Large commercial vehicles can be used for a variety of purposes. 18-wheelers and flatbed trailers can be used to haul consumer or industrial goods. Dump trucks, Mack trucks, concrete mixers and others types of large commercial vehicles are often used in construction. In short, motorists in passenger vehicles must share the highways, county roads and local streets with hulking behemoths.
Unfortunately, accidents involving large commercial vehicles do occur. While these accidents can occur for a myriad of reasons, when they do occur they typically cause more severe injuries than those involving more compact vehicles like cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks. These severe injuries or wrongful deaths are often the product of the mass of the commercial vehicle and the speeds involved.
If you have been in a severe accident that produced a catastrophic injury such as a broken bone, brain injury, neck or spine injury severe burns or other injuries you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced vehicle accident lawyer can handle the insurance company and advocate for a favorable settlement or jury award for you.
Are Commercial Trucks Regulated?
Commercial trucks and passenger-carrying vehicles are regulated by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which is a division of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). The FMCSA is authorized to formulate and enforce rules regarding commercial driver fitness, hours-of-service regulations, methods of securing cargo, and many other aspects of operating a commercial vehicle fleet.
Aside from the federal regulations, Pennsylvania has its own laws and regulations for highway safety. For instance, a trapping regulation is in effect for open trucks, like dump trucks, that are hauling materials or refuse on Pennsylvania’s roadways. § 4903 Securing loads in vehicles states as a general rule that, “No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking or otherwise escaping.” The law sets forth special cases for when the vehicle is hauling loose materials that addresses spillage, enclosure requirements and types of enclosures.
Common Reasons for Commercial Trucking Accidents
Each and every accident is unique. Sometimes a single factor will result in an accident. However, more often than not, multiple reasons combine that result in a truck accident. Certain factors that are common to many trucking accidents include:
- Fatigued drivers –FMCSA regulations require a commercial driver to only drive for set time periods. Furthermore, the law requires that they take breaks after they have been on duty or driving for a certain length of time. While hours-of-service regulations were passed to lessen the likelihood of accidents of this type, the regulations have come under attack by lobbying groups.
- Improper cargo securement – Cargo that is has been improperly secured utilizing inappropriate securement tools or procedures increases the likelihood of an accident. Improperly secured cargo is prone to shifting while the vehicle is in motion and can lead to cargo spills or an overturned vehicle.
- Distracted driver – Commercial drivers are prohibited from operating a handheld cellular device while driving, but mobile phones are hardly the only potential distraction for a driver. A distracted driver reacts more slowly – or not at all—to hazards and changing conditions.
- Inclement weather or roadway conditions – Poor weather conditions reduce visibility and increase stopping distances. When drivers fail to account for these adverse conditions they are significantly more likely to be involved in a serious accident or collisions.
If you have been seriously injured due to a commercial trucking accident, rely on the experience of Reiff & Bily. For 34 years we have fought to obtain compensation for clients who have suffered severe injuries due to the negligence or recklessness of another person. To discuss your case and your potential legal options call (215) 274-0072 or contact us online today.