United States highway statistics reveal over 500,000 truck accidents occurring every year and most of those are involved in multi-vehicle crash situations.  Approximately 16% of the time the fault falls with the driver of the truck due to violations of speeding, tailgating, driving under the influence of prescription and illegal drugs, driving while fatigued, and driving too fast.

CDL licensure.

Drivers of big rigs and tankers must have proper training and licensure to handle and maintain their carriers in a safe manner. It is the law to have a commercial driver’s license if you want to drive a load-carrying vehicle over 10,000 pounds. These types of vehicles fall into regulated carrier categories because they are either transport for hire, or haul material to further independently owned commercial enterprises. A regulated carrier must follow all motor carrier safety regulations including:

  • Limiting hours on duty to avoid fatigued driving.
  • California law requires all CDL drivers to meet Federal Motor Carrier qualification requirements under 49 CFR part 391 and have a valid DOT medical card.
  • Meet minimum age restrictions for driving.
  • Ability to secure loads based on proven safe methods.
  • Understanding of safety hitches.
  • Knowledge of braking systems.
  • Inspection of tires.
  • Proper emergency equipment on board.
  • Pass periodic and annual inspections.
  • Show required markings and USDOT number on truck.

Extensive damage from truck accidents.

Truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes.  Trucks weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles under riding trucks in crashes. All of these factors can significantly increase damages to an injured party of a truck accident.

Background checks and unethical practices.

Trucking companies are required by law to perform background checks on their drivers, but sometimes these background checks are flawed or not done at all. Some trucking companies’ have unethical practices that force their drivers to falsify logbooks, drive with defective equipment, and drive long hours and that is where the importance of the federal and state regulating agencies come into play. These negligent actions increase the chances for a roadway accident with a large truck.

If you are in an accident with a tractor trailer in San Bernardino California, 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 contact information;
  • Call your insurance company to set up a claim;
  • Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
  • Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages;
  • Get a California State Trooper report for Commercial Vehicle Trucks.

Contact an attorney.

Hiring a legal profession who is familiar with the trucking industry to assist with the burden of collecting and analyzing the data related to an accident caused by one driver, several drivers, road conditions, weather, natural or other causes is crucial to a winning legal case.

Sources:

https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/SASStoredProcess/guest

https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks