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When involved in a trucking accident, time is often of the essence. Critical evidence can be lost every day you go without an attorney. It is important that you retain an experienced Austin truck accident lawyer to help protect this evidence. As such, if you or someone you love has been injured in a commercial trucking accident, the Dallas and Austin truck accident attorneys at Wilson Trosclair & Lovins are ready to help. Our trucking accident attorneys have handled numerous trucking accident cases and know what steps need to be taken to protect your rights. We have the background and experience to take on these large trucking companies and their insurers and hold these companies responsible for their negligence. Call us today at 214-484-1930 today for a free consultation. Let us put our skills to work for you. Remember, you don’t owe us any fees or litigation expenses unless we win.
TEXAS TRUCKING ACCIDENTS OCCUR DAILY DUE TO AVOIDABLE NEGLIGENCE
Everyday our roads are plagued with large 18- Wheelers operated in an unsafe manner. Last year alone there were over 135,000 trucking wrecks and nearly 5000 deaths nationwide involving large commercial trucks, semi-trucks, 18 wheelers, and big rigs. Trucking accidents are rarely minor. Many of these horrific crashes are due to trucking companies and drivers putting profits over safety. There are many state and federal regulations that attempt to make our highways safer by limiting how many hours per day truck drivers are allowed to be on the road and requiring frequent and documented maintenance and inspections of the trucks. Nevertheless, trucking companies and truck drivers often ignore these safety rules because they get in the way of profits. Exceeding permitted driving hours, driving to the point of exhaustion, using illegal drugs that negatively affect a driver’s attention and focus, and failing to keep up with required, common sense maintenance like keeping the brakes properly adjusted are often the cause of tragic trucking accidents that unfortunately result in death or life-threatening injuries to innocent, unsuspecting victims. Clearly, there are few things more dangerous on our highways than a big rig, semi-truck or 18-wheeler striking an automobile and causing a trucking accident.
IMPORTANT FACTORS THAT MAKE LARGE COMMERCIAL TRUCKS SO DANGEROUS AND CAUSE TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
A few of the causes of truck accidents are:
Many semi-trucks on our roads weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds. By exceeding speed limits in an effort to meet a deadline, truck drivers and trucking companies make it difficult to stop or maneuver the truck as necessary to avoid other cars on the freeway, especially when traffic is slowing or coming to a stop.
Stopping a large truck is difficult enough. It is even more so when the semi-truck is loaded with cargo that exceeds the appropriate weight. This extra weight also contributes to the severity of an accident when an overloaded, large truck collides with a standard passenger car.
Following proper maintenance on large commercial trucks is key to their safety on our highways. For example, if the brakes are not properly maintained and in proper alignment, even the most cautious truck driver can still find himself the cause a trucking accident due to the truck's inability to stop in time in response to slowing traffic. Failing to keep the brakes properly adjusted reduces the effectiveness of the brakes and increases the likelihood of a collision. Trucking accidents caused by improper maintenance are entirely preventable, and there is no excuse for bad brakes causing an unnecessary collision.
Due to the way that truck drivers are often paid, there is a direct incentive for truck drivers to drive for extended periods of time to maximize their pay. Sleeping only reduces the amount of time they are on the road, and thereby reduces their ability to earn profits. Lack of sleep causes drivers to be less attentive and aware of their surroundings and slows their reaction time. Lack of sleep also causes drivers to fall asleep at the wheel. Add to this the hypnotic-like tracne drivers feel when driving long stretches at a time, and the dangers of lack of sleep are readily evident. While drivers are required to log their driving time to assure they are not driving without adequate rest, many drivers fail to comply with these regulations at the expense of innocent drivers.
Many truck drivers simply do not care about other cars on the highway. They drive as if they are the kings of the road and every other car needs to get out of their way. This attitude is deadly, especially on crowded city roads in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston.
In an effort to reduce the causes of trucking accidents discussed above, lawmakers have passed important federal and state regulations to control the actions of truck drivers and trucking companies. The Dallas and Austin truck accident lawyers at Wilson Trosclair & Lovins are knowledgeable of these regulations as is necessary to affectively apply them to establish liability in trucking accident litigation. There are important federal and state regulations that control the trucking industry in an effort to keep our roadways safe. Two primary areas of regulation include service hours and drug/ alcohol use.
Hours Of Service
Driver fatigue is a common factor in Texas trucking accidents. In an effort to combat this, regulations limit the amount of hours commercial truck drivers can be in service. Federal regulations controlling hours of service can be summarized as follows:
11-Hour Driving Limit: Truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
14-Hour Limit: Truck drivers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit: Truck drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Sleeper Berth Provision: Truck drivers using the sleeper birth provisions must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
Alcohol And Drug Use
Drunk driving in dangerous with any motor vehicle, but the serious risks of drug use and drunk driving with commercial trucks is obvious. Understanding this, law makers have taken steps to address these risks. In many states, truck drivers are prohibited from operating a truck with a blood alcohol level of .04 percent or above. Also, truck drivers are subject to periodic drug tests. Moreover, when an accident does occur, there are mandatory drug and alcohol screenings to determine what role, if any, drugs or alcohol played in the trucking accident.
Texas Specific Regulations
Like other states, Texas regulates trucking activities that occur exclusively within the borders of Texas. As such, Texas has its own unique laws and regulations to address common causes of trucking accidents such as
driver fatigue and excessive speed when it comes to trucks that operate exclusively within the state of Texas, such as:
Truck drivers that travel within a 150 mile radius are not required to keep logs, but trucking companies are required to keep records for six months to ensure that their drivers do not exceed the 12-hour driving limit. In addition, such records must be retained by the employer for six months.
Texas reduced the speed 18 wheelers and semi-trucks are able to drive at night in an effort to reduce the role of excessive speed in causing trucking accidents. Failure to follow these restricted speed limits can be a factor in determining the negligence in a trucking accident lawsuit. Again, despite these clear regulations, trucking accidents happened daily in Texas, Dallas and Austin because truck drivers and trucking companies choose to ignore these sensible regulations for the purpose of increasing profits: the slower you drive, the more you rest, the less you can carry, and the less money you can make. It is that simple.
TRUCKING ACCIDENT LITIGATION
Properly litigating a trucking accident case requires experience and ability. You need a trucking accident attorney that understands the causes of trucking accidents, understand the regulations that control truck drivers and trucking companies, understands the science of trucking accidents, and understand the severity of the injuries sustained in these types of cases. The Dallas, Austin, and Fort Worth truck accident attorneys at Wilson Trosclair and Lovins have the experience and ability you need to properly litigate trucking accident cases for you. Call us today at 214-484-1930 today. :
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