While it’s easy to assume the driver is always the reason behind a truck accident, many factors could be at play. The underlying cause of the accident could have nothing to do with the driver at all. The truck must be manufactured, inspected, and loaded before it even hits the road. A lot could go wrong during this process.
Proper investigation of evidence and knowledge of federal trucking regulations could help determine what caused your trucking accident.
All truckers must follow the federal guidelines for consecutive driving hours. Truckers are more likely to cause an accident when they are too tired to drive.
Trucker fatigue is a huge problem and one reason the federal government has instituted Hours of Service regulations for many truckers. These regulations dictate how long truckers can work before taking 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.
Trucking companies can be held accountable when driver fatigue causes collisions, as they often indicate the trucking company failed to give their truckers enough rest between shifts as required by law.
Improperly Secured Loads
Semi-trucks can carry hefty loads. If these loads aren’t correctly 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 must be sure that they are safely driving, including taking the sloshing of the liquid into account as they drive.
Cargo loaders, safety inspectors, and truck drivers who failed to ensure the loads were appropriately secured on the tractor-trailer before driving the massive vehicle can be sued for damages.
Truckers shouldn’t use cell phones to make calls or texts if they must 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.
Truck drivers who fail to uphold their legal obligation to keep themselves and other drivers and passengers on the roads safe can be held accountable and forced to pay restitution to victims and have their commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspended or revoked.
Semi-trucks rely on components that are part of the truck to operate safely. Accidents can happen when the components of the semi-truck or trailer fail because they are faulty.
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. Accidents can also happen if a component isn’t defective but has not been maintained or installed correctly.
When defective truck parts cause collisions, your truck accident lawyer may have the evidence needed to prove the trucking company, the owner of the truck, maintenance professionals, and other third parties share fault for your damages.
Many trucking companies put drivers onto the road before they are fully trained. For this reason, drivers don’t know the necessary driving techniques and tips to remain safe. Trucking companies can be sued for damages when inexperienced and improperly trained truckers cause collisions.
Any substance, including some prescription drugs, can hinder a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Truck drivers who use illicit drugs or alcohol and cause collisions may be ordered to compensate victims for their damages and have their CDL suspended or revoked.
Truck Company Violations
The policies of a trucking company, such as tight delivery promises, can lead truckers to drive in an unsafe manner. Truckers might hurry to make those deadlines, which can lead them to speed. In some cases, truckers might violate federal regulations to meet delivery deadlines.
Truck Driver Work-Hour Regulation Violations
Many companies set unrealistic schedules that require drivers to speed and drive for too many consecutive hours. Drivers carrying goods have a limited time to drive each day. However, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, 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, including 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 returning to driving. They may work up to 15 hours if that time involves some non-driving duties. Five of the 15 hours should be unrelated to driving passengers.
Drivers can’t drive more than 70 hours over eight consecutive days. They can’t drive more than 60 hours in seven days. Drivers must take 34 consecutive hours off between seven- or eight-day shifts. When trucking companies violate these regulations, drivers can become fatigued and increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries.
Failure to Follow Trucker Medical Restrictions
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 operate if they take an amphetamine, narcotic or habit-forming drug as specified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Drivers who take anti-seizure medications are unable to drive.
Drivers who have medical conditions may need to meet ongoing certification regulations. For instance, a driver with non-insulin-treated diabetes mellitus must control the disease and be permitted to drive through a medical examination. The driver needs annual re-certification exams and should only be driving with them.
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 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.
Get Help From Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Learn more about your rights and options for dealing with a Texas truck accident. Contact us by calling (866) 435-5219 and speak with The Law Giant at Begum Law Group Injury Lawyers in a free, no-risk consultation.