Tractor Trailers Leave a Trail of Death Across U.S. Highways
In the United States, a person is killed or seriously injured in an accident caused by a tractor trailer every 15 minutes. In fact, around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the U.S. and approximately 5,000 of those involve fatalities. In 2019, in Maryland alone, statistics showed that there were 60 tractor trailer accidents which resulted in fatalities.
Federal and state regulations require a commercial driver’s license (“CDL”) for any person who wants to operate a tractor trailer. Under federal law, a person must be 21 years of age or older to drive commercially interstate. However, many states will issue a CDL strictly for intrastate driving for those who are just 18 years old. Once a person passes their CDL test, it is up to the trucking companies to ensure that their trucks are operated in a safe manner on the roadways.
A leading cause of tractor trailer accidents is truck driver fatigue. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, as many as 13% of commercial truck drivers are fatigued at the time of a crash. The average tractor trailer driver drives 80,000-110,000 miles per year but there are others who drive closer to 125,000 miles each year. Guidelines allow a driver to operate their vehicle for a maximum of 70 hours over an 8-day period and many drivers are paid by the mile. This can be a dangerous incentive for truck drivers to drive for many hours beyond what may be physically safe, both for themselves and for others on the roadway.
In 2017, a law was passed requiring most truck drivers to begin logging their hours electronically with electronic logging devices (“ELDs”). However, there are exceptions to the law, and some drivers are still permitted to log their hours manually. In addition, even with the use of ELDs, it is possible for a driver to manipulate the data so that they can drive for longer hours than are permissible by law. When drivers are driving over hours, they frequently do not produce any logs to the officers investigating an accident. The most the officer can do is give them a ticket for not keeping logs.
When it comes to accidents involving tractor trailers, hiring the right lawyer is important. There are many circumstances that need to be investigated in a trucking accident which are different from a regular motor vehicle crash. Sometimes issues of unsafe loads, unsafe truck maintenance, and violations of federal and local regulations come into play. Currently, trucks involved in interstate transportation of goods are required to carry a minimum of $1 million of insurance coverage. Frequently large national trucking companies have additional umbrella policies that provide millions of dollars more in coverage for the harm caused in an accident.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, it is important to get an experienced truck accident lawyer. The experienced truck accident lawyers at The Yost Legal Group will help you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at The Yost Legal Group can be reached anytime by calling 1-800-YOST-LAW (1-800-967-8529), by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting our website at www.yostlaw.com. Contact us now for your free case evaluation!