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How to Tell If a Truck Driver Is Driving Recklessly?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Truck drivers have a legal duty to drive safely and prudently. They must obey stringent federal laws in terms of truck inspections, cargo loading, braking techniques, rest breaks and more. Breaching any of these rules or regulations, either negligently or intentionally, could cause a deadly truck accident. In 2017, fatal accidents in the U.S. involved 4,657 large trucks. Keeping an eye out for reckless truck drivers in Texas could help you avoid a serious accident. Always keep your distance from a reckless trucker and call 911 to report the issue if you see the warning signs. If you were the victim of a big rig accident, speak to a Dallas truck accident attorney to learn about your options.

Speeding

No commercial truck should ever exceed the posted speed limits in Texas. Speed limits vary state to state but should be clearly posted alongside the roadway. Some highways have different maximum speeds for passenger cars and commercial trucks. Texas has some of the highest speed limits for truckers (up to 85 miles per hour), but truck drivers should still not exceed a speed that is reasonable and prudent for driving conditions. This may mean slowing down considerably lower than the posted limits in bad weather. A speeding truck driver may be engaging in this dangerous practice due to road rage or to meet a tight deadline. There is no excuse, however, for reckless truck driving.

Tailgating

It is extremely dangerous for a commercial big rig to tailgate or ride close to the bumpers of other vehicles. Large trucks require more time to come to complete stops than smaller passenger cars, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions. Prudent truck drivers remain a safe distance away from the vehicles they are following to prevent these accidents.

When a big rig crashes into the back of a smaller vehicle, the collision can be fatal for the occupants in the car. The big rig’s tires may ride up over the back of the passenger car (an override accident) in a way that crushes the vehicle and the passengers inside. If not, the impact could crush the smaller vehicle or send it colliding into other cars or careening into oncoming traffic. If you see a truck driver tailgating another driver, this is a reckless driving behavior that could cause a fatal accident.

Improper Passing

Unsafe lane changes are a significant cause of fatal truck accidents. It is a truck driver’s responsibility to safely and prudently switch lanes when it is safe to do so, only after signaling the intent to merge and waiting until the lane is clear. No Zones (significant blind spots) can make it difficult for a truck driver to tell whether a lane is clear before merging. Truck drivers must take extra caution while keeping this fact in mind.

If you notice a large truck weaving between lanes of traffic, changing lanes excessively, passing people using the shoulder of the road, honking to force other drivers out of its way, cutting other drivers off or merging on top of other vehicles, the driver is guilty of reckless driving. These are reckless driving behaviors that could lead to a serious sideswipe accident, underride collision or override collision.

Red-Light Running

Violating any traffic law is a sign of reckless driving in a trucker. One of the most common signs of a bad or dangerous truck driver is red-light running. If you see a trucker run a red light or roll through a stop sign, you have witnessed reckless driving. Make a note of the trucking company’s name and the registration number of the truck (posted on all truck cabs). Call the trucking company to issue a complaint about a dangerous driver. If the reckless truck driver appears to be putting other people’s lives in danger, call 911 to report the incident as well. Hire an attorney to help you prove your case if you get into a crash with a truck driver you suspect of reckless driving.

Posted by admin at 5:25 pm

Who Is Held Accountable for a Commercial Truck Accident?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Serious and fatal commercial truck accidents occur every day. Although trucking companies and their drivers have dozens of strict federal safety laws to follow, mistakes and accidents still happen. In 2017, 4,657 fatal traffic accidents around the U.S. involved large trucks. Holding someone accountable for a commercial truck accident could result in change on an institutional level. A lawsuit could force a truck company to enhance its safety measures with help of a Dallas truck accident attorney. It could also lead to a compensatory award for injured victims. Identifying the defendant, however, is not always easy.

The Truck Driver

It was more common in the past for injured truck accident victims to hold at-fault truck drivers individually liable for damages. Most truck drivers work as independent contractors, not employees. Under previous federal law, a victim could hold a truck driver individually liable for damages if that driver was negligent, distracted, drunk, careless, reckless or otherwise responsible for causing the truck accident.

Today, however, most trucking companies will be vicariously responsible for their truck drivers, even as independent contractors, if they were on duty at the time of the crash. A truck driver may be independently liable, or liable through his or her own insurance company, if the driver was not on duty at the time of the accident.

