By Adam B. Lawler | July 1, 2022

​Commercial Truck Accidents

​Commercial Truck Accidents

Data from the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) show that commercial truck accidents are common. There are so many large trucks on the roads and highways of the United States that semi-truck and big rig accidents are a daily risk. The backbone of the nation’s economy runs on the country’s commercial trucking fleet. Roughly 72 percent of the country’s commercial freight solutions (by weight) use commercial trucks. There are approximately 4 million commercial trucks currently registered in the United States. With this number of trucks, it’s not surprising that they often get into accidents with other vehicles. The accidents that involve 18-wheelers are violent and can involve many vehicles. These accidents may involve serious personal injuries due to the size and weight of a fully-loaded semi-truck and trailer. An unloaded 18-wheeler tandem axle commercial truck can weigh approximately 34,000 pounds. With the trailer loaded with product, the vehicle’s total weight can go as high as 80,000 pounds. With this much size and weight, it’s difficult to control and stop a loaded semi-truck and trailer to avoid a crash.

Trucking Industry Regulations

The commercial trucking industry has a safety problem. Despite the number of regulations the trucking industry has to follow, many commercial truck accidents occur every year, injuring or killing people. Even with the regulations and safety procedures, crashes still happen. The United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration handles issuing and enforcing trucking industry rules, safety procedures, and regulations. Here are some of the most important regulations affecting the trucking industry and truck drivers:
  • Drivers can only work 14 consecutive hours in 24 hours
  • After each shift, drivers have to rest for ten hours
  • During a 14-hour shift, drivers can only drive for 11 hours
  • Drivers can work only 60 hours over seven days
  • Drivers are subject to random testing for drug and alcohol testing
  • Drivers have to be at least 21 years old
  • Drivers have to pass a comprehensive physical every two years
  • Drivers have to pass a background check before hiring
  • Trucks should receive regular inspections and maintenance
These are some of the most important regulations affecting the trucking industry. There are many more. Unfortunately, some truckers and the companies they work for fail to follow these rules. If a tractor-trailer accident seriously injured you or a family member, you may recover compensation for your injuries. The best way to accomplish this is to hire a commercial truck accident lawyer to fight for your rights. Litigation involving truck accident cases can be very complex and difficult. You need a knowledgeable commercial truck accident attorney to investigate the case and present evidence to the insurance company or courts.

Commercial Trucking Accidents Are Common

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,415 large commercial truck accidents killed someone in just one year. In that same year, there were 107,000 commercial truck accidents where someone was injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported a small decline for 2020 due to the pandemic and its restrictions. However, there has still been an overall trend of increasing accident rates in the past decade. It is clear from these numbers that regulations do not always stop those in the commercial truck driving industry from causing a significant number of crashes in which at least one person gets injured.

Violations of Trucking Regulations Can Cause Crashes

The rules and regulations that cover the country’s commercial trucking industry are in place to keep everyone who drives on the roads safe. If someone breaks the rules, it is clear from the above numbers that people can get hurt or even killed. The following are the regulations that, when violated and not followed, can cause a semi-truck crash that involves significant injuries.

Hours-on-the-Clock Rule

When drivers violate the rules and regulations that dictate how much they can drive and how much they have to rest, it puts everyone in danger. One cause of commercial truck accidents is when truck drivers fall asleep behind the wheel. These huge and heavy trucks can smash into many other vehicles when this happens, causing significant injuries.

Maintenance Requirements

The number of miles the average commercial truck drives in a year is astonishing. They are always on the road, putting a lot of wear and tear on the vehicles. Therefore, trucks need regular maintenance. When trucking companies don't provide regular and necessary maintenance on their trucks, catastrophe can result. If brakes fail, a truck can't stop. Couplings can break and come undone, sending the trailer careening off the road. Truck tires can get worn out and suffer blowouts, causing the truck to roll over or the driver to lose control of the truck.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

According to the NHTSA, many commercial truck drivers are arrested and convicted of DUI yearly. Intoxicated drivers are a major issue in the trucking industry. Failure to do proper background checks on new drivers or the failure to perform random drug and alcohol testing can increase risks for everyone who shares the roads.

Loading Cargo Rules

A commercial trucking accident can occur from improperly loaded products. Sometimes, the load is too heavy. Sometimes, improperly fastened products can shift the load. When this happens, the truck can tip over.

Get Help Today From a Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer

Serious injuries inflicted by a big rig truck driver who drove carelessly and negligently can cause stress and anxiety and leave you wondering what to do. But you don’t have to go through this alone. All you need to do is contact a knowledgeable and skilled attorney for your commercial truck accident to get your questions answered honestly and with compassion. Trucking companies and their insurance companies are huge corporations with ample resources. You deserve to have an aggressive legal team fight for your right to receive the compensation you deserve.

Adam B. Lawler

Attorney at Law / Partner

Adam Lawler is the founder of Lawler Brown. Adam is a 2004 graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law. Adam worked for a local firm until founding the Lawler Brown in 2009. Adam’s practice areas focus in Personal Injury, Business, Real Estate, Probate/Trust/Estate Administration and general litigation.

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