We share the road each day with large commercial trucks. The trucking industry provides an effective and affordable way to transport goods from coast to coast. However, commercial trucks are extremely large and heavy. Because of the size difference, a passenger vehicle is usually crushed or mangled beyond recognition in a commercial truck accident. Our Texas commercial truck accidents lawyers handle accidents involving commercial trucks and witnesses the devastation an accident with a large truck can have on the victims and their families.
When a trucking company fails to adhere to the strict guidelines, rules, and laws that govern commercial vehicles, the company may be held liable for any damages caused by a crash. Our Texas commercial truck accidents lawyer assists clients in filing injury claims seeking compensation for injuries, damages, and losses caused by the negligence of trucking companies.
How Deadly are Large Truck Accidents?
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its Large Trucks safety facts for 2016 earlier this year. According to the NHTSA, 2016 was particularly deadly for large truck accidents. The number of individuals killed in accidents involving large trucks rose by 5.4 percent from 2015 to 2016. Disturbingly, approximately 83 percent of the people killed in 2016 in large truck accidents were not in the truck. The deaths were sustained by occupants of other vehicles or non-occupants (i.e. bicycle, pedestrian, etc.).
Texas had the highest number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents during 2016. The state had the largest number of occupants of other vehicles killed in accidents involving large trucks (403) than any other state that year. In addition, Texas also had the highest number of occupants of large trucks killed in accidents that year (108).
Special Laws and Regulations for Commercial Trucks
Because of the danger posed by commercial trucks, the federal government regulates the trucking industry. Federal rules and laws are in place to reduce the risk of commercial truck accidents. Unfortunately, when trucking companies ignore these laws, they place their drivers and all others using the road at a higher risk of death and injury because of a commercial truck accident.
Some of the laws that a trucking company may break that could lead to a crash include:
- Cell Phone Restrictions – Even though many states have placed restrictions on the use of cell phones by drivers, the FMCSA has additional rules for commercial truck drivers. According to the rules for mobile devices, truck drivers must use a hands-free phone. The driver is only permitted to hold the phone to make a phone call if he can do so with the touch of a single button.
- Hours of Service for Truck Drivers – Truck drivers who operate vehicles for long periods without breaks or rest are at a higher risk of causing an accident because of fatigue, distraction, or drowsiness. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the hours that a truck driver may operate a vehicle without a break or sleep period. For example, the hours of service rules state that a truck driver who is transporting goods has an 11-hour maximum driving limit following 10 consecutive hours off duty. These rules are designed to prevent driver fatigue and drowsiness. When a trucking company demands its drivers exceed safe driving limits, the result can be deadly.
- Mandatory Truck Inspections – Trucking companies are required to submit vehicles for an inspection every 12 months. The inspections must be conducted by a “qualified inspector” trained or certified to inspect and maintain commercial vehicles. All components on the mandatory inspection list must pass inspection, and the report must be with the vehicle at all times.
Trust the Experts
If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, you need a Texas commercial truck accidents lawyer who understands the federal rules and regulations governing the trucking industry. There are many other rules that trucking companies may break that could lead to a commercial truck accident. An experienced Texas commercial truck accidents lawyer conducts a thorough investigation, including reviewing evidence to determine if the truck company broke any laws that could have led to the cause of the crash. The team at The Tony Nguyen Law Firm can help. Call today to schedule a consultation.