Many motorists make the mistake to think of 18 wheeler accidents as regular car accidents. They are certainly very different. An 18 wheeler accident falls under a completely different category of personal injury law. The reason is obvious, of course. It has to do with the extensive damage that an 18 wheeler can do to a regular vehicle. Because of this, trucking companies must adhere to strict regulations and rules about how long their drivers can drive. Let’s take a look at some important things to note about federal regulations that can help protect you if you suffer an 18 wheeler accident.
Difference Between 18 Wheeler Accidents and Car Crashes
Some of these might be obvious, but there are important distinctions — from a legal perspective — that separate a car crash between two regular-sized vehicles and one involving a semi-truck.
- Potential for devastating and catastrophic impact
- Regulations that apply to commercial vehicles
- Trucks often have a ‘black box’ or tracking device that can be used to prove a case
- Pre-trip and post-trip inspection documents
Regulations Meant to Keep Driver and Motorist Safe
The idea behind many of these regulations is to prevent accidents from drivers being overworked, overtired, and fatigued. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) an agency within the U.S Department of Transportation has increased and updated many of its regulations in order to protect truck drivers and other motorists.
These regulations limit the amount of time that drivers can drive within a given period, in order to prevent fatigue and overwork. Knowing a little bit about how these work might help you get a sense of what truck drivers must comply with. Let’s take a look at some of these regulations, as sometimes they can get confusing:
- It’s important to note that as drivers cross state lines, the regulations to which they are subject to may change. That is, they will always be expected to comply with federal regulations but state regulation may vary from state to state.
- Drivers cannot work more than 60 hours on duty over seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight days.
- Drivers must maintain a driver’s log.
- Drivers are required to take a mandatory 30 minute break by their eighth hour of coming on duty
Those are just to name a few. The rules are there to protect everyone on the road and can be an important part of any 18 wheeler accident case, as many times these accidents happen as a result of fatigue on the part of the driver.
A Few Interesting Statistics about 18 Wheeler Accidents
Because these types of accidents are so devastating and very often cause serious injury or death of the people involved, data collection is important to understand how regulations and rules might be helping to prevent these or whether there are any changes over the years. Here are a few interesting ones:
- In 2016, out of roughly 457,000 large truck crashes recorded by police. 08% were fatal and 22% resulted in serious injury.
- Fatal crashes of this type tend to occur on interstate highways or rural areas. Almost 61% of fatal accidents happen in a rural area and 27% take place on interstate highways.
- Most of these large truck crashes will happen Monday through Friday.
- Rollover is the primary cause of death in these accidents
- Six percent of drivers in fatal semi-truck accidents are 25 years or younger, while another 6% are 60 and over.
- According to some statistics, 32% of 18 wheeler accidents are caused by the driver while another 55% are caused by the other driver.
Common Types of Serious Injury That Happen With Semi-Truck Accidents
As mentioned above, the injuries sustained in these types of accidents will typically be more serious than a regular fender bender. Some of the most common ones include:
- Traumatic Brain injury
- Injury to the spinal cord and neck
- Herniated disk and other back problem
- Broken bones and fractures
Don’t Wait, You Might Have a Case
If you were involved in an accident with an 18 wheeler, it was probably pretty dramatic and even traumatic due to the size and speed in which these trucks travel. You don’t want to wait around and sit on your injuries. Something can be done and here at Quiñonez Law, we can help. We’ll help investigate your case and help you get your life in order.