Semi-truck collisions are some of the most dangerous accidents on the road, resulting in injuries to about 130,000 people and about 4,000 deaths every year. To try to prevent these accidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enact regulations that are designed to increase truck driver safety on the road. Here are some of those regulations and how ignoring them can have serious consequences. If you suspect that a truck driver who crashed into you was ignoring one or more of the following regulations, talk to a personal injury attorney about your case.
Hours of Service
After 8 hours of driving, a commercial truck driver must take a 30-minute break before continuing. Truckers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours per shift, and they must rest for at least 10 hours in between shifts. In addition, a truck driver can only be on duty for a maximum of 60 driving hours 7 days, after which they must spend at least 34 hours on break. These hours-of-service regulations are designed to reduce trucker fatigue.
If a truck driver gets tired on long stretches of highway, it greatly increases the likelihood of a car accident. A driver who doesn't get a full night of rest or who is otherwise sleep-deprived could have trouble staying awake behind the wheel, leading to slowed reflexes and a potential collision.
To see whether the truck driver who crashed into you was violating hours-of-service regulations, your personal injury attorney can review electronic logs to determine how long the trucker had been driving at the time of the crash. Trucking companies sometimes urge drivers to exceed federal limits in order to make deliveries on time. If this was the case in your accident, both the trucker and their employer might be named in your personal injury lawsuit.
Mechanical issues such as worn brakes or tires can cause an accident if truckers are not vigilant about inspecting their vehicles. Semi-trucks are massive and heavy, so they can cause serious damage in an accident. For this reason, commercial vehicles must undergo inspections and maintenance at regular intervals. Drivers must perform a complete safety inspection at the end of every work day, and other inspections for mechanical issues need to be performed at least once a year. The company that employs the trucker or supplies the vehicle must keep records of these inspections and all maintenance performed.
Your personal injury attorney will request safety reports and maintenance logs for the truck that crashed into you. If it turns out that shoddy repairs or a total lack of maintenance caused the crash, then your attorney may include this as evidence of negligence when arguing for your settlement.