Truck accidents often become grand-scale catastrophic events because trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is roughly 20 times the weight of a car. A collision pattern that involves mere passenger cars and creates only minor injuries will cause death, major injuries, and grand property destruction when a truck is the striking vehicle.
Because of this, the government of the United States created the Federal Motor Vehicle Carrier Safety Administration which establishes laws crafted to ensure the safe operation of trucks on the roadway.
Long haul truck drivers are limited to 11 total hours of driving per day. The work day of a truck driver involves not only stops along the road but also tasks other than driving. Once work is started, the working day of the driver must cease at no more than 14 hours. Upon completion of a 14-hour work session, the driver must not conduct any work whatsoever, for a minimum rest period of 10 hours. To ensure compliance with these time limits, drivers are required to log their daily activity including driving time, mandatory rest periods, and other operative activity. Truckers must provide access to these logs upon request by law enforcement.
These time limits are designed to prevent driver fatigue, which is a leading cause of vehicle truck crashes.
Drivers must accurately report the time and location of all stops. Inordinate coordination of time and distance between locations recorded is a per se violation of either speeding laws or logging requirements, and is cause for sanction. For example. if a driver is pulled over by police and his log shows a stop one hour prior at a distance which is 85 miles from his current location, this means that either he drove at 85 miles per hour or inaccurately logged the time and location of the stop.
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Prevention of Accidents Caused By Mechanical Failure
Drivers are required to conduct both a pre-trip and post trip inspection of the vehicle including the engine compartment, fluid levels, wheels, tires, braking devices, and other important parts of the truck and trailer. Proper inspection can detect and correct possible failure of critical components that could lead to accidents. These two inspection periods start and end the working day of the driver, and must be recorded into driver logs.
Heavy Fines and Criminal Liability
Violations of time limits and record-keeping can create costly penalties and criminal charges for the driver and his employer alike. These fines and criminal penalties were implemented to counteract the temptation by drivers and trucking companies to make more money by exceeding safe time limits, getting the freight to a destination sooner, and taking on another paying load. Trucking violations also open the door to civil liability.
If you or a loved one suffered personal injury or property damage involving a truck and possible violations of its safe operation, learn your rights to receive proper medical care and adequate compensation. Call an experienced accident and personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Roger Ghai, P.C. for a confidential consultation.