Commercial truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and death. The enormous size, weight, and momentum of a semi-truck, tractor-trailer or 18 wheeler can cause a devastating impact in a collision with a smaller vehicle. Serious or fatal injuries are more common with truck accidents than accidents between other motor vehicles.
Commercial Truck Drivers and Operators Must Comply with Extensive Federal Rules and Regulations
If you’ve been injured in a commercial driving accident, or if a family member has been killed, it’s important to understand that commercial truck drivers and operators must comply with a host of federal rules and regulations that don’t apply to non-commercial drivers. Some of these rules and regulations include the following:
- Hours of Service rules. Commercial truck drivers and operators are only allowed to drive a certain number of hours per day and a certain number of hours over other time periods. They are also required to take mandatory breaks designed to combat driver fatigue.
- Log books. In order to document compliance with Hours of Service and other rules and regulations, commercial drivers are required to maintain log books that detail the days and times that they drive and their routes. (In lieu of maintaining physical log books, they may also use computers to capture this information.)
- Vehicle Maintenance. Commercial truck drivers and their companies are required to “systematically inspect, repair, and maintain” their vehicles and to document such activity.
- Prohibition against amphetamines or “pep pills.” Even if the substances are legal, federal regulations prohibit commercial drivers from taking certain drugs prior to or while driving.
- Pre-trip inspections. Not only must drivers conduct pre-trip inspections, they also must examine their load and load securing devices at prescribed intervals.
As commercial truck accident lawyers, we will want to find out whether a commercial driver or the commercial driver’s company is in violation of any these or other rules and regulations.
Common Violations of Hours of Service Rules
Commercial truck drivers are frequently paid based upon the number of miles driven or upon the completion of deliveries. Because there is a high incentive to drive more miles than allowed under federal regulations in order to earn more money or to complete deliveries earlier, some commercial drivers will fabricate log book information. In some instances, companies employing these drivers will “turn a blind eye” to the illegal activities of their drivers, as it will also be in their best interest to have the truck driver make more deliveries.
As a truck accident law firm, we will want to obtain and carefully inspect all pertinent records relating to a commercial truck driver’s activities in the days prior to an accident, as well as the vehicle inspection records, to determine whether any federal violations have taken place. A thorough investigation may help us to develop a stronger case for liability against the driver and possibly the driver’s company, as egregious violations by the driver or the driver’s company may be uncovered.
If You Have Been Injured or if a Loved One has been Killed by a Commercial Truck Driver, Please Call Us
We offer a free, no obligation consultation so that we can learn about the facts and circumstances of your case, and so that you can learn how our firm will represent you if we are retained. Upon learning about the facts and circumstances of your case, we can explain to you the legal options that you may have for recovery, and how we will work tirelessly on your behalf.
We generally accept truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not owe us any fees unless and until we recover for you.
Please call us today at 206-388-0333 to arrange a free consultation.