The trucking industry is heavily regulated by state and federal law when it comes to safety requirements, driver training, and how long a truck driver can drive continuously without stopping to rest. At The Law Office of Casey W. Stevens, our lawyers work with accident investigators and forensic specialists to determine if a driver ignored safety regulations or if actions on the part of a trucking company were involved in causing the accident. Below is a summary of laws that apply to commercial trucking companies and their drivers.
Causes of 18 Wheeler Accidents:
- Cargo Overload
- Distracted Driving
- Missing Safety Devices
- Lane Shifting
- Improper Truck Maintenance
- Mechanical Failure
- Driver Inexperience
- Improper Tie-Down of Load
- Tire / Re-tread Debris
- Failure to follow hazardous condition laws.
Georgia Trucking Laws:
Commercial motor vehicles and their drivers must follow the rules set forth by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Trucking companies must maintain their vehicles in a safe condition at all times. This includes lights, brakes, tires and other equipment. If the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finds a commercial vehicle is not in compliance, they will classify that vehicle as an "imminent hazard" and will subject it to an "out of service" order. These safety rules apply to drivers as well. Drivers are required by law to be at least 18 years of age, have "temperate habits and good moral character," possess a valid drivers license and not use or possess drugs or alcohol while on duty. They must be fully competent to operate the vehicle in their charge. They are also required to report any accidents they are involved in to the commissioner of transportation.
Drivers are also not to be visually nor physically impaired. Drivers must have have 20/40 eye sight or better in at least one eye without corrective lenses or 20/40 or better in at least one eye with corrective lenses. They must have at least a 70 degree horizontal meridian (peripheral vision) in at least one eye and must be able to recognize colors of traffic signals and devices showing the colors of green, amber and red. Drivers may not have any health conditions that will put themselves or others in jeopardy, including but not limited to diabetes and epilepsy.
Starting in January 2019, all commercial motor carriers were required to install on board recording devices known as ELD's that log the hours of service of each driver. No drivers may drive more than 12 hours in a 16 hour time period. They may not be on duty more than 70 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 80 hours in 8 consecutive days.
Improperly marked or unsecured loads cause accidents as well. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires motor vehicles that transport loads of posts, poles or long pulpwood that extend more than 4 feet beyond the body or bed of a commercial vehicle to have attached strobe lights that are visible from the side and rear of the truck. They must strobe at least 60 times per minute and be visible from at least 500 feet. These strobes must be operated while on a roadway, parked on a shoulder or immediately adjacent to any traveled roadway. They also require bright red or orange flags of the dimensions 18" square to be affixed to the far rear of the projecting poles. Commercial vehicles that carry loads of poles, long pulpwood or posts must also be equipped with a safety device (sometimes known as header racks) that protects drivers and their passengers from cabin impact from their load in case they must quickly apply their brakes. There are also rules about the location and strength of tie-downs depending on the type of cargo being carried. Those requirements can be found in section 1-393.116(h) of the Georgia Motor Carrier Act of 2012 as outlined in OCGA Title 40 Chapter 1, article 3.
Debris flying from a commercial vehicle such as dump trucks or landscape trailers also causes accidents. Loads of bark shavings, gravel, pine straw, wood chips and the like carried in open trailers must be secured from the top with a tarpaulin or similar cover, which must prevent the loss of cargo in normal transportation. Tarpaulins may be used to supplement side securement of loads, but may not be the sole barrier.
All trucks, trailers, semi-trailers, 18-wheelers, buses, and pole trailers are required to be equipped with suitable flexible flaps or metal protectors on their back wheels to prevent wheels from throwing gravel, rocks, dirt, water or other materials on the windshields of following vehicles unless the commercial vehicle is designed with rear fenders that provide protection from debris.
Hazardous conditions cause trucking accidents as well. If a road is declared as limited access due to a declared state of emergency for inclement weather, tire chains or other traction devices must be attached to the outermost drive wheel tires. Trucks and tractor trailers must have at least four and buses and motor coaches must have at least two attached to their drive tires.
Flares and other flame-producing devices may not be used around vehicles that are transporting unmanufactured forest products.
We have the experience and knowledge of the trucking industry to expose negligence on the part of truck drivers and the trucking companies they work for. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, contact the trucking accident attorneys at Casey W. Stevens today at 404-625-6694.Helping You Recover From a Serious Accident
A negligent driver behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler, tractor trailer, bus or van is a danger to everyone on the road. Trucking accidents often result from a violation of federal motor vehicle regulations. This could mean that a driver has been logging too many hours and not getting enough sleep, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It can also mean there has been a failure to maintain the vehicle in accordance with legal standards.
These accidents often result in serious bodily injury, including post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, and even wrongful death. At The Law Office of Casey W. Stevens, we will go to work immediately, investigating who is responsible, ascertaining the extent of the damages, and determining how to get you the most compensation possible.
Contact The Law Office of Casey W. Stevens today for a free consultation with a North Georgia trucking accident attorney. If you prefer a face-to-face meeting, you can visit us at one of our Roswell, Cumming, Dawsonville, Suwanee, Canton or Alpharetta, Georgia locations, or we will come to you.