It is common sense that in a collision between a passenger car and a large truck, the driver of the occupants of the passenger car have a greater probability of being seriously or fatally injured. The average tractor-trailer can weigh over twenty-five times that of a regular car. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 105,808 people died or suffered a personal injury in crashes involving large trucks or tractor trailers in 2007. Of those 105,808 people, 83 percent of those who died and 78 percent of those injured were occupants of a passenger vehicle.
The government has enacted laws to protect the public from the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies. To try to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities from accidents involving large trucks, truck drivers are required to follow specific safety rules. These rules and regulations include hours-of-service limitations, cargo loading, safety inspections, required medical or physical examinations, and logging of all the driver’s time. Additionally, trucking companies have a responsibility to make sure that the individuals are fit to be driving a 75-80,000 pound vehicle on our nation’s highways. Trucking companies have a duty to check the driving records of their drivers, to make sure that their drivers have current licensing and medical certificates, and to make sure their drivers are properly trained and educated about all of the specific safety rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, these rules are not always followed by the drivers or the trucking company, with potentially catastrophic consequences.