Sharing the road.
Highway delays are part of every day life near Worcester Massachusetts, as is the likelihood of sharing the roadways with transport trucks moving all types of cargo across the state and country. A serious crash involving two tractor-trailers on Route 290 in Worcester caused major delays and sent one person to the hospital. A tractor-trailer is approximately 65-75 feet in length and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, causing any type of crash between it and another moving vehicle, stationary object or person to be more catastrophic and/or fatal in terms of injuries.
Federal and state regulations.
There are federal and state trucking laws in place to protect the public and reduce motor vehicle accidents with big trucks. Among them is a requirement for random inspections and regular maintenance to lessen mechanical error or accidents due to worn and faulty parts like a bad tire. Drivers of trucks have imposed hourly restrictions, mandatory health exams, and requirements for cargo loads to be logged and weighed on highway routes of travel.
Federal regulations require tractor-trailer trucks to carry various levels of insurance coverage, based on the transported cargo, number of axles, and weight loads of a truck. This extra insurance is in place to pay for injuries to other drivers occurring from truck accidents as most of the time the other driver sustains more injury than the truck driver, The United States Department of Transportation still estimates almost 500,000 truck accidents a year with more than 80% occurring in multi-vehicle incidents.
Common violations of Massachusetts trucking rules include:
- Improper Maintenance
- Driver Fatigue
- Distracted Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Overweight Cargo
- Commercial Company Negligence
- Unsecured Loads
- Driving in Extreme Weather
- DUI Violations
State police inspection.
In Massachusetts, state police may access a commercial carrier’s records to reinforce regulations If the records show any violations, the inspecting officer will take records and have copies made of them and act in accordance with federal rules of safety compliance. If any violations at noted, then citations and fines will be administered. If it is found that a substantial health or safety violation exists that could have or has led to serious personal injury or death, a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for each offense may be imposed. This type of information would strengthen a negligence case for damages.
Commercial vehicle classification.
Classification as a Commercial Motor Vehicle may change some of the rules and the way damages will be sought after in personal injury and wrongful death claims in Massachusetts. The size of a truck causes more damage than that of a passenger-sized vehicle and is accounted for in formal settlements between parties. Due to the increased load and weight on trucks, the braking ability is also compromised under emergent braking conditions which is where many problems are initiated. Commercial vehicles need permits to operate in the State of Massachusetts and have certain size and weight restrictions.
Hire legal counsel to prove negligence.
The basis for most civil lawsuits is negligence, and settlements are based on the degree of fault exhibited to cause the injuries sustained. Determining fault is not always easy and negligence laws are established at the state level. To win a negligence claim it is best to hire legal counsel to argue the elements of a negligence case including duty, breach of duty, cause in fact, proximate cause and damages sought after.