Dallas Law Firm Blog

Quick Facts on 18 Wheeler Accidents and the Law

18 Wheeler AccidentDriving a truck is a dangerous job, much more so than most occupations. In 2009, for example, truck drivers made up 16.8% of all transportation-related deaths. In fact, a truck driver is at least five times more likely to pass away as a result of a work-related accident than the average worker in any industry. In 2009, there were 3380 deaths that somehow involved large trucks.

Most of these accidents relate to passenger vehicles that do not know how to drive properly around a large truck. The top driver errors that contribute to truck accidents, regardless of who made them, include speeding, illegal maneuvers, inadequate watch, over-the-counter drug use, prescription drug use, and generally being unfamiliar with the road.

Other 18 wheeler accident causes include:

  • Reckless or fatigued truck drivers
  • Overloaded trucks or improper load distribution
  • Poor truck maintenance (underinflated tires, faulty brakes)
  • Pressure of meeting deadlines may cause drivers to violate the laws
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Poor truck driver training

Regulations and Supervision

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) monitors and analyzes information on traffic safety violations. Basically, any time that law enforcement stops a truck, that stop is logged and then complied in FMCSA’s records. It is FMCSA’s job to be sure that trucks are operating in a safe manner as they travel along on the roads. FMCSA was established in 2000 with the goal of reducing accidents, injuries, and deaths caused or in connection with large trucks and buses.

States often have truck driver regulations as well. When drivers move through a particular state, they need to be aware of local rules so that they are not in violation indirectly. Even when the truck does not stop as it drives through a state, the truck is still subjected to the states’ laws.

How an 18 Wheeler Accident Attorney Can Help

Trucks and businesses that support truck drivers must follow very specific legal requirements set out by FMCSA, state laws, and local laws. These laws go beyond the typical car accident laws and require more knowledge and training to master. An experienced 18 wheeler accident attorney can be an invaluable resource if you have been in a trucking accident, regardless of whether you were driving a car or a large truck. An attorney can also find evidence, including talking to witnesses, collecting records, talking with experts, and communicating with the business associated with the truck driver.

Like any car accident case, the plaintiff involved must prove that the other driver was at fault. Usually a driver is at fault when they did something illegal. For trucking accidents, the items that are illegal are much more numerous than those that car drivers must consider. As an example, truck drivers are only allowed to drive a certain number of hours without a break or time for sleep. If the truck driver violates that law, then that could show that the truck driver was tired and was not paying as much attention as he probably should have been. Speak with an experienced Dallas truck wreck lawyer for more detailed information.