The Truck Company

Current law upholds respondent superior, the common law doctrine of agency, in most truck accident claims. This law, also known as vicarious liability, states that responsibility for the acts of a subordinate (e.g. an employee) will go to the superior (e.g. an employer). In other words, a company will be responsible for the actions of its on-duty employees. Although most truck drivers are independent contractors, the trucking company that hired the driver will still be vicariously responsible under federal law if the crash occurred within the driver’s scope of employment. Scope of employment depends on several factors.

  • The time and place of the accident
  • The type of work the driver was performing at the time
  • Acts the employer reasonably expected the driver to perform
  • The amount of freedom the employee had at work
  • Whether the driver was engaged in a personal activity

In most cases, if a truck driver causes an accident through texting and driving, breaching the hours of service regulations, drunk driving, drowsy driving, speeding, making an unsafe lane change, or through other means, the truck company will be accountable. The truck company could also be responsible for an accident if it caused or contributed to the crash on a company level. Examples include hiring an unsafe truck driver, failing to conduct drug/alcohol tests and inadequately maintaining its trucks.

A Product Manufacturer or Distributor

A trucking accident could come down to product manufacturer liability if a defective or dangerous vehicle part contributed to the crash. Examples include defective brakes, tires, accelerators, ignition switches, seat belts, airbags and steering columns. Most product liability claims do not require proof of negligence for the victim to obtain compensation. It is generally enough to prove that the auto part had a defect and that this is what caused the crash.

Multiple Defendants

Some truck accident claims involve the liability of multiple parties, not just the company or the driver. Other liable parties could include a cargo loading company, the owner of the commercial truck, a property owner or a government entity. If more than one party shares fault for the truck accident, all could be jointly and severally liable for damages. Each party may be equally responsible for paying for all the victim’s damages or only responsible for the portion of damages he or she caused. For example, a truck company could be partially liable for a drowsy driver, but a product manufacturer could share responsibility for defective brakes. A truck accident lawyer can help a victim determine the identity of the defendant(s).

Posted by admin at 4:21 pm

Can Semi-Truck Accidents Cause Spine Injuries?

Friday, October 25, 2019

Spine injuries are some of the most life-altering injuries victims can suffer in auto accidents. A serious spinal cord injury could cause permanent damage, such as the inability to feel or move below the point of injury. The catastrophic nature of most semi-truck accidents in Dallas can easily lead to injuries to the spine, back and neck. A spine injury from a semi-truck accident could change a victim’s life forever.

Types of Spine Injuries Common in Truck Accidents

Three main sections comprise the spine. From top to bottom, they are the cervical spine, thoracic spine and lumbar spine. Below the lumbar spine is the sacrum, a bone that is part of the pelvis. In general, the higher up the injury is on the spine, the more extensive the effects will be on the patient. Any type of spinal cord injury, however, is serious.

  • Incomplete spine injury. An incomplete spine injury means the damaging object or element only partially severed the spine, leaving the victim with partial movement and feeling.
  • Complete spine injury. A complete spine injury is the total severance of the spine, resulting in the permanent loss of feeling and function below the point of injury.
  • The condition of paralysis often arises from complete spine injuries. Severe damage to the spine could cause paraplegia, quadriplegia or triplegia. Patients generally cannot recover from paralysis, although with treatments they may restore some function.

Other types of spinal cord injuries include anterior cord syndrome, central cord syndrome and Brown-Sequard syndrome. These are forms of incomplete spinal cord injuries that can impact a patient’s abilities to various degrees. Complete spinal cord injuries, however, are those that cause paralysis. A semi-truck accident could cause these types of spine injuries and other back injuries, such as slipped or herniated disks, through the forces exerted on the victim.

How Do Truck Accidents Injure the Spine?

The spinal cord contains many delicate bones, called vertebrae, along with surrounding nerves and tendons. Between the vertebrae are cushions, or spinal disks, that help make movement in the spine more comfortable. In a trucking accident, the forces exerted on the spine could temporarily or permanently injure any of its components. When a large and heavy semi-truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the occupants of the latter can suffer significant damages.

The force of the crash could throw the victim’s body against a seat belt, airbag, windshield or other objects – possibly injuring the spine. Objects flying through the air, such as twisted metal, in a collision could also penetrate the spine or damage its tissues. The forces of a truck accident could cause spinal cord fractures, tissue tears, displaced disks, whiplash and other serious spinal cord injuries.

