Large commercial trucks have a number of risk factors that make trucking accidents more likely. It is important to be aware of these trucking accident risk factors in order to protect yourself on the roadway, and minimize the risk of becoming the victim of a serious trucking accident.
Trucking Accident Risk Factors
Trucker Fatigue. Lack of sleep can be particularly risky for truck drivers. For this reason, the following hour-of-service regulations are in place to ensure that truckers get enough sleep to safely operate their vehicles
- Truck drivers are limited to a maximum average work week of 70 hours;
- Truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week may only resume driving if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights from 1- 5 a.m.;
- Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift; and
- Truck drivers are limited to an 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.
Distracted Driving. Like all motorists, truckers who text-and-drive create unsafe conditions that are ripe for a trucking accident. Truckers who drive across state lines are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles, and truckers who violate these laws face civil penalties. States also have the authority to suspend a trucker’s commercial driver’s license after two or more serious traffic violations. Improperly Secured Truck Loads. If a truck load is not properly secured, or if the tractor-trailer is overloaded, accidents can be caused by falling debris, unstable truck beds, leaking liquids, or a loss of control of vehicle. Trucker Negligence. Like all motorists, truckers can cause accidents when they negligently operate their vehicles. Trucker negligence can include things like distracted driving and trucker fatigue, as well as driving too fast for conditions and failing to obey traffic signs.
Truck Accident Liability
Depending on the cause of a trucking accident, liability can be assessed against the trucker or trucking company. In some cases, a trucker or trucking company can also be subject to fines and other penalties. For instance, if a trucker or trucking companies violates the hour-of-service regulations, the FMSCA is authorized to shut down the trucking company if it has a history of purposely violating federal trucking regulations. For instance, in November 2012, the FMCSA shut down Illinois trucking company C&D Transportation because it was found to have “willingly violated an out-of-service order and continued to operate by renting vehicles on the effective date of the OOS.” Additionally, the trucker or trucking company could also be liable for money damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Trucking accident lawsuits can involve complex factual and legal issues, however, making it important to consult with a knowledgeable trucking accident attorney. At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago trucking accident attorneys are committed to keeping Illinois motorists safe and keeping risky truckers off the road. If you were injured or a loved one died in a trucking accident, contact our office at (888) 325-7299 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible personal injury lawsuit. Additional Information:
- WHAT ARE TRUCKING HOUR-OF-SERVICE LAWS?
- FMCSA SHUTS DOWN ILLINOIS TRUCKING COMPANY
Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.