Tractor-Trailer Accident Safety & Prevention
Accidents involving commercial trucks and tractor-trailers have an overwhelming potential to yield devastating consequences, including severe and life-altering injuries. Due to the fact that these massive machines share public roadways with pedestrians and passenger vehicles on a daily basis, the trucking industry is heavily regulated by both the state and federal government. These regulations focus on critical safety risks that, when violated, pose substantial dangers to public safety.
When truck drivers or trucking companies fail to abide by safety regulations designed to prevent truck accidents, they can be held accountable not only for violating the law but also for any harm they cause innocent victims as a result. At The Warren Firm, PLLC, our Charlottesville personal injury lawyers have extensive experience protecting the rights of victims and families after their lives are changed by preventable wrecks involving commercial trucks and 18-wheelers.
Equipped with the experience and resources to handle these challenging cases, we have the necessary tools to level the playing field between victims and powerful companies that aim to pay as little as possible in order to protect their bottom line. Their motives to place profits over people are also a common reason why regulations are violated.
When it comes to tractor-trailer safety, it is important to understand the trucking regulations in place, as they are intended specifically to prevent tractor-trailer wrecks. Some of the most important trucking safety regulations include:
- Hours-of-Service Rules – Driver fatigue has become a notable problem on our roadways. While it is certainly not a new danger, especially among truckers who have cargo to transport on time, new research is revealing that driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. In order to reduce the risks that come with a tired driver behind the wheel of a large commercial truck, Hours-of-Service rules are designed to prevent truckers from being on duty or on the road for too long. These rules also mandate regular rest breaks, and prevent truck drivers from operating a vehicle without a proper amount of rest or time between a full work week. Trucking companies must also install and operate electronic logging devices that record the amount of time a vehicle is in operation.
- Cargo Securement – Commercial trucks transport all types of goods, and a lot of them. When cargo is improperly secured, it increases the risk of shifting during transit, which can cause trucks to become imbalanced and lose control. Inadequately secured cargo can also fall off of tractor-trailers, creating significant roadway hazards, if not causing serious accidents. Regulations for cargo securement establish many rules for the types of devices trucking companies and drivers must use when securing different types of cargo, including hazardous materials, proper upkeep of securement devices, proper use of tie downs, vehicle regulations, cargo placement, and more.
- Impaired Driving – Drunk or drugged driving is a serious concern for all motorists, but especially so for drivers behind the wheels of massive trucks. Truck drivers are held to stricter standards when it comes to impaired driving, and they must pass routine examinations in which they are tested for drug or alcohol use. Trucking companies also have the responsibility for ensuring the safety of their drivers, including not hiring or retaining drivers who have a record of driving under the influence.
- Vehicle Maintenance – Old parts, vehicle components that don’t work as they should, and other maintenance issues can all lead to malfunction and serious collisions. As such, trucking companies have the responsibility of complying with regulations that mandate regular vehicle maintenance and repairs of potential hazards. If a trucking company fails to address a potential vehicle danger that later causes an accident and injuries, they can be held liable for their violations and failure to take reasonable steps in protecting public safety.
While there are a number of trucking regulations in place with which truck drivers and trucking companies must comply, motorists can also take steps to protect themselves by driving defensively whenever they are near commercial vehicles. This means providing enough space, ensuring you are not in a blind spot, and obeying the rules of the road.
Unfortunately, even the most vigilant driver can be harmed in an accident when others are negligent, including truck drivers and trucking companies that don’t abide by safety regulations. When these accidents occur, victims can be confident about placing their trust in The Warren Firm, PLLC to guide them through the legal process ahead and fight on their behalves for the compensation they deserve.
If you have questions regarding tractor-trailer accidents and your right to financial compensation for your damages, contact us for a free consultation.