When driving near semi-trucks, there’s an inevitable moment when you slightly tighten your muscles and hold your breath. Why? Because motorists know that trucks and truck drivers present numerous risks for those around them. In addition to the overwhelming size of trailer trucks compared to other vehicles, semis have been known to tip over, jackknife, and disconnect from their trailers. Unfortunately, the truck itself isn’t the only worry—truck drivers can—and do—make errors that can put your family at risk.
Mistakes Made by Truck Drivers
According to a study released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more truck crashes are caused by the driver than by vehicle malfunction, weather, and road conditions combined. Why is this? Often it is because truck drivers fail to follow the safety regulations governing their actions, placing you and your family in jeopardy. The most common “errors” made by truckers include the following:
- Driving while texting. Texting while driving a truck is illegal. Due to the large size of a commercial truck, any use of an electronic device while driving can lead to distractions that cause the driver to lose control and crash, endangering other drivers on the road.
- Driving while impaired. Drunk driving laws, which apply to all drivers, are even more restrictive for truck drivers. Nationally, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08% for drivers. However, the limit for a commercial truck driver is 0.04%. Furthermore, truck drivers are banned from using any controlled or uncontrolled substance unless specifically prescribed by their physicians and determined to be safe for use while driving. Federal regulations require trucking companies to randomly and routinely test their drivers for any signs of drug use while on duty.
- Driving through rest breaks. Federal regulations mandate that truck drivers must take rest periods and sleep in between long driving shifts to restore focus and remain alert. Under these hours of service rules, truck drivers are limited to a maximum 70 hour work week and must take at least one 30 minute rest break within the first 8 hours of his shift. If an accident occurs as a result of a driver falling asleep or failing to react properly to a dangerous situation, determining whether there was a violation of these regulations is the first step in proving liability. To ensure drivers aren’t ignoring their breaks, driving logs must be maintained during every trip, which account for every minute and mile traveled.
- Speeding. Many highways possess two separate speed limits—one for passenger vehicles and one for trucks. The truck limit is always lower than the normal passenger limit to compensate for steep grades or sharp turns that larger trucks may not be able to handle at higher speeds. Exceeding these speed limits is not just illegal, but also incredibly dangerous as the trucker can easily lose control of his rig.
For more information on truck accidents, liability, and injury compensation, take a few moments to download our helpful guidebook for resources and information. We have dedicated our careers to building experience and gathering information to help you, the victim, receive a fair claim assessment and settlement. Now you can use our findings to help guide your claim—Request your FREE copy today!
Contacting GriffithLaw can also help you understand your liability and injury compensation rights. Before speaking to an insurance company or settling on a claim, call our office today to ensure your future is protected.