Compared to car accidents in Pennsylvania, truck accidents are governed by a different set of rules and regulations in part because there are federal trucking guidelines that truck drivers must follow. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government agency that is responsible for making the policies and procedures that all commercial truck drivers must adhere to while operating a commercial vehicle.
Large trucks are a frequent sight on Pennsylvania roads. Not only are they on the roadways, they are sometimes on the news. Trucks are often involved in deadly and newsworthy accidents. Their large size can turn even a minor incident into a deadly accident scene. A rollover accident was recently the subject of a blog post on this blog. In that accident, a truck rolled over before hitting another car. In that accident, people were seriously injured.
In our last post, we discussed how in the news recently, a commercial truck was involved in a multi-vehicle car accident. For the civilians injured and affected by this accident, and many others in a similar situation, they should consider their legal options at this time. When a person is involved in a commercial vehicle truck accident, the same rules do not apply to the driver of the truck as do civilian drivers. There are stricter federal regulations in place for those behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle.
Those affected by truck accidents will be forever changed. The body may heal and appear to be how it once was, but the mind will never forget the horrific event. Trucks can weigh up to several tons and the sheer force of it can take down just about anything in its path. When trucks lose control, innocent people can be hurt and affected.
The aftermath of any accident can be devastating for those involved. The aftermath of a truck accident can be even more intense. Truck accidents tend to cause more damage than car accidents in a lot of cases. When dealing with a flatbed trucks or semi-trucks, car drivers need to stay aware of their surroundings while on the roads. Even when drivers are extremely attentive to the different types of trucks that they share the road with, accidents still happen because sometimes accidents are just unavoidable and can lead to serious injuries.
Because of the serious harm and suffering truck accidents can cause, truck accidents are a serious concern both on the roadways and for victims. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that 3,921 victims were killed and another 104,000 victims were injured in truck accidents in 2012. Overall, in 2012, 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes.
Truck accidents are different than regular car accidents in that truckers have a different, more stringent set of road rules that they need to abide by. Truck drivers have a specialized license that holds them responsible for their behavior on the roadways. This license, which is called a commercial driver's license, CDL, and the responsibilities that ensue are federally mandated and governed. Now, the rest of us with just a regular divers license also have to follow the rules and regulations of the road, but truckers are held to a higher level by virtue of the vehicle that they are driving and the license that they hold.
Truck drivers are held to a different standard than people who drive cars. It is a higher standard and one that is heavily regulated. Federal trucking regulations must be adhered to by every driver in every state. As such, truck companies must comply with these regulations. In most cases, when a truck accident occurs, the principal-agent relationship is sometimes at play. Truck drivers can be agents of the companies that they work for, meaning that when a truck driver is involved in the accident, the truck company might be able to be sued in a court of law if the driver is found at fault. Now depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident and whether the driver was negligent or not, a trucking company may indemnify the driver where applicable.
Venturing out onto the roadways can be an enjoyable experience, and while there is danger inherent in driving a vehicle, motorists rely on the shared observation of traffic laws to maintain a safe environment. Unfortunately, those laws are sometimes disobeyed, resulting in minor scratches at best and tragedies at worst. One such truck accident recently occurred involving a Pennsylvania trucker.
For those of us who have been driving long enough, we have learned to have a healthy respect for driving, as it is a dangerous activity. Driving requires a strict attention to detail as well as focus and alertness in order to be ready for whatever happens on the roadways. People drive all types of vehicles of varying sizes and weights. Just like driving in general necessitates a healthy respect, deferring to trucks on the road should also warrant this respect. Due to the sheer size of a truck and the impact it can have in an accident, many drivers will defer and give way to 18-wheelers, buses and big rigs.