Truck Driver Negligence Attorneys in Orange County
In a recent year, the number of large commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. increased by 10%, from 4,250 to 4,657, as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In California alone, 352 people were killed in large truck accidents in a recent year, reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A variety of factors can contribute to deadly truck accidents, and many involve truck driver negligence.
Truck drivers are held to a higher standard than passenger vehicle drivers. They must be physically qualified, trained, and licensed to operate a commercial vehicle, and must comply with specific federal regulations governing the trucking industry. Due to the sheer size and weight of the loaded tractor trailers they are operating, negligence on the part of truck drivers can have severe consequences for others sharing the road. Common types of truck driver negligence include:
- Fatigued driving: Truck drivers are subject to strict FMCSA regulations concerning hours of service. Among other requirements, they may only drive a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off duty, and, with certain exceptions, they must take rest breaks for at least 30 minutes after every eight hours of driving. Drivers under pressure to meet deadlines may violate these hours of service regulations, which can result in fatigued driving, putting other motorists at risk.
- Driving under the influence of drugs: In the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by NHTSA and FMCSA, researchers found that driver prescription drug use and over-the-counter drug use were two of the top ten factors associated with large trucks involved in accidents. Some truck drivers also use illegal drugs while driving, such as marijuana (which is now legal for personal use in some states), amphetamines, and cocaine.
- Aggressive driving: Truck drivers are on tight schedules and may drive aggressively to meet their deadlines. Aggressive truck driving may include speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, failing to obey traffic signals, or violating the right-of-way of other drivers. Aggressive driving is dangerous behavior for any driver, and particularly for one who is behind the wheel of tractor trailer.
- Distracted driving: Driver distraction has become a threat to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Nationwide, it claimed the lives of 3,166 people in a single recent year, as stated by NHTSA. Texting is the most alarming distraction, as it requires manual, visual, and cognitive attention. When truck drivers operating massive vehicles (and carrying hazardous loads in some cases) are texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise distracted while driving, it puts all others sharing the road in danger.
To build a truck accident claim, our Orange County personal injury attorneys must show that negligence of the truck driver, trucking company, or another party caused your accident and injuries. Since 2017, FMCSA has required all commercial trucks to carry electronic logging devices (ELDs) that automatically record data about the truck, including the hours on the road.
We can pull driving records from the truck’s ELD to establish hours of service violations and other types of driver negligence. We can also obtain phone records to show that the driver was distracted, interview witnesses, and hire accident reconstruction specialists to prove negligence and establish that the driver and/or trucking company is liable for your injuries.
Truck accidents are complex cases involving state and federal regulations that often have several potentially liable parties. Trucking companies and their insurers have teams of investigators and lawyers on their side to fight against your claim. If you have been seriously injured due to truck driver negligence, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Our Orange County truck accident attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie can provide skilled and dedicated representation in an accident claim. Call us at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a free consultation with no time limits or restrictions.
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