In the trucking industry, there are numerous regulations put in place in order to protect individuals from harmful and potentially deadly crashes. However, at times these regulations are not followed and can lead to death or serious injury if a person is involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler and/or commercial vehicle. Below are some of the highlights of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations. A complete list of regulations can be viewed on the FMCSA's website.
So you have been involved in an accident with an 18-Wheeler. What now? Who is responsible? Unlike car accidents, which are usually caused by some combination of driver error, vehicle malfunction or road conditions, accidents involving large commercial trucks may have many other contributing factors that are unique to the trucking industry.In order to establish liability and recover compensation, it is first necessary to identify every possible person or business entity responsible for the crash. Potential defendants in a truck accident case may include:Truck Driver - Commercial truck drivers are responsible for following the same driving rules as all other drivers. These rules include avoidance of dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, aggressive driving, texting while driving, and driving under the influence. Truck drivers must also adhere to additional standards as directed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This includes following hours of service rules, and maintaining detailed records regarding driving times and vehicle inspection.Trucking Company - Trucking companies must ensure that the drivers they employ are qualified and properly licensed. This includes conducting background checks and random screenings for drug or alcohol abuse. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from requiring or encouraging drivers to break federal safety regulations. Additionally, the trucking company is responsible for properly training their drivers before and after they get out on the highway. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584.
Dexter Culclager, the widower of Yakel Culclager, brought a lawsuit against the driver of a Peterbilt truck and several other companies involved in the death of his wife and step-children. Mr. Culclager filed a $10 million personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit. Along with the truck driver, Judson Humphries, Mr. Culclager sued General Motors, Hobit Express, Sunteck Transport Group, Sunteck Transport Co., and the service shop that checked Mrs. Culclager's 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe prior to the incident.
Yesterday, traffic on some of Houston's busiest freeways was snarled due to mishaps involving commercial trucks.
The June 7th truck crash that claimed the life of James "Jimmy Mack" McNair and critically injured Tracy Morgan and three other passengers has given new urgency to a long-running debate over federal rest rules for commercial truckers. According to the criminal charges against the driver of the Wal-Mart truck, Kevin Roper, he had not slept in 24 hours before he struck the limousine bus carrying Morgan, McNair, and others. Mr. Roper has been charged with vehicular homicide for reckless vehicle operation causing the death of McNair, and recklessly causing serious bodily injury for the injuries to Morgan and others. The crash occurred at about 1 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, 2014 on the New Jersey Turnpike when Roper drove the Wal-Mart tractor trailer into the rear of the limousine bus.
On April 10, 2014, ten people were killed in northern California when a commuter bus was struck head-on by a FedEx truck. The commuter bus was transporting high school students to visit Humboldt State University. The mother of Jennifer Bonilla, a seventeen-year-old student who lost her life in the crash, filed suit on April 22 seeking $100 million in damages.
In order to reduce the possibility of driver fatigue, new regulations have been implemented on commercial truck drivers' hours of service. Because of these new regulations, drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours following a 10-hour break. The driver cannot be on duty more than 14 hours following that same 10-hour break, even if that entire time doesn't involve driving. These new regulations have been put into place in an effort to keep drivers fresh and alert.
Production of oil and gas is not the only thing on the rise in South Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), fatal traffic wrecks have increased by 40 percent since last year in the Eagle Ford Shale region, a 20,000 square-mile area that runs from the Mexican border across 20 counties in South Texas. One of the major reasons for this increase, TxDOT officials report, is because of the large number of cars and commercial trucks that now occupy many of the deteriorating roads without shoulders that connect this rural region. Traffic Operations Division Director for TxDOT, Carol Rawson, estimates that roads that once carried 200 vehicles per day now have 2,400 vehicles traveling on them, most of which are 80,000 pound 18-wheeler trucks.
A recent fatal crash highlights again the critical importance of vigilance in traffic safety enforcement, especially when commercial motor vehicles are involved.