Hulking commercial vehicles like flatbed trailers, 18-wheelers, dump trucks, Mack trucks, and others types of large commercial trucks are essential to the American economy for a variety of reasons. These types of vehicles carry the goods we buy in stores, equipment used by industry, and can be utilized to perform construction or other types of work. However, these vehicles must share the roadways with relatively smaller passenger vehicles including cars, pickup truck and SUVs.
An unfortunate fact of life is that people can make mistakes and equipment can fail. When mistakes or events like these occur, the likelihood of an accident increases significantly. When accidents involving 18-wheels, cement mixing trucks, and other large commercial vehicles occur the injuries are typically significantly more severe. This is chiefly because of the high-speeds and high-mass that can be involved in these accidents.
If you have suffered a severe injury like a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a bone fracture, a spinal injury, severe burns or other catastrophic injuries you may be entitled to compensation. Additionally, if you have lost a close family member, you may also be able to recover compensation for their loss. An experienced vehicle accident lawyer like those of Reiff & Bily can handle every aspect of your case from start to finish.
Are Commercial Trucks Regulated?
Most vehicles involved in the commercial transport of goods or people are regulated by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). FMCSA is part of the United States Department of Transportation. FMCSA’s mission is to improve highway safety. FMCSA makes rules regarding commercial vehicle safety, crafts and enforces rules regarding commercial driver fitness, hours-of-service regulations, methods of securing cargo, and many other aspects of commercial vehicle safety
Federal regulations are not the only rules and regulations governing commercial drivers. The Pennsylvania legislature has also enacted guidelines and regulations affecting commercial vehicles that are hauling goods. Pennsylvania’s tarping regulations contained within § 4903, generally, require that no vehicle may be operated on a Pennsylvania highway unless the vehicle’s design can prevent any of the cargo, good or refuse from escaping and falling onto the roadways. Furthermore, the law sets forth specific requirements for when loose materials are being transported. Pennsylvania’s tarping law generally provides for some level of common-sense and discretion by drivers, however, sometimes that discretion can be abused resulting in lost or spilled cargo that can cause accidents and severe injuries.
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:
- Fatigue – Hours of service regulations passed by FMCSA were intended to keep fatigued drivers off the roads. However, the regulations have been subject to continuous attack by trucking lobbying groups. A rollback of these safety rules could lead to additional fatigued commercial drivers on the roadways.
- Inclement weather or adverse driving conditions – Rain, snow, sleet and many other forms of precipitation can significantly affect stopping distances. Furthermore, reduced visibility may delay drivers in perceiving hazards. Finally, roads may remain slick or icy even after the storm has passed.
- Improper securement of cargo – FMCSA regulations set forth proper cargo securement procedures and equipment. When Cargo is improperly secured it is likely to move around the compartment where it is stored. If these shifts in mass are significant, they can cause the truck to overturn, jack-knife or the driver may otherwise lose control.
- Distracted driver – Commercial drivers, like any other driver, can become distracted by vehicles issues, getting lost, or other concerns that may arise. A distracted driver is less likely to notice a hazard and react in a timely and appropriate manner.
If you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic injury due to a commercial vehicle, contact the attorneys of Reiff & Bily. For 34 years Reiff & Bily attorneys have fought to obtain compensation for clients who have been severely injured or wrongfully killed due to the carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of another person. For a free and confidential legal consultation, call (215) 274-0072 today.