There are many reasons why drivers should keep their distance from large trucks. For starters, they are much bigger than other vehicles and present higher risks for crash fatalities. Many may not realize that trucks carrying freight can cause other types of accidents when improperly secured cargo falls onto roads.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has published studies on this subject, and reports that thousands of motor vehicle crashes involve road debris each year. A considerable percentage of driver fatalities occur when drivers attempt to swerve when there is debris in the road. These last-minute overcorrections may cause drivers to lose control.
AAA reported that most debris crashes occur between 10:00 a.m. and 3:59 p.m. and are more frequent on interstate highways. During this time, there are an increased numbers of trucks moving construction equipment, lumber, and furniture. Naturally, aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding and passing incorrectly, increase the likelihood of cargo falling off.
Overweight and overloaded trucks create higher risks because their performance is affected by the added weight. These big rigs can go down inclines faster than they should, and may need extra braking force to stop. Loose cargo can shift, which can throw the truck off balance. When either of these problems are present, truck drivers can easily lose control.
Trucking companies and drivers must adhere to specific federal and state laws. Truck manufacturers are required to provide a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and show them on license plates. The limit is 80,000 pounds, although there may be exceptions in some states. Truckers are supposed to stop at weigh stations on a regular basis as well.
It is illegal in every state to have things fall from a motor vehicle that is on operation on the road. Some states also have laws to prevent drivers from loading cargo improperly. In California, drivers may face civil penalties for doing so. There are other rules that pertain to how many hours can be driven without resting, manufacturing and repair quality control, driver conduct, and insurance.
Trucking companies and drivers may be held liable for truck accidents. The first step in determining responsibility is to determine if the driver is an independent contractor or company employee. If the driver is independent, the company may not be responsible, although this is not always true. If the driver’s actions were carried out within the scope of their employment and were not intentional, the company could be held liable in the event of an accident.
There could also be multiple defendants. If a manufacturer provided defective parts, they could be partially at-fault. A trucking company could have contributed to the accident if they purposely overloaded a truck, did not train their employees, or did not follow proper safety protocols.
You may be entitled to damages if you are a victim of a road debris accident. For a free case evaluation, contact a skilled LA truck accident lawyer at ACTS Law, LLP. Complete our online form or call us at 833-ACTS-LAWopens phone dialer for a free consultation. Our offices are located in San Diego and Los Angeles, and we serve clients throughout Southern California.
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