Have you been in a truck accident?
Although truck crashes and car crashes may seem similar, large trucks and commercial vehicles are governed by a complex set of federal regulation that governs everything from how long the driver has to rest in between shifts to how heavy their trucks can be. Not just are the injuries more severe, but the issues surrounding negligence can be incredibly complicated. Driving a 70,000lb tractor-trailer is a lot different than driving a 3500lb car, which is why it requires a whole separate license. Common factors we see in truck crashes include:
- Drivers who have driven more hours than allowed by federal regulation, without sufficient rest.
- Faulty equipment: Large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers have complicated systems, like air brakes. Large tires are often “retread” instead of replaced, and yet are required to travel tens of thousands of miles at highway speeds.
- Distracted drivers: Although most truck drivers on the road are trained professionals who log tens of thousands of miles on the road, many get distracted on the long drives by using their cellphones to keep in touch with friends and family, or by adjusting the radio.
- Deadlines: Truck drivers, like everyone else, have to meet deadlines in their jobs. Sometimes, the companies they work for give them inadequate time to complete their task, and the drivers attempt to make up for it by driving their rigs at unsafe speeds.
When investigating these claims, it is important your attorney knows which questions to ask and where to investigate. Some of the places holding key information include:
- Dashboard cameras: Trucking companies often install these to protect themselves and keep track of their drivers. Sometimes, they provide key evidence showing their driver was at fault.
- On-Board Telemetry: Trucking companies want to know where their trucks and cargo are at all times, and with GPS and computers, this information is often uploaded and backed-up to central databases. This information can often show that a truck driver was driving too fast or did not rest for long enough. Data recorders in the truck can record events, such as sudden braking or speeding.
- Electronic Logs: Drivers are required to log their hours, and sometimes, they keep two sets of books to improperly stay on the road longer, putting other drivers at risk.
- Maintenance and Training Records: How a driver was trained can be a key indicator of what kind of driver they are, and maintenance records will show us how the vehicle was maintained and whether it was safe to be on the road.