Semi Tractor Trailer Accidents and Rules for Inspection Maintenance and Repair of Vehicles

truck accident attorneyRules exist to ensure the safe operation of Semi tractor Trailer collisions. The rules strike a balance between ensuring that product make its way across the country to keep our economy moving and making the road as safe as possible for American families. It is sensible to require that everyone associated with a motor carrier, be knowledgeable. See § 396.1Scope.(a) Every motor carrier, its officers, drivers, agents, representatives, and employees directly concerned with the inspection or maintenance of commercial motor vehicles must be knowledgeable of and comply with the rules of this part.

In order to maximize the safety of equipment used on the road, Every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control. § 396.3-Inspection, repair, and maintenance..Thorough records must be created and maintained by the carrier for one year, while the vehicle remains under the control of the carrier, and for six months after the vehicle leaves the carriers control.

If you or a loved one suffers serious personal injury, or wrongful death as a result of a semi-tractor trailer accident, we are ready you help.

Indiana Crashes Involving Large Trucks

What is done to make sure that our families are not injured in Semi Tractor Trailer accidents?  How do we balance that with making sure that one of the greatest suppliers of goods to the country.  One thing is to make sure that drivers of the big trucks are fit to operate these multiple ton machines.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations establish the minimum physical and mental requirements for allowing a driver to qualify to operate the big rigs.  Companies are allowed to make the qualifications more stringent, but the minimum standards must be met.  Below is a small sampling of the requirements that are part of the FMCFRs guidelines designed to make the operation of the Semi Tractor-Trailers safe during operation.

Section 390.3(d) of the FMCSRs allows employers to have more stringent medical requirements.

391.41(b)(1)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no loss of a foot, leg, hand, or arm, or has been granted a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate pursuant to Section 391.49. and

391.41(b)(2)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person has no impairment of:
(i) A hand or finger which interferes with prehension or power grasping.
(ii) An arm, foot, or leg which interferes with the ability to perform normal tasks associated with operating a commercial motor vehicle.
(iii) Any other significant limb defect or limitation which interferes with the ability to perform normal tasks associated with operating a commercial motor vehicle.

391.41(b)(3)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently requiring insulin for control.

391.41(b)(4)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no current clinical diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, thrombosis.

or

Any other cardiovascular disease of a variety known to be accompanied by syncope, dyspnea, collapse, or congestive cardiac failure.

391.41(b)(5)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with the ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely.

391.41(b)(6)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no current clinical diagnosis of high blood pressure likely to interfere with the ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.

391.41(b)(8)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy;

or

Any other condition which is likely to cause the loss of consciousness, or any loss of ability to control a commercial motor vehicle.

391.41(b)(9)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or psychiatric disorder likely to interfere with the driver’s ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle safely.

391.41 (b)(10)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has a distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye with or without corrective lenses, or visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses;

and

distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without corrective lenses;

and

field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian in each eye;

and

the ability to recognize the colors of traffic control signals and devices showing standard; red, green, and amber.

391.41(b)(11)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial vehicle if that person:
First perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than five feet with or without the use of a hearing aid.

or

If tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz and 2,000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the audiometric device is calibrated to the American National Standard, [formerly American Standard Association (ASA)] Z24.5-1951.

391.41(b)(12)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial vehicle if that person:
Does not use a controlled substance identified in 21 CFR 1308.11, Schedule I, an amphetamine, a narcotic, or any other habit-forming drug.
Exception: A driver may use such a substance or drug, if the substance or drug is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner who is familiar with the driver’s medical history and assigned duties; and has advised the driver that the prescribed substance or drug will not adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

391.41(b)(13)

A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism.

If you know anyone who has been injured in a crash with a semi tractor-trailer, and have questions about their rights and responsibilities, please know that we can help. Contact Us.

How Safe is a Semi Tractor-Trailer Driver?

This is an important question because we all must share the road with these huge semi tractor-trailers and an accident with a semi tractor-trailer is likely to result in serious personal injury or even wrongful death to the smaller vehicle. Safe operation benefits both the trucking industry and the industry does a good job of making sure its drivers are safe.  So how do they do it. The answers lie in their desire to avoid the costs associated with causing serious personal injury to others and through enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations aka FMCFRs.   The FMCFRs set out the requirements for driving Semi Tractor-Trailers. They are as follows:

Rule 391(11) General qualifications of drivers.(a) A person shall not drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle. Except as provided in §391.63, a motor carrier shall not require or permit a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle unless that person is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.(b) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, a person is qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he/she—(1) Is at least 21 years old;(2) Can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records;(3) Can, by reason of experience, training, or both, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives;(4) Is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with subpart E—Physical Qualifications and Examinations of this part;(5) Has a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued only by one State or jurisdiction;(6) Has prepared and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with the list of violations or the certificate as required by §391.27;(7) Is not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle under the rules in §391.15; and(8) Has successfully completed a driver’s road test and has been issued a certificate of driver’s road test in accordance with §391.31, or has presented an operator’s license or a certificate of road test which the motor carrier that employs him/her has accepted as equivalent to a road test in accordance with §391.33.

