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What rules of the road apply to semi-truck drivers?

Pennsylvania residents who drive with any sort of frequency are used to encountering semi-trucks on the road. Individuals generally understand that different driving precautions need to be taken around larger vehicles like semi-trucks, due to the sheer size of the vehicle.

For example, individuals are instructed not to drive on the side of the semi-truck where they may not be visible to the truck driver. Individuals should also be aware that a semi-truck can take almost twice as long as a car to come to a stop. Accordingly, individuals driving in front of semi-trucks need to be on the lookout for semi-trucks that are traveling behind them.

Of course, when a truck accident occurs, it is not always the fault of the person driving the car. Truck drivers are just as likely to drive negligently on the road and cause serious injuries to others as a result.

In fact, truck drivers are bound by a whole different set of rules that do not apply to ordinary drivers. Federal trucking regulations specify a number of requirements that are placed upon truck drivers, such as getting enough rest before they drive. The regulations specify how many hours a driver can be on the road before getting rest, with the idea being that the truck driver should not be operating the vehicle unless he or she is fully attentive and able to abide by the duty of care on the road.

The regulations also impose requirements on truck drivers to properly maintain their vehicle. If the semi-truck is not properly maintained, it can lead to an accident that involves multiple nearby vehicles.

When individuals are injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, they should understand their ability to bring a negligence action against the semi-truck driver and company. Within the lawsuit, individuals can obtain information to determine whether the truck driver complied with the federal trucking regulations. If the truck driver failed to comply with the regulations, it can be used as evidence of the driver's negligence, which can support a recovery of compensation in favor of the injured party.

Source: Just Drive PA, "Heavy trucks," accessed on June 19, 2015

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