Who Is Liable?

A spine injury from a semi-truck accident in Texas could change a victim’s life forever. The least a patient in this situation deserves is to go up against the at-fault party in pursuit of justice and financial compensation, if someone else negligently caused the collision. In most semi-truck accident cases, the trucking company will serve as the defendant. A trucking company could be liable for a victim’s spine injury for many acts of negligence.

  • Inadequate truck maintenance
  • Negligent hiring or training practices
  • Pressuring drivers to meet deadlines
  • Breaking federal laws
  • Dangerous load securement

The trucking company will also be responsible for the actions and inadequacies of its drivers. If a negligent or reckless truck driver caused the spinal cord injury, therefore, the trucking company could be vicariously liable. Another potentially liable party could be a product manufacturer if a defective seat belt or a different vehicle part caused the spine injury. A Dallas spinal cord injury lawyer can help truck accident victims recognize whether or not someone else is liable for damages after a serious spinal cord injury.

Posted by admin at 8:36 pm

Could You Report a Reckless Semi Truck Driver?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Semi truck drivers have high standards of care they must obey behind the wheel. Like other drivers, they must follow roadway rules and speed limits. They must also meet federal guidelines for safe and prudent driving. A negligent, careless or reckless semi truck driver could endanger everyone else on the road. If you notice reckless driving behaviors from a truck driver in Dallas, report the driver to the authorities. Reporting a reckless semi truck driver or unsafe rig could prevent a catastrophic truck accident. If you have been hurt by a careless big rig driver speak to a Dallas truck accident lawyer.

How to Report a Truck Driver for Endangerment or Reckless/Dangerous Driving

Reckless driving exceeds the parameters of negligent driving. Driver negligence is unintentional. A truck driver may not notice he or she is exceeding the speed limit or not paying enough attention to the road. Reckless driving, on the other hand, demonstrates a marked lack of regard for the consequences of the driver’s actions. A reckless truck driver shows a wanton disregard for the safety of others. Reckless or dangerous driving can include texting and driving, tailgating, excessive speeding, weaving through traffic or illegal passing.

Reckless endangerment is even more serious than reckless driving. It is when a truck driver engages in conduct that creates a significant risk of serious injuries or death to others. Reckless endangerment is a crime in Texas and most other states. Examples of reckless endangerment by a truck driver can vary from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol to operating a truck without being qualified to do so. As a motor vehicle driver, if you notice a truck driver that may be guilty of reckless driving or reckless endangerment, you can report the driver to the authorities.

If the truck driver appears to be putting other people’s lives in danger, call 911 to report a safety emergency. Keep your distance while you describe the situation and give the police information such as the truck’s license plate number. If it is a nonemergency situation, contact the Department of Transportation (DOT) directly. You may complain online or over the phone at (855) 368-4200. The DOT can send officers to detain the truck driver or otherwise investigate the situation. Reporting a reckless truck driver could prevent a serious or deadly accident in Dallas.

Preventing Semi Truck Accidents

It is largely up to the trucking company and its drivers to prevent semi truck accidents. They are the parties responsible for ensuring the safety of its big rigs, as well as its drivers and other employees. A trucking company must follow strict standards of care during procedures such as hiring drivers, training them and testing for drugs. The trucking company is also in charge of fleet maintenance and repairs. Any breaches of duty within these standards could contribute to a semi truck accident.

As a passenger vehicle driver, you could also have the power to prevent a semi truck accident. Stay alert and pay attention while driving around Dallas. A truck driver could exhibit signs of negligent or reckless driving prior to causing an accident. If you notice a truck driver drifting between lanes, weaving through traffic, speeding, ignoring roadway rules, falling asleep behind the wheel or otherwise driving recklessly, report him or her to the correct authorities. You may be the reason the police revoke the driver’s commercial license or penalize the trucking company, taking the dangerous truck or driver off the road.

You should also report any noticeable equipment or truck maintenance problems. If the truck appears in a state of disrepair, with worn-out tires, for example, report what you see to the DOT. Give the truck number during your phone call to help the DOT track down the correct semi truck. Unsafe equipment or a truck in poor condition could ultimately cause an accident. Poorly maintained big rigs or reckless drivers always bear reporting in Texas. Talk to a Dallas personal injury lawyer if you have been endangered or hurt by a reckless driver.

