Trucking accidents are among the most serious. The lethal danger posed by the crowded mix of big rigs and passenger cars sharing our public roadways is well known. Because of the danger, special regulations apply to truck drivers and trucking companies. Regulatory knowledge is the key to holding a commercial driver or trucking company accountable for injury caused to you or your loved ones.
Federal regulations apply to a wide variety of commercial vehicles--big rigs, buses, trucks hauling hazardous materials, and even private vehicles towing heavy trailers. Companies operating commercial vehicles must properly screen and train drivers, and monitor driver compliance.
A trucking company or commercial passenger carrier must have a designated compliance officer, a driver safety program, a driver qualification process and a drug/alcohol testing program. A company’s failure to meaningfully implement any of these safety measures shows its negligence and disregard for public safety.
The strong link between driver fatigue and attentiveness has been known for decades. Studies have shown that in most serious trucking accidents, the at-fault driver had inadequate rest breaks. For this reason, a commercial driver’s hours of service are strictly regulated.
A driver’s use of a radar detector, the presence of unauthorized passengers, handheld phone use, texting, illness and fatigue can all show a driver’s carelessness and disregard for public safety.
Of particular importance to road users in the rainy northwest, federal regulations also require commercial drivers to drive with “extreme caution” when operating in conditions that affect visibility and traction.
A commercial operator must ensure proper vehicle service, and regular inspection, repair and maintenance. A commercial operator must also make sure other road users can see, identify and appreciate a commercial vehicle’s size and position on the road, especially at night. An operator’s failure to properly care for or mark equipment shows their negligence and disregard for safety.
Commercial vehicles are more complex than passenger cars and trucks, especially their braking and fuel systems. An experienced trucking accident attorney will be able to properly investigate the equipment involved to determine if any equipment manufacturer is responsible, or partly responsible, for injury or harm. In commercial passenger vehicles, equipment like seat anchorages, window glazing, luggage racks, and fire protection must all be analyzed.
Commercial driver logs are only preserved for six months. Black box recording data, GPS data, dispatch records, freight records, fuel receipts, scale receipts and toll receipts disappear with the passage of time.
If you or a family member have been injured by a commercial vehicle, you must contact a lawyer without delay. The loss of important information can deprive you or a family member of your opportunity to receive fair compensation for a trucking accident.
Only a lawyer experienced in trucking accidents can do the investigation to determine the true identity of owners and operators, and find all the responsible parties through the maze of alter egos and shady leasing agreements common in the commercial vehicle world. Contact the Law Office of Cameron Carter today for a free consultation about your trucking accident.