Over two million trucks are on the road focusing on meeting important deadlines with the goods they are hauling from one place to another; however, sometimes the truck drivers or their trucking companies get careless or negligent, putting the lives of others in serious danger. Truck accidents, or semi accidents, are a part of 500,000 accidents each year causing over 5,000 fatalities and over 140,000 serious injuries. Common injuries include head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries, whiplash, broken bones, loss of limbs, and death.
Many of these truck wrecks occur as a result of jackknifing, truck rollovers, driving at high speeds, driver inexperience, driver fatigue, decreased visibility or difficulty in seeing blind spots, mechanical failures, improperly loading a semi, or overloading the 18 wheeler. The truth is that truckers are very highly regulated, even more so after November 2017, and the overworking of truck drivers is a real problem. When this is an issue, the trucking company can be the main party at fault.
Federal Laws that Regulate Truck Driving
In addition to the laws of each state, a truck must always follow federal laws. The agency that is responsible for these regulations is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Hours of Service Rules:
- Violation of Compliance, Safety, Accountability Points (CSA Point)
- Generally, a worker can drive up to 11 hours and be on-duty for 14 hours. After this, they must rest for 10 hours off-duty.
- There are exceptions, but drivers are not supposed to drive unless at least 8 hours has passed since their last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
- Drivers must not drive if they have been on-duty for 7-8 consecutive days, driving 60-70 hours, and they may not drive this much again until after they rest at least 34 hours.
- Drivers are required to use the sleeper berth to rest for at least 8 consecutive hours as well as 2 additional hours to rest more or spend time off-duty.
- Drivers may not drive with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.02 AND they cannot have alcohol or drugs of any kind within 8 hours of driving
Truckers Are Responsible for the Following
- Getting pre-and post-trip inspections are important, but FMCSA does not require them to be submitted when there were no defects found.
- If they drive interstate, then they must get a USDOT number
- If they are hauling hazardous material, they must have passed additional tests before operating the truck AND they must have appropriate placarding
- They must pass a physical exam every 2 years
- They must maintain log books regarding their work time
- Interstate drivers must have a Motor Carrier # from the FMCSA, Unified Carrier Registration (UCR), USDOT number
Keep in mind that there are also state laws to consider along with these.
Get The Compensation You Deserve
Truck crashes are much more complex than most car wrecks; these complexities often require experts to reenact and reconstruct the accident itself as well as the scene. Based on this expert testimony, liability and responsibility can often be determined, and judgment can then be ruled according to state and federal laws.
If you were injured in an eighteen wheeler accident or if a loved one was killed in the truck wreck, you need a personal injury attorney that understands the emotional and physical toll that this wreck took and understands the complexities of these types of cases. The attorney should be aggressive in seeking the compensation that you deserve. If you or someone you care about has been in a tragic accident with a large truck or 18-wheeler, there are more things to consider than meets-the-eye. Contact a qualified personal injury lawyer, and start seeking the compensation you need to recover.