Posted by admin at 4:06 pm

How Many Hours Are Truck Drivers Legally Allowed to Drive?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Commercial truck drivers have special rules and laws they must obey. Since they control vehicles that can exceed 80,000 pounds for a living, they must respect these rules for the safety of everyone on the roadway. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues these rules for all truck companies and drivers in the country to follow. One of these rules limits the hours of service a truck driver may legally work at a time before taking a break. The hours of service rule aims to reduce the risk of drowsy driving.

FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations

A tired driver is a risk to everyone on the road. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk or impaired driving. Truck drivers are more at risk of drowsy driving than typical motorists for several reasons: they drive alone for long hours, often work nights, have to sleep on the road and may suffer from sleep apnea. For this reason, the FMCSA enforces strict hours of service regulations.

  • Work vs. duty periods. Work according to the FMCSA is a workweek, while duty period is a workday. Since many truck drivers do not work conventional 9:00 to 5:00 hours, the FMSCA bases its regulations on actual hours worked rather than days or hours of the week.
  • Seven-day work period. Truck drivers may work seven days in a row but cannot work more than 60 hours on duty in those seven days. If they do work seven consecutive days, they must break for at least 34 consecutive hours before beginning another seven-day work period.
  • 14-hour duty period. The maximum duty period for a truck driver is 14 hours. Within this period, a driver may only drive for 11 hours. After 8 hours, the driver must take a 30-minute break. After 14 hours, the driver must take a 10-hour break before another duty period.
  • Rest breaks. A commercial driver may only drive if 8 hours or less have passed since the last 30-minute break. A rest break can refer to time off-duty or in the truck’s sleeper berth.

If a truck driver starts his workday at 6:00 a.m., he must take at least a 30-minute break at 2:00 p.m., after 8 hours on duty. Then, he may drive another three hours with or without additional breaks. Once the trucker reaches 11 driving hours and/or 14 total hours on duty, he must stop and sleep or perform other non-driving duties for at least 10 hours before starting another 14-hour duty period.

What Happens if These Are Violated?

A truck driver needs to obey the hours of service regulations. Otherwise, he or she could run the risk of driving tired. Drowsy driving kills. A drowsy truck driver may not have the reflexes or reaction times to successfully stop or maneuver to avoid an accident. A tired trucker may fall asleep behind the wheel, fail to stop or cause a rear-end collision. Drowsy driving can cause catastrophic truck accidents such as truck rollovers, override accidents and head-on collisions.

If an investigation of an accident or a review of a driver’s electronic logging device finds he or she violated the FMCSA’s hours of service rules, the driver and carrier could face penalties. A police officer or an authority from the federal government could assess penalties such as fines at both the state and federal levels. The driver or trucking company could also suffer a reduction in its safety rating. Finally, the driver could face mandatory revocation of his or her driving privileges until the completion of a rest break.

If a truck driver who has violated the hours of service rule causes a truck accident, the trucking company could be liable for damages. The company could be responsible for the negligent actions of its driver, including hours of service violations. The company may have to pay for victims’ medical expenses, lost income, property damages, and other losses. A Dallas truck accident attorney can help you find compensation for your injuries.

Posted by admin at 3:55 pm

Is There a Problem With Sleep Apnea Among Truck Drivers?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sleep apnea is a condition in which the sleeper experiences obstructed airways repeatedly during sleep. Some people may have obstructive sleep apnea, in which blockages in the upper airway reduce or stop airflow. Others may have central sleep apnea, in which the brain stops sending signals for the need to breathe. Sleep apnea suffers may experience interrupted sleep and feel more tired during the day.

As someone whose career relies on the ability to safely operate heavy equipment, it is clear how sleep apnea could be dangerous. Sleep interruptions due to this condition could make a commercial driver unfit to be behind the wheel. Studies on the rate of sleep apnea among truck drivers shows disturbing trends and correlations that could put lives at risk. Get the facts on sleep apnea and commercial trucking here.

