The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration announced in October 2018 that 2017 highway fatality numbers decreased from 2016 but still claimed over 34,247 lives, and combination trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 5.8 percent. Traffic data for South Dakota in 2017 revealed 159 fatal highway accidents where 93 involved trucks. Trucks fall into two classes, those weighing 10,000 pounds or less, and those weighing more than 10,000 pounds which may move them to the Commercial Motor Vehicle category and change some of the laws and damages to be sought after in personal injury situations.
South Dakota and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have specific insurance requirements for semis. Carriers operating in South Dakota must ensure that trucks are within the maximum length, height, width and axle limitations and meet requirements for bridge and weight laws. The discrepancy between large trucks and passenger vehicles is a major factor in the amount of damages caused in truck accidents, and if a truck is over the regulation sizes, it may support a higher settlement for damages in a legal claim.
Size matters in truck accidents.
Vehicle size regulations in South Dakota include:
- Height Limitations – the maximum height for any vehicle, including load, is 14 feet.
Width Limitations – the maximum width of any vehicle is 102 inches (8 feet 6 inches).
- Length Limitations – unless specifically addressed, the length limits are exclusive of the load overhang, retractable extensions used to support loads, and safety or energy conservation devices such as mirrors, turn signal lamps, hand holds, flexible fender extensions, and mud flaps.
- Overhang – loads or retractable extensions on any vehicle may not extend more than four feet beyond the rear bumper, bed or body, or more than three feet beyond the front bumper, bed or body of the vehicle carrying the load.
- Axle Group Limitations – the maximum allowable weight for all individual axles and axle groups is limited by statute: Group Type – Maximum Allowable Weight Single Axles – 20,000 pounds Tandem Axles – 34,000 pounds Tridem Axles – 42,000 pounds Other Axle Groups – based on the Bridge Weight Formula.
- Tire Limitations – the weight supported on a tire may not exceed 600 pounds per inch width of tire, if that tire is on: 1) a steering axle, 2) an axle equipped with dual tires, or 3) a trailer towed by a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 11,000 pounds or less. The weight supported by tires mounted on other axles may not exceed 500 pounds per inch width of tire.
If you are in an accident in South Dakota, you should:
- Check on the condition of the people involved in the accident;
- Call the police or emergency responders if needed;
- Get a written accident report;
- Remain at the accident scene;
- Exchange driver and insurance information;
- Get witness information;
- Call insurance company to set up a claim;
- Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
- Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages;
- If the truck is a Commercial Vehicle, get State Trooper report;
- Do not make any statements regarding fault or liability at the scene;
- Call an accident attorney.
Hire an Attorney.
Hiring a legal profession to assist with the burden of collecting and analyzing the data that will determine fault is very important. Seek effective legal counsel who have experience in truck accident cases by contacting an attorney at Ogborn Mihm & Quaintance, PLLC for a consultation.
Office: 110 S. Phillips Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Mail: PO Box 2208
Sioux Falls SD 57101
E-mail: [email protected]