Anyone who has driven on the highways is aware of the huge number of semi’s and tractor-trailers on the roadways today. These trucks often weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger vehicle, require more stopping distance, especially when fully loaded, and more reaction time to bring these big rigs under control. In 2010, over 3,400 people died in trucking accident, and surprisingly, over 60% were on major roads other than highways. The dangers from these big rigs on the roadways include driver fatigue, shifting loads, traveling too fast for conditions, and improper maneuvering.
Trucking accidents often involve very different issues than car wrecks. The laws governing semi-trucks and the trucking industry are very different than those governing passenger cars. These can be complex cases. Semi-truck cases involve the application and interpretation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which govern the everyday tasks of the truck driver and the trucking company. Often one must investigate such issues as keeping accurate logbooks and recording hours of service, maintaining the truck, loading and unloading, random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing, and the qualifications, training, and supervision of the drivers.
America’s highways are flooded with large semitrucks trying to meet delivery deadlines imposed by their employers. Trucking companies have difficulty finding enough qualified drivers, so they resort to hiring unqualified drivers, pushing their drivers to deliver even when they are fatigued, and ignoring substance abuse problems with drivers. These practices lead to more semi-truck accidents, which are usually deadly and catastrophic.
Watson & Dameron’s philosophy in these cases, as others, is to require the negligent trucking company to be responsible for all of the harms and losses they cause. Society and ultimately the taxpayer should not have to bear this burden. Holding trucking companies liable for all of the damage they cause results in safer roadways for us all.