Summertime is quickly approaching, and with it comes an increase in the number of tractor-trailers on U.S. highways. Commercial vehicles are a frequent sight on the roads, as nearly 70% of the freight moved in the U.S. is by truck, according to the American Trucking Association. This is the time of year, also, when many families relocate to new homes, coinciding with the end of the school year, weddings, graduations, and new jobs. The warmer weather is conducive to home sales, and loading, transportation, and unloading a shipment of household goods are definitely more pleasant in the summer.
Large commercial vehicles – also known as eighteen-wheelers, semis, tractor-trailers, or big rigs – can weigh more than 10,000 pounds empty and up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. They make up 4% of all registered vehicles in the U.S. and employ almost 2 million drivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Truck drivers enjoyed widespread popularity in past years, particularly in the 1970s, romanticized in pop culture for their freedom on the freeways and the tight-knit bonds they formed with one another. Nowadays, fewer young people are attracted to the occupation, and a driver shortage is expected in the next few years. The lifestyle of the long-distance driver doesn’t appeal to as many people as it once did, demanding long stretches of time away from home and family for less than $40,000 a year.
Despite the shortages, billions of tons of products still need to be moved across the country, so the demands on drivers are growing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, which limit the amount of time that a driver can spend on the road and how much time off they must take between trips. Although truck accidents are often attributable to the same causes as passenger vehicle accidents (distracted driving, maintenance issues, poor weather conditions), the NTSB reports that driver fatigue was observed in more than 30% of trucking accidents.
On account of their massive size and the amount of time it takes them to come to a stop, collisions with large trucks often result in serious injuries and death. However, even a slow speed or rear-end collision with a large truck can result in injuries. Victims of collisions with large trucks need to understand that their case may be more complicated than an ordinary motor vehicle collision. In addition to possible truck driver negligence, there may be other parties who are responsible for your injuries, including the owner of the truck, the leasing company, the shipper, or the broker.
An attorney who is experienced with the unique regulations of the trucking and the shortcuts often taken by insurance industries will understand your rights as a victim. The personal injury attorneys at the Dolman Law Group are well-versed in the area of trucking accidents and will be able to sift through myriad federal regulations and accident reports to determine whether negligence played a part in the accident. If you’ve been injured as the result of a collision with a commercial truck, call the Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900 to arrange for a case evaluation and consultation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765