On May 29, 2013, near Syracuse, New York, a truck’s trailer came loose and crashed into an approaching minivan; of the minivan’s eight passengers, seven were killed – four children, with ages ranging from 4 – 7, and three adults.
A week earlier, on May 24, somewhere in Washington state, a truck rammed into a bridge’s support beams, causing one area of the bridge to collapse and sending cars, with their drivers inside, into the cold waters of the Skagit River.
In the accidents mentioned above, the truck drivers were perfectly safe; the victims, however, were either dead or severely injured. This is a usual result of motor vehicle accidents were trucks are involved. Due to the size of trucks, as well as the much heavier materials these are made of, losses (whether lives and/or properties) are always on the side of the much smaller, or slower, vehicle).
Every year, about 4,500 deaths in accidents that involve trucks are reported to the Department of Transportation. The US DOT, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and each state’s department of transportation, which has its own set of laws that govern the trucking industry, work together to lessen truck accidents and make US roads and highways safe, especially for other motorists.
Besides laws that mandate trucking firms to ensure that trucks are always in good condition (requiring regular checking and maintenance of these huge vehicles), laws are also imposed regarding the hiring and training of truck drivers (including mandates to keep drivers, who lack the skills required in operating a truck safely, off the road). Laws also specify the maximum number of hours that drivers are allowed to drive continuously and the total number of hours of rest they should be given.
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for commercial drivers has also been set to 0.04%, while on January 3, 2012, a mandate on the total banning of cell phone use (which included reaching for, holding or dialing a cell phone) was passed. This was followed, a year after, by a law, which required the use of a Bluetooth headset, a safe way of taking and making calls without losing one’s focus on the road.
The laws were specifically intended to address the identified major factors that caused trucke accidents – driver fatigue and sleepiness, drunk-driving and distraction due to cell phone use. There are many other laws and standards imposed by the government to make roads safer from trucks, as truck accidents almost always lead to catastrophic results. If involved in a truck accident, victims should seek the help of a personal injury lawyer. The tort law, under which personal injury is classified, can be more than complicated to the victims and their families. Allowing a highly-qualified and competent lawyer to represent victims is, sometimes, the only means to enable these victims to merit the compensation that they legally deserve.Read More