How Do I Determine the Cause of My Trucking Accident?
Every day, thousands of commercial vehicles transport goods into, out of, and across the state. Right now, as a result of “panic buying” there are more trucks than ever on the roads in an attempt to restock grocery stores across the nation.
- Read more: Negligent Hiring
Because of the dangers these vehicles present, truck drivers are expected to abide by numerous state and federal trucking laws—including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).
Federal trucking regulations address a number of safety concerns, including:
- Licensing requirements for drivers
- Special training requirements for drivers
- Alcohol and controlled substances use
- Rest breaks and hours of service limitations
- Truck size, weight, and route limitations
- Rules for loading and securing cargo
When you hire an Orlando truck accident lawyer from Todd Miner Law®️, we will work to determine if the truck driver who caused your accident, or the trucking company that employs them, violated any of these laws or regulations. If this is the case, we will fight to hold them accountable.
- Read more: Common Causes of Truck Accidents
What Are Truck Accidents Caused by Improper Cargo Loading?
It is extremely important for trailers to be properly loaded in order to avoid an accident. Every year, hundreds of truck accidents result when cargo is not properly loaded or is overloaded. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the proper way to secure loads, but unfortunately, many drivers and truck companies ignore these rules in an effort to move more cargo faster.
Improperly loaded or secured cargo can cause balance issues within the trailer, which can cause the trailer to swerve dangerously while the truck is in motion. Imbalance in the trailer can also cause braking issues when the truck is traveling uphill or downhill. Imbalanced trailers are more likely to tip over or jackknife, causing serious injury or death to nearby drivers.
An overloaded truck can be just as deadly. Too much weight can also cause braking issues, as the truck will require a longer distance to slow down with a heavier load. Overloaded trailers can also place significant strain on axels and tires, which may break beneath the trailer’s weight. Tire blowouts are often caused by trailers that are carrying too much weight.
Due to their massive weight and size (up to 80,000 pounds), trucks can cause devastating accidents that most often end up seriously harming or killing other drivers. Properly secured cargo is one of the most important aspects of truck safety and is an essential part of preventing accidents.
- Read more: Truck Maintenance Failure
What Are Truck Accidents Caused by Negligent Hiring Practices?
Every truck driver must be well qualified to safely operate a commercial truck, which is much larger than any other vehicle they might have driven before. If a trucker is not experienced with driving a big rig, then an employer should take ample steps to ensure that the truck driver is given appropriate amounts of on-the-job training. When a trucking company fails to take basic steps to only hire competent truck drivers – or there are no job training opportunities to drivers new to the industry – any misconduct or accident caused by an inexperienced driver can put the liability on that company.
A trucking company can be found professionally negligent if they hire drivers who do not have:
- Valid commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs)
- Clean driving records
- Reliable eyesight – as in they have undiagnosed vision problems
- Clear hours of service violation records
Trucking companies should also plan on conducting criminal background checks on all new hires to look for any charges or convictions related to driving, such as speeding citations or DUI convictions. Regular drug and alcohol testing should also be conducted by an employer and at random to catch any intoxicated drivers before they can hit the road and possibly hit another driver.
Why Shouldn’t I Settle for Less Than Maximum Compensation
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the average cost of a non-fatal trucking accident is more than $195,200. When an accident results in a fatality, this figure jumps to $3.6 million. At Todd Miner Law®️, we know that no amount of money can make up for the losses you have experienced as a result of your accident; however, you shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s negligence.
By filing a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for:
- Past and future wage loss
- Diminished earning capacity
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering / mental anguish
- Diminished or lost quality of life
In the face of mounting medical bills and time spent away from work, it may be tempting to accept the first settlement offer you receive. However, you could be selling yourself short. To ensure your rights and best interests are protected throughout this process, it is highly recommended that you work with an Orlando truck accident attorney from Todd Miner Law®️. Our team is ready to fight for the level of compensation you deserve.
When Were the Federal Hours-of-Service Regulations Temporarily Suspended?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes hours-of-service (HOS) regulations on all truck drivers. Typically, these regulations restrict the number of hours a truck driver may drive to no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period after 10 consecutive hours off duty for cargo-carrying drivers and no more than 10 hours in a 15-hour period after 8 hours off duty for passenger-carrying drivers.
Federal HOS regulations also dictate how many hours truck drivers must remain off duty, the number and duration of rest breaks they must take, and how much time they must spend in sleeper berths. These regulations are ostensibly intended to reduce the number of tired and fatigued truck drivers on the road, thereby reducing the number of fatigued driving-related accidents.
However, in March 2020, the FMCSA issued an Emergency Declaration, which it later expanded on March 19, to provide temporary relief from strict compliance to HOS regulations for truck drivers carrying critical items and passengers in direct connection with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The temporary HOS regulation suspension applies to truck drivers transporting:
- Medical equipment and supplies needed for COVID-19 testing, diagnosis, treatment, etc.
- Raw materials needed for the manufacturing of certain items needed in connection with COVID-19
- Virus prevention materials, such as personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Items needed for emergency re-stocking of grocery stores and other outlets, including food, paper products, etc.
- Personnel and equipment needed in connection with creation/management of temporary housing, quarantine, etc.
- Medical professionals and other persons designated by appropriate authorities as necessary personnel or medical professionals needed to provide medical/emergency services
The relaxation of federal HOS rules means that truck drivers transporting the above goods, materials, and persons are permitted to drive longer hours in order to provide relief to areas hit by COVID-19.