In an effort to meet tight delivery deadlines and maximize their profits, big rig and trucking companies may cut corners with safety. Because of their size and weight, large trucks are not easily maneuverable and braking and stopping require more distance than for a car and smaller, lighter vehicles. Trucks are not always well maintained and tire blowouts can cause a driver to lose control. Drivers may ignore speed limits in order to meet unrealistic delivery deadlines and to shorten their turnaround time. Drivers may stay on the road for too many consecutive hours and fatigue and boredom can diminish their alertness and driving skill. These conditions can combine to lead to tragic accidents.
The primary causes of truck accidents include:
- Excessive speed
- Poor driving
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Driver fatigue
- Unsafe road conditions
- Equipment defects (tires, brakes)
- Truck design defects
- Poor maintenance
- Inadequate or obstructed signage
- Road construction
To combat the effects of driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented new Hours of Service rules for drivers in 2012; the final compliance date for all provisions was July 1, 2013. Surveys show that many drivers of large trucks violated the old regulations on hours of service, though it not yet known how well they are complying with the new regulations. The revised Hours of Service regulations include allowing truck drivers to drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Truck drivers may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on-duty, following 10 hours off-duty. Truck drivers may not drive after being on-duty for 60 hours in a seven-consecutive-day period or 70 hours in an eight-consecutive-day period. The on-duty cycle may be restarted whenever a driver takes at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.
Because of the disparity in size between trucks and other vehicles, passengers in cars, motorcycles and even SUVs can suffer devastating and often fatal injuries in a collision with a truck. The attorneys at Parker Waichman's Long Island office have the expertise and experience to help injured victims of truck and auto accidents receive fair settlements that will help them with the medical costs, care and equipment they need to recover. Some victims need long-term rehabilitation or even lifetime care. A fair settlement can help accident victims achieve and maintain the best possible quality of life. Where a fatality occurs, a lawyer at Parker Waichman can help a family that may be left without their major means of financial support.
The personal injury firm at Parker Waichman LLP service Nassau and Suffolk county as well as the entire State of New York. Call today for a free case consultation.
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