadway.
Semi-trucks rely on components that are part of the truck to operate in a safe manner. When the components of the semi-truck or trailer fail because they were faulty, accidents can happen. Think about the devastating accidents that could occur if a semi-truck has a faulty braking system or if the hitch fails and the trailer comes off the semi-truck. If a component wasn’t faulty but had not been maintained or installed properly, accidents can also occur.
Trucking company policies
The policies of a trucking company, such as tight delivery promises, can lead truckers to drive in an unsafe manner. Truckers might try to hurry to make those deadlines, which can lead them to speed. In some cases, truckers might end up violating federal regulations in an effort to make deadlines for deliveries.
Truck Driver Regulations
Drivers carrying goods have a limited time to drive each day
Drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day and must have at least 10 hours off-duty between 11-hour shifts. Additionally, the person is not allowed to drive after being on-duty consecutively for 14 hours, even if those duties did not involve driving-related tasks.
Drivers who transport passengers have heavy driving restrictions
Drivers who transport passengers, which include people like school bus drivers and taxi carriers, are limited to driving 10 hours in a row, maximum. They must take at least eight hours off-duty before they can return to driving. In total, they may work up to 15 hours as long as that time involves some non-driving duties. In total, five of the 15 hours should be unrelated to driving passengers.
Hourly limits restrict driver workweeks
No, your child’s school bus driver can’t drive over 70 hours over eight consecutive days. He or she can’t drive more than 60 hours in seven days. The same is true for any other driver who transports passengers. For those who don’t transport passengers, the same limits apply, and the driver must take 34 consecutive hours off between seven- or eight-day shifts.
Drivers must meet medical guidelines
The Department of Transportation creates hourly regulations to help prevent drowsiness from affecting drivers. Additional medical restrictions also apply to drivers. For example, drivers may not drive commercially if they take medical marijuana. A driver may not take a controlled substance or prescription medication without an authentic prescription and may not drive if he or she is taking an amphetamine, narcotic or a habit-forming drug as specified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Drivers who take anti-seizure medications are unable to drive.
Drivers with medical conditions may need further evaluation
Drivers who have medical conditions may need to meet ongoing certification regulations. For instance, a driver with non-insulin treated diabetes mellitus must have the disease adequately controlled and be permitted to drive through a medical examination. The driver needs annual re-certification exams and should not be driving without them.
These are just a few of the restrictions placed on commercial drivers. When you’re hit, your attorney can help you identify if the driver was in violation of the law.
Even though you may have many years of experience driving in close proximity to commercial trucks, you never know when somebody will make a poor decision that puts you in a bad situation.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you’re involved in a truck accident, do these three things:
- Stay put until help arrives (police and ambulance).
- Receive medical treatment, while also learning more about how to treat your injuries in the future.
- Learn more about your legal rights, including a detailed review of the accident to determine who was responsible.
By taking these steps, you’ll put the appropriate focus on your health while also determining if you can receive compensation from the negligent party. Doing both of these things will help you regain control of your life in the future.
Learn more about your rights and options about dealing with a Texas truck accident. Call 866-523-4167 and speak with The Law Giant at Begum Law Group in a free, no0risk consultation.