Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorneys
While passenger vehicles – cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs – typically share the road with larger commercial vehicles – 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, straight trucks, and others – there is always the chance for a severe accident to occur. Commercial drivers must have a special driver’s license known as a CDL that permits them to drive larger, commercial trucks. While many, if not most commercial drivers are contentious and careful individuals, some drivers attempt to skirt the rules or push the limits. Other commercial drivers may typically be careful drivers, but they may be pressed by a tight schedule or financial concerns that cause them to act in a risky or negligent manner.
Reiff & Bily represents clients injured by semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheeler trucks, and delivery trucks in Pennsylvania. We are a nationally recognized personal injury law firm that is committed to obtaining the best possible results for our clients. Please contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your Pennsylvania truck accident case by calling 800-861-6708.
The Prevalence of and Reasons Behind Commercial Truck Crashes
Deaths caused by large trucks may have peaked in 1979 when nearly 5,000 individuals were killed by commercial trucks while driving or riding in passenger vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles or while walking as a pedestrian. Furthermore, nearly 1,400 drivers of commercial trucks were also killed in these collisions and wrecks. While the number of deaths dropped to about 3,602 fatalities in 2013, deaths due to commercial truck wrecks are still a serious concern. Most troubling is the fact that deaths actually increased by about 14 percent from 2009 to 2013.
As set forth above, each year negligent operators of large trucks seriously injure or kill thousands of pedestrians, drivers, and motorists. Large trucks weigh over 10,000 pounds and are often referred to as semi-trucks or “semis.” While these semi-trucks constitute only three percent of all registered motor vehicles in the United States, they cause over 25 percent of all deaths in motor vehicle collisions.
Truck crashes are disproportionately deadly due to the inherent characteristics of a large vehicle. To begin with, trucks often weigh as much as 20 to 30 times that of a common passenger vehicle. Thus, a fully loaded 18-wheeler can require a 20 to 40 percent greater stopping distance to prevent a rear-end collision. Furthermore, because of the weight of the trucks involved, injuries are typically serious. The force of a large truck striking a car or motorcycle can be catastrophic. Additionally, the greater height of trucks opens the possibility for catastrophic underride injuries. While underride guards can protect against injuries of this type in some cases, they are far from foolproof and one 2013 Insurance Institute for highway Safety study found that most underride guards are deficient in preventing injuries in certain crash types. Furthermore, certain trucks including dump trucks are exempt from the federal underride guard requirement. The injuries sustained in truck crashes are usually serious and life-altering if they are not fatal.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Are Supposed to Keep Drivers Safe
Truck drivers of 18-wheeler trucks and semi-trucks must abide by both state and federal regulations. At the federal level and depending on the nature of the regualtion, these standards are promulgated and enforced by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Many of these rules were designed to ensure the safety of truck drivers, as well as the motorists and pedestrians that share the roads with them. Unfortunately many of these rules are also the targets of trucking industry lobbyists.
Truck drivers may only drive their vehicles for a set number of hours at a time. This is known as “hour of service” (HOS) regulations. Hours of service regulations are intended to reduce the incidence of fatigued driving by commercial drivers. Commercial drivers operating a vehicle weighing more than 10,001 pounds or meeting other characteristics must, generally, comply with several restrictions on his or her driving including:
- 11-hour limit
- 14-hour limit
- 60/70 hour “weekly” limit
While a 55-hour restart rule was in effect for much of 2014, that rule was suspended after lobbying efforts by the trucking industry. Despite this suspension, fatigued driving by truckers remains a serious safety concern for all motorists.
If You Were Injured In an Accident Involving a Semi or Commercial Truck, Our Lawyers Can Help
Injured individuals can hold truck drivers and trucking companies legally liable for harm caused by their negligence or noncompliance. If you were injured or have lost a loved one in a trucking accident, contact our trucking accident lawyers for a free & confidential consultation. We have the experience and resources to properly prepare and pursue a trucking accident claim. Our personal injury lawyers can negotiate with the trucking company, insurance company, and any other relevant parties in the matter.
Call Reiff & Bily at 1-800-861-6708 or contact us online. Since statutes of limitations can bar your claim through the passage of time alone, time may be of the essence. In other cases, you may need to act immediately to preserve evidence in your trucking accident case.
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