Trucking companies and truck drivers must follow federal, state and local truck regulations. Regulations are implemented to reduce the number of accidents.
But tight shipping schedules, long shifts and monotonous routines can cause violations that result in catastrophic accidents.
With trucks in Colorado weighing up to 80 lbs., these accidents are often life-changing, if not life-threatening.
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident in Denver, CO, you can contact Denver Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.
Federal Truck Regulations
Trucking companies and their employees must follow strict regulations, including:
Shift Limits – Hours of Service
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety of Administration (FMCSA) limits the hours a driver can spend behind the wheel. They can only drive for a certain number of hours in a day and between break periods.
Each rule is determined by whether passengers are on board and if the driver is carrying goods. These rules are created to decrease the large number of accidents that are caused by driver fatigue.
While Carrying Goods and Property
Rules for carrying goods in trucks include:
- Must not drive more than 11 hours, after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, after 10 consecutive hours off.
- Must take a 30-minute break, if they’ve driven for 8 hours in total without a 30-minute break.
- May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days. A driver may restart their consecutive day count after at least 34 hours off duty
While Carrying Passengers
Rules of carrying passengers in trucks include:
- May not drive more than 10 hours, after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
- May not drive after being on duty for 15 hours, after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
Truck Maintenance Regulations
Trucking companies have a duty of care and take responsibility for deploying trucks onto the road. They must maintain their vehicle with regular inspections, record keeping and maintenance.
If a truck accident is caused due to an overlooked problem, such as worn-out brakes, damaged tires or cracked pedals – the truck company could be liable.
Similarly, the trucking company may have booked a maintenance inspection or repair with an external company. If the maintenance provider failed to do their job properly and it resulted in a crash, they too could be liable.
Truck Driver Requirements
All truck drivers must be properly trained, vetted and licensed. Trucking companies must ensure all their drivers meet these requirements.
If an accident is caused because of driver error and it’s found that the driver wasn’t properly trained or licensed, then the truck company could be found liable.
Federal regulations require truck drivers to be tested at times to check their drinking habits. Truck drivers are on the road for the majority of the year and cannot be intoxicated behind the wheel.
Alcohol test may be carried out at the following moments:
- Before being offered a job
- After an accident
- At random checks
- When impairment is suspected
- Returning to a job after a violation or holiday
- As part of substance abuse programs
Colorado Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits
- Regular Driver: Driving under the influence limit: 0.08%
- Regular Driver: Driving while ability impaired: 0.05%
- Truck Driver: Commercial drivers will lose their CDL if their BAC is 0.04% or over.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
The FMCSA’s safety report reveals the following causes for trucking accidents:
- Faulty truck brakes – 29%
- Driver speeding or driving too fast for the conditions – 23%
- Driver unfamiliar with the route – 22%
- Roadway problems or damage – 20%
- Driver affected by over-the-counter drugs – 17%
- Driver inadequate surveillance – 14%
- Driver fatigue – 13%
- Driver distraction – 10%
- Driver under work pressure, such as time constraints – 10%
- Illegal maneuvers – 9%
- Driver inattention – 9%
- Truck tire failure or problems – 6%
- Tailgating – 5%
- Driver jackknifing truck – 5%
- Truck cargo shift – 4%
- Driver illness – 3%
- Intoxicated driver – 3%
Determining the true cause can be complicated, especially if there is more than one. Our Denver truck accident lawyer will conduct an exhaustive investigation to find facts that reveal the actual cause of your injuries.
Who Is Liable for My Truck Accident?
If you’ve been the victim of a truck accident, there may be various negligent parties, even if it feels like the driver was to blame.
These may include:
Driver errors cause 32% of all truck accident deaths. Distracted driving, speeding, failure to yield or fatigue may have contributed.
In these cases, the truck driver may be liable alongside the company.
Commercial trucking companies can be found liable if, for example, they had overworked a driver, undertrained them or failed to vet them before employment.
Additionally, they must maintain their vehicles and perform necessary repairs. Neglecting this requirement is unforgivable and would hold them liable.
Part and Truck Manufacturers
Truck drivers and other road users can only be safe if a truck’s parts work correctly. If the part has a design defect or manufacturing defect, it can cause serious accidents.
For example, what if the brakes suddenly fail, the throttle gets stuck or the steering column fails?
Our truck accident lawyers can look into your case to determine the cause and hold the responsible party accountable.
The way goods and cargo are packed makes a considerable difference to the handling of the truck. It must be packed safely and securely to avoid sudden shifts of weight that cause the driver to lose control.
In flat-bed trucks, or trucks carrying large objects (such as logs), the cargo company must be 100% sure that the cargo is securely tied down. If not, an accident is likely to happen and they will be liable.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
A truck accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim if you or a loved one have been injured in a trucking accident.
From gathering crucial evidence and medical diagnoses to negotiating with insurance companies and court hearings – they can potentially recover all your damages, so you can rest and recover.
The true value of your damages is often hard to predict unless you know personal injury law inside out or have the assistance of a financial expert.
If you want to win the money you deserve following a truck accident, then contact a truck accident lawyer.
Contact a Trucking Accident Lawyer in Denver, CO
With a combination of a proven track record, impressive financial resources, esteemed legal reputation and a compassionate approach, we believe there is no better Denver personal injury attorney team than us.