3 Risk Factors for Developing Sleep Apnea

Although anyone could develop obstructive sleep apnea, certain factors can increase the likelihood of getting this condition. Some have to do with age, while others relate to lifestyle. Your chances of developing sleep apnea increase if you have a family history of this condition or of snoring, a large neck circumference, large tonsils, and a small lower jaw. The following, however, are three of the most prevalent risk factors:

  1. Men are up to three times more likely than women to develop sleep apnea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Central sleep apnea is more frequent in men than women. However, women may increase their risk if they are obese.
  2. Being overweight has one of the most significant correlations with sleep apnea. Obesity impacts sleep apnea by constructing one’s airways with extra fatty deposits around the neck. Obesity can obstruct breathing while a person tries to sleep.
  3. Middle-age. Sleep apnea is more common in middle-aged and older adults than younger people. As sleepers age and develop conditions such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, the need to take sedatives, the risk of sleep apnea increases.

All three of these risk factors are prevalent amongst employees in commercial truck driving. The trucking industry today is mostly male, with the number of female workers driving trucks hovering only around 4-6%. Obesity is more common in truckers than other types of workers (69% vs. 31%, respectively), due to long hours sitting and having to settle for unhealthy meals on the road. Most truck drivers are middle-aged as well, with millennials statistically reluctant to join the trade. Thus, the most common factors in truck driving and sleep apnea are one in the same.

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea in Truckers

The rate of sleep apnea in truckers puts everyone on the road in danger. It’s a common enough problem that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the organization in charge of commercial trucking safety, has a page dedicated to the condition. Although President Trump recently canceled the requirement for sleep apnea screening in truck drivers, it is still a serious safety risk of which everyone should be aware.

As a truck driver, learn how to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea and seek help if you believe you have this condition. You can manage sleep apnea and avoid drowsy driving. As a driver, pay attention when driving around truckers in Texas. Signs of a drowsy driver include drifting between lanes, coming to sudden stops, and driving off the road.

Keep your distance from commercial trucks and call the police to report the vehicle if you see signs of erratic truck driving behaviors. If you get into an accident with a trucker who has sleep apnea, the company could be liable for your damages. Contact a Dallas truck accident lawyer for more information.

Posted by admin at 6:48 pm

Common Defenses in Trucking Accident Cases

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tractor-trailer accidents can lead to catastrophic property damage, severe injuries, even deaths. These accidents can happen for any number of reasons, including driver errors, faulty vehicle parts, poor maintenance, or aggressive driving. When a person suffers an injury in a trucking accident, he or she may attempt to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company with the help of a semi-truck accident attorney. While some cases are open and shut, others are more complex, may involve multiple defendants, or there may simply be a lack of evidence that could help reach a speedier conclusion.

Trucking companies carry insurance coverage for personal injury claims and often employ response teams that travel to accident sites to gather evidence. These responders look for any evidence to protect their employers from legal entanglements with plaintiffs injured in trucking accidents.

Common Defenses for Trucking Companies

The first step in handling any type of personal injury claim is establishing fault. While the plaintiff must prove the trucking company is at fault for his or her injuries, the trucking company will look for any reason to disprove or cast doubt upon a plaintiff’s claims. Some of the most common defenses these companies will use include:

  • Plaintiff fault. Some states follow comparative negligence laws that allow plaintiffs to secure compensation for damages even if they are partially to blame for those damages. In trucking accident cases, the trucking company will likely look for any evidence that the plaintiff is at least partially to blame for an accident.
  • Third parties. A trucking company may claim that a third party unrelated to the plaintiff or the trucking company caused the accident in question. In these cases, the trucking company must be able to prove a third party had a hand in the accident and may need to collect evidence such as traffic camera data.
  • Honest accidents. If the trucking accident occurred due to an unavoidable accident or honest mistake, the trucking company may be able to prove the driver was not negligent and the accident was inevitable. In these situations, the trucking company’s liability coverage may go toward the plaintiff’s damages, but the trucking company may escape liability for negligence.
  • Plaintiff exaggeration. Plaintiffs can only sue for actual harm suffered or measurable losses. The trucking company may argue that the plaintiff overestimated his or her losses or did not suffer any actual damages.
  • Lack of evidence. A trucking company may cite a lack of proof of injury as evidence that the plaintiff lied or exaggerated his or her injuries. Plaintiffs should be certain to secure as much evidence as possible to prove the extent of their injuries and other damages. This also means providing evidence that a plaintiff’s medical treatment was appropriate, given the situation and the plaintiff’s injuries. Additionally, if the plaintiff claims lost wages as damages in a lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to provide evidence of the lost income.

