Thousands of people – both truckers and occupants of other vehicles – died in big rig accidents in 2019 around the country.
There is good evidence that time constraints, which often weigh heavily on the minds of truck drivers, have contributed to these types of fatal accidents in Maryland and across the United States.
The time factor in tractor-trailer accidents
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations require commercial drivers to pull over after 8 hours of continuous driving. Also, a driver may only operate his or her vehicle for a maximum of 11 hours in any given 14-hour window.
The law, though well-intentioned in its design to encourage rest for overtaxed big rig drivers, has produced unexpected and unwanted ramifications. According to the Independent Drivers Association and other industry groups, the rule causes truck drivers to speed up and otherwise drive recklessly in an attempt to avoid the mandatory stop.
The legal consequences of time restrictions
The unfortunate effects of mandatory stops for commercial drivers have rippled into the legal sector. More and more litigation, mostly civil but also criminal, revolves around the central issue of these federal rules and their culpability in scores of traffic accidents in the U.S. each year. Personal injury attorneys have seen an uptick in the number of commercial trucking claims, some of which have resulted, based on the evidence, from onerous time restrictions with exploitable loopholes and financial incentive to do so. The good news is that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering modifications to its regulations to prevent further traffic accidents directly or indirectly related to the rule.
How to seek legal help as a victim
If you have been injured in an accident involving a big rig truck, you need someone on your side who is going to pursue every legal avenue to achieving justice on your behalf. An experienced personal injury attorney could examine evidence that reveals that the truck driver was speeding in order to make a delivery or was otherwise negligent, and that your injury was a result of that behavior.