What Trucking Safety Regulations Affect My Case?
Truck companies and truck drivers are required to follow federal, state and local trucking regulations to prevent dangerous accidents on the road. But unfortunately, the unreasonable demands for truck drivers, from tight delivery schedules to long hours on the road, could result in many violations of regulations that contribute to severe accidents.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, find out what rules may have been violated and how you can protect your case. The experienced Savannah truck accident attorneys at Roden Law can investigate your truck accident and determine whether rules violations occurred and how they impact your claims.
Some of the most important rules to which trucking companies and their employees must adhere include the following:
Hours of Service
Federal guidelines limit the number of hours that a truck driver can drive in a day and between break periods. There are different rules for drivers carrying passengers and drivers carrying goods. These rules were put in place to decrease the number of fatigued-driving accidents, which are common when truck drivers are pushed to drive more miles to meet deadlines.
- Property-carrying drivers – Drivers carrying cargo have a maximum of 11 hours on the road after having 10-consecutive hours off duty.
- Passenger-carrying drivers – Drivers carrying passengers have a maximum of 10 driving hours after having eight consecutive hours off duty.
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their trucks are safe on the road and do not pose a hazard to other motorists. They must keep careful records of inspection and maintenance.
Trucking companies are required to ensure that their drivers are properly trained on safe driving practices and that they have a commercial driver’s license.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
There are strict federal guidelines that require truck drivers to be tested at certain intervals, including the following:
- Before being offered employment
- After an accident
- At random times
- When reasonably suspected of impairment
- To return to duty after a violation
- As part of a substance abuse program
There are also regulations on supervisors and managers who are trained to spot drug impairment.
Common Truck Accidents Caused by Negligence
Truck accidents are often caused by driver error and negligence. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Driving on the road for a long time can be monotonous and may tempt drivers to use their cellphones or engage in other distracted driving habits.
- Fatigue – Driving long hours, especially at night can increase the likelihood of a fatigued driving accident.
- Lack of training – There is a shortage of truck drivers in the country and many of them have not been properly trained.
- Improperly-loaded cargo – Cargo can become dislodged and fall out of the truck, hitting other vehicles or becoming an obstacle.
Who Is Liable?
Truck accident cases are unique from other types of accidents in that they often involve multiple parties. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the following individuals and entities may be at fault:
- Truck driver – The truck driver may cause the accident and be responsible for it due to his or her own negligence, such as in cases involving distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding or driving when fatigued.
- Trucking company – Generally, an employer is legally responsible for the actions of its employees while they are performing duties within the scope of their work. Additionally, trucking companies are required to provide proper maintenance and repairs on their vehicles and can be held legally responsible if they violate this duty.
- Owner of the truck – If the truck driver did not own the truck, there may be a claim that can be made against the owner of the truck since the owner is responsible for its safe use and maintenance.
- Truck or parts manufacturer – If a defect in the truck or one of its parts contributes to the accident, the manufacturer can be held legally responsible for it. For example, defective brakes or tires may result in a truck accident occurring.
- Cargo company – If a third-party company loaded the cargo improperly, this can cause the cargo to fall off the back of the truck or make it jackknife. In these situations, the cargo company may bear liability.
How an Experienced Lawyer Can Protect Your Case
A truck accident lawyer is familiar with the various regulations that may affect truck accident claims. He or she can identify possible violations of these important regulations and explain how they may impact your case. Additionally, he or she can preserve important evidence in your case to help establish liability.
The aggressive truck accident attorneys at Roden Law can accurately calculate the value of damages in your claim and work to negotiate a settlement that fully compensates you for these losses. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.