Tractor Trailer Accidents

Schwaba Law Firm is commonly referred claims arising from tractor trailer motor vehicle accidents. Tractor-trailer and semi-truck accidents are often particularly severe crashes that lead to significant injuries and death. Tractor-trailer and semi-truck operators have heightened responsibilities as they drive due to the potential for serious injuries that may be caused by their failures. Tractor-Trailer and Semi-truck claims raise legal hurdles unique to these types of claims. It is best to have experienced counsel on your side that knows how to navigate successful recoveries in tractor-trailer and semi-truck litigation.

Commercial Motor Carriers are governed by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees the implementation and enforcement of the Regulations. A Commercial Motor Vehicle is one that weighs over 10,000 pounds, carries over 100,000 pounds, or carries hazardous materials.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the amount of driving semi-truck and tractor-trailer drivers may operate: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations  For drivers carrying property, Commercial Motor Carriers operating tractor trailers and semi-trucks are required to keep a log of all of their driver’s activity. The activity log must document each drivers’ driving time, their rest breaks, and any resets. Drivers are not allowed to drive more than 60 hours in a 7 day timeframe, or 70 hours in an 8 day time period. Drivers can restart the 60/70 hour rule if they have had a 34 hour break. Also drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours in a 14 hour window, and must take a 30 minute break within an 11 hour timeframe. Drivers are required to have a 10 hours off duty.

Drivers carrying passengers have even more restrictive guidelines relating to rests and breaks. Passenger carrying motor carriers must adhere to a 10 hour limit of drive time after 8 consecutive hours off duty. They may not drive after 15 consecutive hours on duty.

Drivers operating tractor-trailers or semi-trucks are required to possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Special endorsements are required for drivers carrying double or triple trailers, carrying a tank, carrying hazardous materials, or carrying passengers. A CDL is issued by the resident state, not the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Generally, to earn a CDL, drivers must be at least 21, maintain a regular driving license, pass medical and vision requirements, pass road skills and a driving examination, pass a knowledge exam and be a US resident.

When litigating a claim related to a tractor-trailer or semi-truck collision, it is important to obtain the dispatch records from the commercial carrier. A copy of the driver’s log should also be obtained. Copies of any data from GPS or onboard tracking systems, using software from companies like HighwayMaster, Qualcomm or American Mobile Satellite Corporation should also be obtained. These records should be cross-checked with dispatch records, the driver’s bills of lading, receipts, and operational run documtns to verify the records are consistent.

The Motor Carrier is also required to keep the tractor-trailer or semi-truck properly maintained, including keeping proper maintenance records. Each motor carrier is required to systematically inspect, repair and maintain its trucks and keep suitable records of any maintenance for 30 days. Drivers are required to prepare a report after each day’s work, with a checklist of items inspected such as tires, windows, brakes, etc.  Drivers are also required to perform their own inspections before each trip. Records of these inspections are required to be kept for at least 1 year.

The Schwaba Law Firm can assist people involved in trucking accidents. Those who have suffered serious injury or have lost a family member, may have a claim. If you have questions as to whether you have trucking accident claim, you may call the Schwaba Law Firm.

There is no cost to you in contacting or discussing your claim with the Schwaba Law Firm.  In the event you decide to retain Schwaba Law Firm as your counsel, the firm will only be paid in the event they are able to obtain a recovery on your behalf. In no event will you be asked to pay anything out-of-pocket. If you have a trucking accident related injury, contact the Schwaba Law Firm at the numbers above.