Commercial trucking injuries caused by eighteen-wheelers, flatbed trucks, trailer floats and other large vehicles often produce injuries that are more severe than a collision between passenger cars. While unfortunate, it does make logical sense as the mass of a flatbed truck or other commercial vehicle is greater than just about any other vehicle on the road. When combined with their large size that enables them to strike multiple vehicles more easily, a commercial trucking accident can be both more widespread and more severe.
If you are the victim of a flatbed or trailer float accident, an experienced attorney can stand-up against the trucking company’s insurance company and counsel. At Reiff & Bily we take an approach to litigation that is both strategic and aggressive. With more than 34 years of experience, our attorneys are trusted throughout Pennsylvania to handle your case.
Who regulates commercial trucks on Pennsylvania’s roads?
The regulation of commercial trucks that are hauling goods, such as flatbed trucks, is handled at both the federal and the state levels. At the federal level, the NHTSA promulgates safety rules and regulations that must be followed by commercial trucking operations.
- Time of service – 49 C.F.R. Part 395.1 sets forth the rules for hours of service for truck drivers or the hours that a driver is permitted to operate a commercial vehicle. There are three main limits which can briefly be described as a driving session limit (11 hours), a driving window (14 hours), and cumulative limits (60 hours/7 days; 70 hours/8 days). These rules are intended to reduce driver fatigue.
- Cargo securement procedures – NHTSA’s cargo securement rules are based on the North American Cargo Securement Standard Model Regulations. The regulations set forth performance criteria, requirements for securing devices, cargo placement rules, immobilization requirements and more.
- Vehicle safety requirements – NHTSA also regulates the vehicle itself to ensure that the commercial truck is in good, working condition.
- Safety procedures for specific cargo types – The regulations also set forth securement requirements for specific cargo types. These requirements address metal coils, logs, concrete pipes, intermodal containers, vehicles in transport, and many other types of cargo.
Aside from the federal safety oversight, there is also legislation at the state level in Pennsylvania regarding roadway and highway safety. For instance, like many states, Pennsylvania has a statute which addresses when it is necessary to cover cargo with a tarp. The general rule in the state is that an individual may not carry or load “any loose material in any vehicle on or across any highway in this Commonwealth.” While there are certain times a vehicle must use a tarp, like when it is hauling loose material, in other circumstances common sense should prevail by following the principal that no load should be able to blow, fall, or spill out of the vehicle.
What are the reasons for Flatbed and trailer float accidents?
Like all types of accidents, the reasons for flatbed trailer trucking accidents are numerous and each and every accident is a product of unique circumstances and factors. Common reasons for accidents include:
- Fatigued driver – While NHTSA rules are intended to reduce the number of fatigued drivers, some drivers and companies skirt the rules.
- Distracted driver – While drivers are prohibited from using cell phones and other handheld electronic devices, distractions can still occur. A distracted driver is not focused on the road and is not able to avoid roadway hazards.
- Mechanical defect – Frequent and routine vehicle inspects should minimize the number of occurrences of spontaneous failures, but some companies do not perform inspections as required. In situations like these, the vehicle may unexpectedly malfunction or operate in an unintended manner.
- Poor weather conditions – Bad weather can reduce visibility and increase stopping distances. When adverse weather conditions are present, the likelihood of an accident increases.
The foregoing are merely a few expamples of factors that can play a role in a vehicular accident.
We fight for Motorists Injured by Flatbed Trucks
Pennsylvania’s roadways and highways are utilized by a high volume of commercial traffic. Truck traffic travels down I95, I81, and I476 to Philadelphia, Baltimore and points beyond. Other commercial vehicles and flatbeds utilize I80, I76 and I78 to reach Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and other points to the west of the state. However regardless of where in Pennsylvania and on what roadway your flatbed truck accident and injury occurred, you are undoubtedly seeking an attorney who can hold the negligent, careless, or wanton commercial truck driver liable. For your free and confidential consultation with a Reiff & Bily attorney, contact us online or call (215) 274-0072.