Commercial truckers are responsible for getting merchandise and goods to locations throughout the country 24 hours a day. Large 18-wheelers are ubiquitous on the nation’s freeways, and while these trucks serve a vital function in the economy, they also present risks to other drivers.
Truckers must follow specific regulations to ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. If commercial vehicle drivers fail to adhere to regulations that govern their work, they may cause accidents that result in very serious injuries, usually for those in smaller motor vehicles.
Hours of service regulations
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are 6.1 million commercial vehicle drivers operating in the United States. It said that in 2016, large trucks covered 287.9 billion miles on the road.
To ensure their safety, truckers must take rest breaks after a certain number of consecutive hours behind the wheel. Federal standards allow property-carrying drivers to drive 11 consecutive hours, after a break of 10 consecutive hours. Drivers must also limit themselves to 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period. If a driver gets into an accident after violating these standards and parties become injured in the accident, it may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Load and security regulations
Other regulations govern the way that a driver secures any loads on the truck, as well as the type of materials on the truck. This is because if a load is too heavy, the truck can be too difficult to control. Also, if the driver does not properly secure the load and it is off-balance, it could fall off the truck or affect the truck’s center of gravity, making it unsafe to drive. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration permits a total combined weight of up to 80,000 pounds for interstate travel.
Truckers who violate federal regulations put themselves and other drivers at risk, and serious injuries can result. If you suffer injuries as a result of a crash with an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck, you should investigate your options regarding compensation for your injuries.