The trucking industry continues to be a common thread for delivering goods to local businesses. They’re a mainstay on our highways and a necessary part of American life.
Montana personal injury law firms know that as more and more 18-wheelers share the road with passenger vehicles, they pose an increasing threat to safety on our highways.
Considering that the average truck is about 75 feet long and weighs on average, 80,000 lbs, when an accident occurs, the outcome is often catastrophic to anyone involved. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that our nation suffers an average of 500,000 truck accidents every year. This is often due to driver fatigue. Is it any wonder, considering the long distances these drivers travel on a daily basis?
Department of Transportation Truck Driving Rules of the Road
Truck drivers must adhere to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) strict rules and guidelines for safety.
- They can only drive a maximum of 11 consecutive hours after 10 consecutive hours off.
- They can only drive 60 hours in a 7 day period or 70 hours in an 8 day period.
- Accurate time records must be kept by the trucker’s employer for six months
- Each trucker must keep a log of their meal breaks, rest stops, arrival and departure times, etc.
- Most drivers also keep an eye on cargo stability, road conditions, and surrounding traffic.
These guidelines are usually followed, which prevents personal injury accidents. However, when you combine unrealistic scheduling, dangerous weather, and high traffic areas along with the truck company’s decreased profit margin and need to expedite deliveries, the stress placed on drivers by their managers can be overwhelming. Considering that many drivers are paid by the miles per hour that they drive, there’s the added temptation to push the limits of safety.
What to do if You’re Involved in a Truck Accident
- Call 911. This is especially important if someone is injured.
- Get Statements from Witnesses. This is crucial in the event you have to file a lawsuit.
- Take Photos of the Accident Scene. Be sure to capture all damage to vehicles, skid marks on the road, traffic lights, and traffic signs.
- Call a personal injury law firm. If there have been injuries or major vehicle damage, you’ll want to discuss the legal ramifications with an experienced Montana truck accident attorney.
Truck accident attorneys will fight for your right to have the best medical care available and to ensure that you get the best settlement for your claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman and Butte, or anywhere in Montana, please contact a Truck Accident Attorney today.