Commercial trucks are integral to the hustle and bustle of our ever-expanding economy. Put simply, big rigs get what we want where we want it. But, they also pose a significant danger on the road. These mammoth vehicles share our roads, and, when they are involved in accidents, it’s always serious. For this reason, both truckers and trucking companies are held responsible for critical safety factors. Truckers are responsible for driving with sufficient care, and trucking companies are responsible for maintaining safe fleets and ensuring that they employ safe drivers.
Truck accidents are especially dangerous and traumatic. If you’ve been injured in a commercial truck accident, you need experienced San Antonio negligent truck company lawyer. The skilled legal team at The Law Office of George Salinas in San Antonio is here to help guide your claim toward the compensation to which you are entitled.
Texas law requires trucking companies to confirm that their truck drivers are competent to be on the road. Texas has several regulations that must be adhered to in the hiring of competent truckers:
- The trucker must possess adequate driver qualifications, including a valid commercial driver’s license.
- The trucker must have adequate training—this holds true even when the driver is appropriately licensed. Trucking companies are well advised to provide drivers with regular training reviews of company rules, safety checklists, driving hour restrictions, and guidelines for reporting accidents.
- The truck driver must receive appropriate supervision. Texas law requires that employers actively monitor their drivers’ logged hours in an effort to curtail accidents related to fatigue and stress.
Trucking Companies and the Demands of the Road
Trucking is extremely time sensitive. Trucking companies have to move product, but they’re also held to strict regulations related to how many hours a driver can spend behind the wheel.
In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets rigid driving limitations for commercial drivers:
- Commercial drivers must limit their driving to 14 hours within one period of duty, and within this timeframe can only do one 11-hour stint of uninterrupted driving (which must incorporate a 30-minute break for every 8 hours of driving).
- The 14-hour limit per day must include all breaks and gas stops (these can’t be subtracted out of the total time spent driving).
- Commercial truckers also face caps for the total number of hours they can accumulate in a week.
Trucking companies are required to ensure that they don’t push their drivers beyond these restrictions and are also responsible for supervising those hours that their truckers log behind the wheel.
Like all motor vehicles, commercial trucks are made up of myriad moving parts that can malfunction and create dangerous driving conditions. Big rigs, however, are so large and so heavy that when a truck part is damaged or breaks, it’s that much more hazardous. There are a few truck maintenance issues that are commonly associated with semi accidents:
- Coupling devices
- Rollover accidents
- Falling cargo
Tires connect massive, 18-wheelers to the road, and, when something goes wrong with a tire, it can significantly affect the trucker’s ability to control the commercial truck—an obvious safety hazard. Tires on big rigs must be carefully maintained and monitored.
Brakes, for obvious reasons, are elemental to safe driving. Semi-trucks are equipped with extremely complicated braking systems that necessitate regular and ongoing maintenance.
Coupling devices connect truck trailers to their cabs, and if a coupling device is damaged, malfunctions, isn’t secured properly, or breaks, the effects can devastate truck drivers and other motorists. Regular inspection and maintenance of coupling devices is elemental to helping ensure that our roads remain safe.
Trucking companies have the responsibility of maintaining safe fleets, and this includes regularly scheduled maintenance and pre- and post-trip safety checks.
Improperly Loaded Cargos
Because semis are so massive, they pose an even more significant threat when they’re improperly loaded. There are several truck-related accidents that are commonly associated with improper loading:
The Association for the Advancement for Automotive Medicine reports that dangerous errors in cargo loading are most closely tied to rollover accidents. Improper loading, which can affect a semi’s center of gravity, and overloading can both increase a truck’s odds of being involved in a rollover accident. The danger is especially pronounced when a big rig’s load is either too heavy or is top heavy.
The improper loading or overloading of an 18-wheeler can have negative handling consequences. Such improper loading techniques can lead to tire blowouts, which can result in the trucker’s inability to control the rig. Blowouts can be extremely dangerous.
Cargo is essential to the trucking business, but when a commercial truck’s cargo isn’t adequately secured, it can fly off the truck’s bed and become extremely dangerous for everyone on the road. In fact, falling cargo often results in serious collisions.
Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining safe loading systems and for implementing checking mechanisms to ensure that trucks are loaded safely every time. When a trucking company cuts corners related to safely loaded cargo to save time, it can lead to dangerous—and even deadly—accidents.
If a Truck Accident Injured You, Contact an Experienced San Antonio Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are among the deadliest and most terrifying accidents on the road. If you were injured in a truck accident that a trucking company’s negligence caused, you know how frightening it is. You don’t, however, have to face this situation alone. The dedicated truck accident attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas have the experience, skill, and compassion to aggressively advocate for your rights and for your rightful compensation. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at (210) 225-0909 to schedule an appointment today.
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