If you were involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, truck driver negligence likely caused or contributed to the accident. Operating a commercial truck requires specialized training and licensure, as commercial trucks can be more difficult to control than a standard passenger vehicle.
Truck drivers also must adhere to the strict regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Failure to follow FMCSA regulations, failing to follow traffic laws, and/or acting recklessly behind the wheel may constitute driver negligence. Here are some of the most common forms of truck driver negligence.
According to the Florida Department of highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were over 33,000 Florida truck accidents in 2019 involving a medium or heavy truck (more than 10,000 pounds).
Truck drivers spend many hours on the road, often driving for many continuous hours late at night and in the early morning. The FMCSA requires truck drivers to take regular breaks and limits the number of hours they can drive per day/week, yet researchers of one large truck crash causation study found that approximately 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash. Engaging in drowsy driving or failing to adhere to hours-of-service regulations is a form of truck driver negligence.
Some drivers get bored on their long drives and start looking for ways to entertain themselves along the way. Failing to pay attention to the roadway while driving is a common form of truck driver negligence. Distracted driving may involve the following activities:
- Using a cell phone or texting
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting GPS, heat, air conditioning, radio, etc.
- Using dispatching devices
- Looking at buildings, billboards, or other distractions outside the vehicle
Speeding reportedly plays a role in over 20 percent of accidents. Many drivers mistakenly think that adhering to the speed limit means that they are not speeding. However, traveling too fast for conditions is also a violation of the law. In other words, traffic conditions, weather, road debris and other factors, may require a truck driver to drive below the speed limit, and it is the driver’s responsibility to consider those factors while determining how fast to drive. Additionally, speeding can make it more difficult for drivers to maintain control of their trucks or come to a timely stop when necessary.
Driving a commercial truck comes with unique challenges and requires a great deal of care. A personal injury attorney can help truck accident victims recover damages after a crash. Truck drivers who fail to operate their vehicles responsibly can be liable for a victim’s accident-related injuries and damages.