When tractor-trailers are involved in accidents with passenger vehicles, it is almost always the smaller car that suffers the most. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds each, while the average weight of a passenger vehicle is around 5,000 or 6,000 pounds. Thousands of people are injured and killed in truck accidents each year – in fact, the number of truck accidents has increased approximately 20 percent over the past twenty years.
In an effort to reduce the number and frequency of preventable truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a set of regulations that truck drivers and their employers must abide by. Unfortunately, many fail to do so and continue to cause devastating collisions.
Here are some of the most common FMCSA regulation violations that lead to truck accidents:
- Hours of service violations. Drivers are not allowed to drive more than 14 hours since their last 10-hour break. They are also required to take a 30-minute rest break after eight hours of driving. It is not uncommon for drivers to ignore these rules and drive while fatigued, which reduces their reaction time and increases their chances of falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Vehicle maintenance failures. Trucks log thousands of miles a year, so it is critical to keep them maintained. Drivers or maintenance companies who fail to routinely check and repair trucks can be held liable if something goes wrong and causes an accident. Examples of accidents caused by negligent maintenance include blowouts of old tires or brake failures.
- Improper cargo loading. Trucks can weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds, but some trucking companies may purposely overload their vehicles in order to compensate for a shortage of drivers. Overloading a trailer places additional strain on axles and increases the truck’s braking distance, meaning it will take much longer to come to a stop. Alternatively, if cargo is loaded improperly, the product may shift during transit and cause an imbalance that could increase the chance of the truck rolling over or jackknifing.
- Failure to conduct drug and alcohol testing. Truck companies have a duty to ensure that their employees are qualified to drive, and part of this involves periodic drug and alcohol testing. Companies who fail to a drug test can be held legally responsible if an intoxicated driver causes a collision.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party or parties. Carter Mario Law Firm has extensive experience advocating on behalf of truck accident victims and is prepared to review your potential claim during a free case evaluation.
Call or text us at (203) 806-9256 to speak with a Connecticut truck accident lawyer.