Plaintiffs injured in trucking accidents should work quickly to secure legal representation if they feel a lawsuit is necessary. The right Dallas personal injury lawyer will help build a strong case with all the necessary supporting evidence for reaching a satisfactory verdict and help hold negligent trucking companies and drivers accountable for their actions.

Posted by admin at 6:29 pm

Tanker Truck Rollover Prevention

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tractor-trailers are vital parts of the American economy and transportation network, but they are also inherently more dangerous than smaller vehicles on the road. Trucks that pull tankers full of liquid goods, including gas and oil, can be even more dangerous. If these tanker trucks roll over, they can cause catastrophic damage, severe injuries, even fatalities. Depending on what a rolled-over tanker truck carried, the spilled contents can also present a serious risk of additional injuries as well as environmental hazards or public health emergencies.

Statistics indicate that almost 80% of all tanker truck rollover accidents happen due to some level of driver error. While truck drivers must obtain special certifications to perform their jobs and generally have more miles of driving under their belts than typical drivers, it is still crucial for them to understand the risks of driving tanker trucks and follow a few best practices to avoid rollovers.

Speed Control

Large trucks cannot stop or slow down as quickly as smaller passenger vehicles. They also require much longer distances to come to a complete stop. If a tanker truck driver is travelling too fast or not paying enough attention to other vehicles on the road, the driver may not have time to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. Tanker truck drivers can easily cause rollovers if they swerve to avoid a collision while traveling at speed. The sudden change in direction will cause the trailer to tip and probably fall over.

Speed is also a problem for turning. Tanker truck drivers need to account for changes on the road, and taking a sharp turn at high speed can easily cause a tanker truck to rollover. Drivers should reduce speed for turns and accommodate their vehicles’ size and weight.

Sudden Movements

Tanker truck drivers should do everything possible to avoid any sudden movements or jerking of the steering wheel. If a driver needs to suddenly turn to avoid another vehicle, the driver can unintentionally cause the tanker truck to rollover by oversteering or making the move too quickly. Tanker truck drivers can prevent rollovers by staying vigilant for changes in traffic patterns and avoiding reflexive sudden movements.

Plan Ahead

Tanker truck drivers can avoid rollovers by carefully planning routes ahead of time. By studying a route’s topography, known hazards, and any other elements like road construction on the route, drivers can make their deliveries with additional confidence. A driver who is not expecting a sudden change in road conditions is more likely to suffer a rollover accident, so preparation before every trip is important.

Trucking companies must ensure their drivers receive thorough training and have the experience necessary for handling tanker trucks. Most tanker trucks carry valuable goods, including fossil fuels, so trucking companies and their drivers have a high duty of care to ensure they do not put other drivers at risk with unsafe driving. Other drivers should be wary of all tractor-trailers on the road, especially tanker trucks, and avoid driving aggressively near them. Caution and good judgment from all drivers can help prevent tanker truck rollovers.

Posted by admin at 6:24 pm

How Effective Are Roadside Inspections of Commercial Trucks?

Monday, September 18, 2017

The commercial trucking industry is an enormous, complex system that is imperative to the U.S. economy. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strives to regulate this industry, enacting rules that companies and drivers must obey to increase the safety of everyone on the roadways. Roadside inspections are one of many strategies in place to improve the safety of commercial trucking. Unfortunately, not every effort works as well as regulators would hope. Here’s a look at the effectiveness of roadside inspections in Texas.

What Happens During a Roadside Inspection?

Roadside inspections are largely part of state-run systems, with trained and certified vehicle safety inspectors stationed at unannounced inspection stops. The FMCSA financially supports statewide inspections through annual grant programs. The FMCSA’s National Training Center handles inspector training programs throughout the country, certifying new inspectors and giving certificates in areas of expertise. The state of Texas is in charge of ensuring its safety inspections comply with federal regulations.

Any commercial truck or bus that passes an active inspection station is required by law to stop and comply with the process. The inspectors will look at the driver’s license and documents, the cargo, any hazardous materials, the condition of the truck, and other factors during the inspection. If any truck fails a safety inspection, it will receive an out-of-service order. These trucks cannot continue their scheduled drives until someone remedies the issue. Similarly, commercial drivers with regulation violations will not be able to continue driving.

