This month, we have discussed two different federal regulations on the large commercial truck industry and big rig truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees and regulates those large trucks that drive alongside us here in Indiana and Illinois.
Recently, FMCSA has announced a more flexible approach to newbie truck drivers getting their license as well as permanently shelving extended regulations on truck drivers’ mandated rest breaks. For details, see our posts:
- Commercial Truck Drivers Driving Without a Break: HOS 34-hour Restart Restrictions;
- Semi-Truck Drivers: No Minimum Number of BTW Hours Before Getting Commercial Driver’s License.
Why are these changes important? Any oversight of how those big, heavy vehicles are maneuvered along our roadways is important to all of us.
The goal of FMCSA regulations is truck safety and minimizing the number of large truck crashes by doing things like imposing rest breaks on drivers to lessen truck driver fatigue and making sure trucks are properly maintained and repaired before they are allowed on the road.
Lives depend upon truck drivers and trucking companies obeying these rules and regulations.
Traffic Fatalities and Large Truck Crashes
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published its report on the motor vehicle accident statistics for 2016. The data was shocking: more people are dying in fatal traffic accidents now than in the past 50 years.
According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) more people died in large truck accidents in 2015; it was 22% higher than 2009, the year when the lowest number of truck crash fatalities was recorded.
Trucking Regulations Are Important in Truck Accident Claims
We monitor and report on the rules and regulations that impact the trucking industry for a reason. The federal regulations join with state laws and local ordinances to try and protect the public from commercial truck accidents.
All sorts of laws apply to those big rigs and semi-trucks that drive through Indiana and Illinois. The driver and the trucking company are legally required to obey all of them.
Failure to do so can result in someone losing their life, or becoming permanently disabled as a result of a large truck crash.
Truckers and their employers must follow all these rules and regulations to the letter. Problem is, all too often they don’t.
It’s tragic to find the log records for a big rig driver and discover that he failed to obey the Hours of Service (HOS) rules before the accident.
It’s shocking to review a trucking company’s maintenance and repair records for a large truck and discover how they neglected to make sure the brakes were in good repair or that the tires were properly inflated.
Justice for Victims of Commercial Truck Accidents
Not all motor vehicle accident claims can be approached the same way by accident victims and their advocates. This is because insurance carriers and their defense teams have different approaches to these accident claims, depending upon the kinds of vehicles involved in the crash.
When there is a crash involving a large commercial truck (semi-truck; big rig; tanker; tractor-trailer; 18-wheeler; etc.), the case can get complicated very fast. The truck driver who was at the wheel at the time of the crash will be held accountable for what happened in the wreck, of course. However, his employer – the trucking company – will also be potentially liable for the accident damages, too.
Fierce Defense in Truck Accident Claims
The trucking industry is well-prepared for trucking accident claims. There are large insurance policies in place to protect the trucking company’s bottom line in the event of a serious truck accident claim. There will also be experienced insurance adjusters and accident investigators at the ready to begin work on limiting the exposure of the trucking company as soon as possible.
Victims of large truck crashes can expect a fierce fight from those responsible for the trucking accident. Liability will be questioned; damage figures will be nit-picked. Semi-truck accident claims are some of the most hard-fought motor vehicle accident claims in personal injury law.
Money is the motivation, of course. Truck accidents are often serious crashes where there are several victims. People suffer serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries in commercial truck accidents. Crashes involving big rigs and semi-trucks are often fatal for one or more of the accident victims.
Liability for Large Truck Crash Accidents
Serious injuries and wrongful death claims involve large amounts of damages. Medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and more can add up fast. Victims of commercial truck accidents not only have to deal with overwhelming financial realities, they have to fight for justice in getting those costs covered by the parties who are responsible for the accident.
Analyzing the accident from the viewpoint of compliance with all the rules, regulations, ordinances, and laws that apply to the large truck involved in the crash is vital to the accident victim’s case. Failure to obey and abide by known trucking regulations happens all too often today. Sadly, disregarding things like HOS rules is often the cause of a fatal truck crash.
For more on large truck accidents and the trucking industry in Indiana and Illinois, check out:
- Rising Danger of Fatal Truck Crashes Clashing With Weakened Federal Regulation
- Winter Accidents with Semi-Trucks: Driving Dangers in Indiana and Illinois
- Shortage of Commercial Truck Drivers: Accidents Waiting to Happen
- Semi Trucks and Big Rigs: High Indiana and Illinois Commercial Truck Traffic Creates Dangerous Conditions
- Dangers of Semi Truck Accidents in Indiana and Illinois: High Risk Remains
- Van Dyke Trucking Case
- $10 Million Awarded in Truck Accident
Anyone driving the roads of Indiana and Illinois is vulnerable to the danger of a serious or fatal accident involving a commercial truck. With the high volume of large trucks motoring through our area, truck accidents are a very real danger to all of us and our loved ones. Let’s be careful out there!