Getting into any kind of motor vehicle collision is terrifying. When the other vehicle is a commercial truck, it can be a nightmare. Large trucks are so big and heavy that they can cause catastrophic accidents with severe injuries and even fatalities. These accidents are relatively common, despite efforts to reduce traffic accidents. In fact, the number of serious crashes seems to be on the rise in many areas. No matter how carefully you try to drive, you can’t protect yourself from a bigger vehicle that turns across your lane, plows into your vehicle or merges into a space where you’re driving.
A lot of factors contribute to the high rate of serious truck-related accidents. One of the reasons that trucking accidents are so common is that trucking as a career is hard. There are long hours, often alone, performing high-risk work on the roads. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, truckers still need to make deliveries. That necessitates driving in poor visibility, in the dark and during a major storm in many cases. Combine long hours and monotonous work with a strict deadline for delivery, and you have the perfect recipe for bad decisions and dangerous driving conditions for everyone else.
Federal law limit how long truckers can drive
In order to reduce the number of serious and fatal crashes occur, the federal government put laws in place to reduce the risk of exhausted or fatigued truckers on the road. These “hours of service” rules help prevent fatigued driving. Drivers get limited to how many hours they can drive consecutively, as well as how many hours they can drive in a given period of several days. Breaks and longer rests for sleep are also mandated. Unfortunately, some truck drivers or transportation companies routinely bend or overtly break these laws intended to keep others on the road safe.
Some truckers are transporting goods that will spoil, like produce or even huge tanks of beer. Other drivers may feel incentivized to drive while tired by bonuses offered for on-time deliveries. Whatever the motivation, from perishable cargo to a firm deadline, bending these rules put others at risk. When truckers are tired, it’s easier for them to make mistakes, to get distracted and to otherwise behave in a negligent manner on the road. If you’ve been in an accident with a truck and sustained injuries, you should look into whether distraction or exhaustion played a part in your crash.
An attorney can help you determine the truth
Truckers and trucking companies know the law. They are required to keep log books and records for safety purposes. It is all to easy to falsify these records. That means you’ll need help determining if company policies or poor decisions factored into your accident. Working with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney can help. Your lawyer can investigate whether the company has a history of violations and help you explore your options for compensation after a serious accident with a commercial truck.