Traffic enforcement programs are also in place to improve trucking safety. During this process, a law enforcement officer may pull over a truck for a moving violation. The officer then has the right to conduct a roadside inspection of the driver and vehicle. Any sign of unsafe driving or operations can result in an out-of-service order. The FMCSA continues its inspection programs, initiatives, and efforts in the hopes that they will catch safety violations before they result in accidents.

Inspection Effectiveness By the Numbers

The FMCSA developed a tool called the Roadside Intervention Effectiveness Model (RIEM) to gauge the effectiveness of roadside inspections. This system analyzes the results of annual roadside inspection data and concludes how many lives may have been saved. The most recent data available from RIEM is from 2012. The facts from the 2012 RIEM analysis are as follows:

  • Roadside inspections prevented 8,721 accidents, saved 285 lives, and prevented 5,341 injuries.
  • Traffic enforcement inspections prevented 5,703 crashes, saved 187 lives, and prevented 3,492 injuries.
  • In total, roadside inspections prevented almost 9,000 injuries in more than 14,000 crashes in 2012.

Despite allegedly preventing accidents, Texas’ current roadside inspection system does not consistently screen vehicles or drivers. This results in a fraction of commercial trucks being dangerous to operate at any moment on the state’s highways. This is a frightening reality for other drivers in Texas. After a trucking accident, one of the first steps should be to investigate the truck and driver involved for potential safety violations. Any type of infraction could have contributed to the crash, such as an unsafe load, unsecured hazardous materials, or a driver operating despite an out-of-service order. In these events, injured victims may be able to sue the trucking company for negligence.

Posted by admin at 10:08 pm

How Truck Drivers Cheat On Their Logbooks

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hundreds of rules in place to improve the safety of the commercial trucking industry. One such rule is that all truck drivers must keep daily logbooks that record duty statuses, operations, and other information. Section 395.8 requires electronic logging devices (ELDs) in most commercial trucks. It is shocking how often truckers and companies disobey this rule and “cheat” on their logbooks to cover up inappropriate or dangerous behaviors. Safety violations and abuses of the federal regulatory process can quickly lead to tragic accidents in Texas.

Why Do Truckers Cheat the Logbook System?

Drowsy truck driving is a major problem on Texas’s roadways. It is impossible for drivers to operate a truck safely when they are tired or even falling asleep. Truckers are especially at risk for drowsy driving because of long hours on the road, pressure from bosses to meet deadlines, and being alone in the cab. The FMCSA strives to reduce this dangerous behavior with the ELD and hours of service rules. Unfortunately, drivers who lie about their daily activities easily circumvent these laws. Here are a few possible ways to cheat the system:

  1. Create fake logbooks. Some truckers and trucking companies still falsify their logs, though this problem is diminishing thanks to the ELD requirement. They create logs with made-up information to present to authorities in the event of inspections, but they do not actually fill them out daily, as they should by law.
  2. Lie about information. Drivers may create duplicate logbooks, so that they may have one “good” one on hand in the event of an unexpected inspection. They may also fill out logs much later than required to cover up hours of service regulation violations or fill out the book with dishonest information.

Truck drivers may lie on their logbooks to drive past their hours of service regulations or break other FMCSA rules. They do this to meet deadlines, receive fast delivery bonuses, and get home to their families faster. Unfortunately, broken rules greatly increase the risk of accidents. There is a reason the FMCSA requires daily activity logging – to prevent truckers from breaking the rules. Entries should be current, accurate, and truthful, not falsified for the trucker’s personal gain.

Logbooks and Personal Injury Claims

Daily logbooks can serve as hard evidence of a truck driver’s negligence in truck-related personal injury claims. Acquiring a driver’s logbook or ELD records is an important step in the investigation phase of any truck accident. This document can show proof of a driver breaking the FMCSA’s rules by disobeying hours of service or other regulations. If a driver falsified the books, a thorough investigative team may be able to catch the driver cheating – also proving negligence.

If a truck driver caused a serious accident or wrongful death, an accident attorney can most likely discover whether he or she cheated on the logbooks. This may take comparing the book with shipping documents and black-box data from the truck itself. Unexpected inspections and electronic logs can also uncover truckers cheating the system. Seek help from a lawyer after an accident in which you suspect a trucker broke an FMCSA safety rule. Analyzing the logbooks and checking for cheating may be necessary to prove your case.

Posted by admin at 10:04 pm