Truck drivers have a responsibility to ensure that other motorists are safe on the road by carefully following all state and federal laws. When a truck driver violates a law, he or she is considered negligent. Truck drivers and trucking companies must be held personally responsible for regularly inspecting, maintaining and repairing their vehicles; making sure that cargo is secure; and proactively preventing an accident from happening by being alert and careful.
Truck drivers are held to higher standards than people holding a regular license to drive a passenger vehicle. They are professionals who are expected to use extreme caution when navigating highways and roadways that are shared with other motorists. Just because a truck is on the highway, doesn’t mean that the person driving it is a responsible, safe, alert truck driver.
Most cases of truck driver negligence in Pennsylvania involve violations of state and/or federal laws. The Code of Federal Regulation states that commercial vehicle operators may only drive up to eleven hours in one work shift and requires at least ten consecutive hours off duty before beginning a new shift. Federal law also requires truck drivers to keep a 24 hour log book that records their driving record. Unfortunately, drivers and trucking companies often bend the rules to meet delivery deadlines and make a profit. As a result of driver negligence, there is always the chance that a motorist could be the victim of a trucking accident.
Some common causes of truck driver negligence are:
Driving too fast for the road conditions
Driver fatigue due to lack of sleep/working long hours
Failure to stop, swerve, or maintain control of the truck when there is a possibility of a collision with a passenger vehicle
Failure to use turn signals, tailgating, swerving into another lane
Lack of good judgment in the event of bad weather
Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
Driving with an improperly secured load
Driving with an unbalanced load
Failure to maintain/inspect the truck before driving
Putting off repairs
Multi-tasking (talking on cell phone, texting, changing radio station, filling out log book) while driving
Truck driver negligence is the leading cause of truck accidents in the United States. Almost 90% of trucking accidents are caused by truck driver negligence. Equipment failure and bad weather account for only a small percentage of fatal accidents. Skilled Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers are devoted to making sure that negligent truck drivers are held responsible for the trauma, pain, and suffering that they cause to innocent victims who have to share the road with these irresponsible drivers.
For more information about Pennsylvania truck laws, please browse PA Law Blogs, a very useful legal resource operated by seasoned Philadelphia trucking collision lawyers.