Statistically speaking, semi-trucks cause more car accidents than almost any type of other vehicle on the road because of their sheer size, the danger associated with driving on long-distance trips, and the weight of their loads. Driving a semi-truck is risky for those who operate them because there are more blind spots, they are under pressure to drive quickly so as to meet deadlines, and the drivers are often deprived of sleep. Whatever the causes are, the results of most 18-wheeler accidents can be devastating. That is why it is important to know all that you can before driving on roads frequented by these large trucks (which is rapidly becoming almost every road) and understanding what to do after you’ve been in an accident with an 18-wheeler.
Why Are 18-Wheeler Accidents Different From Regular Car Accidents?
The reason why 18-wheeler accidents are so much worse than accidents involving only cars is because of the sheer size of those vehicles. Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while most passenger cars will weigh under 4,000 pounds. The difference there means that the truck collides with far more force than the car can withstand – which is why there are so many more deaths attributed to 18-wheeler accidents.
Are There Regulations for How Long Truckers Can Drive?
Since there are so many accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has restricted the number of hours that a commercial truck driver can be on the road. They are expected to keep detailed records of these hours that can be reviewed. However, it is a well-known secret that many drivers will “cook the books” to say that they took a break when they didn’t.
Still, the regulations are as follows:
- No more than 11 hours of driving daily with a 14-hour workday cap (including loading, washing, etc.)
- No more than 70 hours work per week
- If the weekly limit is reached, they can continue after 34 hours of consecutive rest
- Must take a 30-minute break within the first 8 hours of driving
Is the Employer or Employee Responsible For An Accident?
If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you may need to know who is responsible for the damages. That really depends on the situation and it requires a lawyer with experience to help you ascertain who is at fault.
Trucking companies are liable for catastrophic injury or wrongful death that was caused by one of their drivers. Even if the company was not directly involved (say the driver was texting and driving and hit another vehicle), they are still responsible. Some of the other situations in which the trucking company would be responsible include:
- They hire someone without doing a background check
- They hire someone with a bad driving record
- They hire someone with a history of health problems that could impair their driving ability
- They hire someone with a criminal background
- They do not or inadequately train their employees
- They inadequately oversee employee habits
The truck driver may also be partly liable for the accident. The driver’s motives and behavior need to be considered when thinking about whether or not they are liable. This can occur in instances where they:
- Failed to properly inspect the truck
- Made an unsafe or illegal turn
- Were driving too fast for the weather
- Were driving while drowsy
- Did not secure their load
- Used a cell phone while driving
- Were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Contact Our 18 Wheeler Accident Settlement Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured or even killed in a semi-truck accident, you have the right to compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, emotional stress and other losses. An experienced truck accident attorney from Nebraska, Matthew Miller will represent you in court, fighting hard to get you what you deserve.
Contact us today, and we will immediately start working for you and looking into your case.