How a Simple Trucking Mistake Could Seriously Injure You
Every year there are thousands of accidents involving large trucks and buses. These accidents seldom end well for all parties involved, especially when one of the vehicles is a tractor-trailer. The size and weight of commercial trucks is such that they do a lot of damage when they are involved in crashes.
It’s unfortunate, but one of the lessons we are constantly reminded of in our work as personal injury attorneys is this: a simple trucking mistake could seriously injure any one of us. A simple mistake could injure you.
For the record, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that there were 32,166 fatal crashes on U.S. highways in 2015. Just under 12% (3,838) involved large trucks and buses. As for crashes resulting in non-fatal injuries, 7.6% of the 6.26 million involved trucks and buses. That works out to approximately 476,000 crashes.
Trucking and the Law
We understand that accidents happen. We also understand that personal injuries are often the result of car and truck crashes. But the law is very specific about what is required of truck drivers. It is heartbreaking to have to represent a client whose injuries are the direct result of a truck driver either not complying with the law or simply making a careless mistake.
Note that truck drivers are required by federal and state law to secure their cargo properly prior to departure. They are also required to check their cargo periodically during the journey. Nothing is allowed to break loose and fall from the back of a truck. Furthermore, nothing on the back of a truck can be allowed enough movement to cause any kind of accident. Cargo must be secure at all times.
Here is where we get to the idea of a trucking mistake causing harm to someone else. The law mandates that drivers hauling flatbed loads use a specific number of tie-downs based on the weight of the load and the type of cargo being carried.
Let’s say a truck driver ran the math and miscalculated the weight. That miscalculation could lead to one less strap tying down his cargo. One less strap could mean something flies off that truck, smashes through your windshield, and sends you careening into a ditch.
Hours of Service Rules
Federal law goes beyond cargo securement and safe equipment to also address hours of service. Truck drivers are only allowed to work a limited number of hours in a given day and work week. Of the total hours worked, the amount of time actually spent behind the wheel is also limited by law.
Unfortunately, exceeding daily and weekly hours of service limits puts both the truck driver and everyone else on the road at risk. A minor misunderstanding of how to apply hours of service rules could result in a driver putting in more time than he is legally allowed. Subsequent driver fatigue could result in a crash that injures you.
The electronic logging device mandate implemented in late 2017 greatly reduces the chances of accidents due to hours of service violations. But even electronic logging devices are not perfect. There are still going to be those accidents involving tired truck drivers who kept driving rather than pulling over to get some rest.
The lesson here is clear: there are many ways you could be injured by a simple trucking mistake. That is the reality. Should you ever find yourself involved in a crash with a truck, feel free to contact us right away. We are here to represent you in your personal injury case.
- FMCSA – https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and-statistics/81121/2017-pocket-guide-large-truck-and-bus-statistics-final-508c-0001.pdf