There’s no question that federal regulations for commercial trucks have gotten stricter in recent years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented rules regarding, among other things:
- Hours-of-Service (HOS), which dictate how many consecutive hours a driver can be behind the wheel, how many consecutive hours they must have off-duty and other regulations to help ensure that drivers aren’t falling asleep at the wheel from exhaustion
- Training requirements
- Alcohol and drug testing and regulations
- Electronic logs that minimize the opportunity for truckers or others to log false information
Speeding is still a problem. When truck drivers are under pressure to deliver their cargo by a specified time, these other regulations may leave them with no alternative but to exceed the posted speed limit or a safe speed for conditions if they fear being penalized for not making an on-time delivery.
Required speed limiters are on the horizon
Federal regulators have been advocating for speed limiters to be required on many commercial trucks. The FMCSA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) are set to issue a joint rule mandating these limiters next year for any vehicle with a “gross vehicle weight” of over 26,000 pounds. This could help lessen the number of crashes caused by 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks caused by speeding.
Determining fault for a commercial truck crash can be complicated
There’s no doubt that a crash between an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer and a car or even a pick-up truck typically results in far more serious injuries for those in the smaller vehicle. A number of factors can be behind these crashes if they’re caused by the truck driver. The company they’re working for, the truck manufacturer and/or the driver themselves can be at fault. In many cases, each party tries to shift the blame to another one.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or worse in a crash involving an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck, it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance to determine where the fault lies and get the compensation and justice you deserve.