Trucking RegulationsTruck drivers are subject to more rules and regulations than the average motorist. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck drivers by imposing important safety rules regarding the following:
- Hours of service (limited to 60 hours per week)
- Truck maintenance schedules
- Rules of the road
- Driver conduct
- Driver impairment
- Drug testing
- Transportation of hazardous material
- Cargo loading protocol
Truckers and ExhaustionBig rigs got their name for a reason: they can weigh up to 40 tons (that's 80,000 pounds!) and they’re wider, taller, and longer than all the other vehicles on the road. Their whopping size makes them extremely dangerous in a collision. Need proof? Nearly 10% of all fatal auto accidents involve semi trucks. Things only get worse when you add a fatigued truck driver to the mix. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finds that drowsy drivers are twice as likely as well-rested drivers to make driving errors at critical moments. These errors can lead to tragic accidents. When these tired drivers are manning 18-wheelers, the stakes are even higher. Furthermore, a driver doesn’t have to reach the point of nodding off to be impaired. Any amount of sleep deprivation can have an impact. Driving while drowsy impedes important driver functions like:
- Reaction time
Signs of Exhausted DrivingPay close attention to other drivers on the road, especially truckers. If you see someone driving erratically, distance yourself from that vehicle, and remember that tractor-trailers need even more distance. Know the signs of drowsy driving, and protect yourself by steering clear of any drivers who:
- Change speeds unpredictably or keep tapping the brakes
- Swerve or weave in and out of driving lanes
- Excessively speed
- Overcorrect for driving errors
- Make multiple driving corrections
- Slowly veer or drift in and out of driving lanes
- Lose control of semis
Truckin’ Through the HolidaysWhen the holiday season hits, big rigs are often fully loaded with a lot of miles to cover. Trucking companies have a lot of cargo to move during the holidays, and they sometimes cut corners to meet important deadlines. This risky behavior can lead to dangerous accidents and fatalities. Trucking companies owe a duty of care not only to their employees, but to all motorists on the road. This means trucking companies are responsible for:
- Hiring experienced professional drivers
- Adequately training new drivers
- Ensuring that their drivers have reasonable hours and schedules with adequate rest periods
- Ensuring all cargo is properly secured
- Inspecting rigs for safety
- Keeping up with regular truck maintenance
- Ensuring that truckers don’t have to drive in unsafe weather conditions
- Don’t let the negligent party intimidate you. You were injured, and your rights matter. This goes for the trucker, the trucking company, the company’s attorney or insurance provider, and other representatives of the negligent parties. If you were injured by someone else’s negligence, it’s your legal right to seek the compensation to which you’re entitled. Refer all inquiries to your attorney and don’t back down.
- Don’t sign anything. If you’re offered a settlement, don’t feel tempted to sign it out of sheer frustration or to simply put an end to the matter. Your truck accident attorney will help you determine if the settlement truly compensates you for all of your losses, which can be financial, physical, and emotional.
- Don’t postpone filing. The longer you wait to file a truck accident claim, the more difficult it becomes to adequately support your case. Critical evidence is likely to lose credibility or deteriorate over time.
- Don’t volunteer any information. After a truck accident, you are naturally upset—but don’t take this opportunity to share your story with anyone associated with the at-fault trucker. This shared information could damage your case when the other side misconstrues it later. Your truck accident lawyer will share any information that you need to share.