Minneapolis, MN- With over 2 million commercial trucks operating in the U.S., safety is of utmost importance, but the federal regulations meant to keep the roads safe for truck drivers often fall by the wayside. These safety regulations are ignored, causing injury and death to thousands of people in the U.S. each year.
Federal data shows that in 2013 commercial truck accidents killed 3,964 people, the majority of who were passenger vehicle motorists. The causes of these nearly 4,000 deaths vary and in many cases the blame can be squarely placed on a passenger vehicle motorist. But another large fraction of deadly and injurious truck crashes are caused by drivers who flatly refuse to follow federal trucking regulations.
One of the most controversial and commonly ignored regulations are the Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules. These rules govern how many hours a day truck driver can be on the road and behind the wheel and how often they must rest on and in between their shifts. Under HOS regulations, truck drivers are only allowed to work 11 hours a day with a 7-day work week capped at 77 hours and an eight-day work week capped at 88 hours. Once a driver reaches those thresholds they must have at least two rest periods between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. before they can reset the clock on their work week.
Fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, but the trucking industry is very critical of HOS regulations, so many drivers and trucking companies ignore these rules.
A major truck accident can throw a person’s life into chaos and leave them with costly medical bills. If you live in Minnesota and have been injured in a major truck accident, USAttorneys can connect you with a truck accident lawyer to help you with your personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Another safety regulation that is often ignored by the industry is restrictions on a truck’s weight. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits the weight of most large commercial vehicles to 80,000 lbs. That is a pretty dangerous weight as it stands, and can cause a great deal of damage if a truck is involved in an accident. However many commercial trucks exceed this recommended weight, putting other motorists at risk of being harmed. An overweight truck can experience a blown tire or failing brakes due to the extra weight.
In addition to being too heavy, many commercial trucks are improperly loaded, which can cause the load to shift and send a truck out of control. A shifting load can lead to a jack-knife accident or cause a truck to overturn. A shifting load can also put stress on mechanical parts that could fail and cause an accident.
Truck drivers and trucking companies have an obligation to ensure they comply with federal safety regulations so that everyone on the road is safe. If either party fails in this duty, we urge truck accident victims to speak with a truck accident lawyer near their Minnesota location to work on their accident claim.