Who is Liable in Commercial Trucking Accidents

by | Feb 16, 2016

In 2014 3,360 people died in vehicle crashes involving tractor trailer trucks. 68% of these deaths were vehicle drives and passengers. With one in ten accidents on our highways involving tractor trailer trucks, safety is becoming a big issue. Many times when an accident occurs the company as well as the driver of the truck can be held accountable. In these types of cases it is important to consult a trucking accident attorney.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is dangerous in a personal vehicle, but when someone who is driving an 80,000 pound vehicle is distracted, it is very dangerous. In a sudden stop the average passenger vehicle requires 316 feet to stop. A loaded tractor trailer takes 525 feet to stop. Those 200 feet can mean the difference between life and death. If the driver of the truck is distracted, they won’t notice the danger right away, so they will take even longer to stop greatly increasing the chances of a serious accident. In the event of an accident the trucking company may be liable if they don’t have rules against their drivers using cell phones or avoiding other distractions.

Improper Maintenance

If an accident occurs because the vehicle wasn’t properly maintained, the trucking company is liable for any damage. The Federal Motor Carriers Administration has many rules and regulations about the driving and maintenance of commercial vehicles. These regulations include daily truck inspections. Failing brakes, worn tires, and other equipment failures are the cause of many accidents. Sadly these types of accidents can be prevented with proper maintenance.

Improper Cargo Loading

Improper cargo loading also causes many accidents. If the cargo isn’t loaded properly, the shifting weight can cause an accident. In flat bed trucks if the load isn’t properly secured properly, the cargo can come off and hit passenger vehicles. The FMCA has regulationsin place regarding cargo loading and inspection. These include the driver inspecting the load before leaving, after 50 miles of driving, and in some cases every 150 miles thereafter. If improper loading causes an accident, many parties can be held responsible. The company that loaded the truck, the driver, and the trucking company can be held liable. In these cases an experienced trucking accident attorney can help accident victims determine who is liable for the accident.