As the trucking company is responsible for injuries caused by one of their drivers, they have a good incentive to follow these rules faithfully. The trucking company is also required to get the safety recs of a truck driver from former employers for the past 3 years before hiring.  After hire, on an annual basis, the company is required to obtain the driving record from the state agency where the trucker has his/her CDL. 

 We know the rules and how the industry attempts to keep us all safe.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi tractor-trailer accident, please call.

Semi Tractor Trailer Crashes Caused by Driver Fatigue

Indiana Auto Accident LawyersDriver fatigue causes semi tractor-trailer accidents. When a driver falls asleep at the wheel semi tractor-trailer crashes happen. When a driver is tired, their reaction time is reduced and semi tractor-trailer collisions cause serious personal injury and wrongful death. So, what prevents companies from pressuring drivers to driver to the point where they become a hazard to others on the road? The civil justice system, which is designed to hold those financially responsible for the harm they cause is one incentive to be safe. Another incentive is found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations or FMCFRs for short. The FMCFR contains a provision which specifically controls the amount of drive time a carrier may allow its drivers to perform. To enforce this rule drivers are required to keep up to date logs of their drive time and must present this log to a law enforcement officer immediately upon request, such as when a semi tractor-trailer accident happens. In addition, on board computers and satellite monitoring devices can be accessed to insure that the driver’s logs are accurate. A violation of these rules is admissible in court as evidence to establish whether the drivers negligence was a cause of the serious personal injury or wrongful death caused by the highway accident. A copy of the FMCFR is provided here for your review. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a semi tractor-trailer accident which was caused by violations of the FMCFRs, please call.

FMCFR Part 395.3

(a) Except as otherwise provided in §395.1, no motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, unless the driver complies with the following requirements:(1) Start of work shift. A driver may not drive without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty;(2) 14-hour period. A driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The driver may not drive after the end of the 14-consecutive-hour period without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty.(3) Driving time and rest breaks. (i) Driving time. A driver may drive a total of 11 hours during the 14-hour period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.(ii) Rest breaks. After June 30, 2013, driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after—(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.(c)(1) Through June 30, 2013, any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours. After June 30, 2013, any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours that includes two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.(2) Through June 30, 2013, any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours. After June 30, 2013, any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours that includes two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.(d) After June 30, 2013, a driver may not take an off-duty period allowed by paragraph (c) of this section to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days until 168 or more consecutive hours have passed since the beginning of the last such off-duty period. When a driver takes more than one off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours within a period of 168 consecutive hours, he or she must indicate in the Remarks section of the record of duty status which such off-duty period is being used to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.

Texting and Semi Tractor-Trailer Crashes in Indiana

Indianapolis auto accident attorneysSemi Tractor-Trailer crashes can cause severe personal injuries, especially to those  occupying passenger cars.  We have represented many Hoosier families dealing with the serious personal injuries, and wrongful death caused by semi tractor-trailer accidents

Did you know the odds of being involved in a crash is three times greater when the driver is reaching for an object than when the driver is not reaching for an object. Did you know that the odds of being involved in an accident is six times greater while the driver is dialing a cell phone than when the driver is not dialing a cell phone. These increases in risk are primarily attributable to the driver’s eyes being off the forward roadway.

As a result of these dangers the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) believe it is in the best interest of public safety to restrict a CMV driver’s use of such devices. To this end Rules are being past restricting the use of cell phones, for both calls and texting, by drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles.

If you, or a loved one, are injured as a result of a semi tractor-trailer accident, it is important to find out whether the driver of the truck was using a cell phone at the time of the crash.  If so, it is likely that the crash was caused, in part by that phone usage.

Semi Tractor Trailer Injuries and Public Liabilities

Indiana Auto Accident AttorneyIf you, or a friend or loved one is injured as a result of collision with a semi tractor-trailer, and the collision was not their fault, they are protected under the civil justice system.  Why is this? The answer is as simple as what your mother taught you as a child.  If you are negligent, and that negligence causes injury to a fellow Hoosier, then you are responsible for making up for the harm you cause.  Generally, the way society has agreed to as a method of making up for the harm is to be financially responsible.  We also agree that financial responsibility is met with insurance. 

In passenger cars the minimum financial responsibility is met by purchasing Liability insurance limits of no less than $25,000.00.  In Semi Tractor-trailer crashes the injuries and harms are likely to be much greater.  This is simple physics, the heavier the vehicle involved in the crash, the more likely the damages are to be severe.  That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require greater financial responsibility.  The applicable provision of the rules is:

The minimum levels of financial responsibility referred to in §387.7 of this subpart are hereby prescribed as follows:

Schedule of Limits—Public Liability Type of carriage  Commodity transported January 1, 1985
(1) For-hire (In interstate or foreign commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds) Property (nonhazardous) $750,000
(2) For-hire and Private (In interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds) Hazardous substances, as defined in 49 CFR 171.8, transported in cargo tanks, portable tanks, or hopper-type vehicles with capacities in excess of 3,500 water gallons; or in bulk Division 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 materials. Division 2.3, Hazard Zone A, or Division 6.1, Packing Group I, Hazard Zone A material; in bulk Division 2.1 or 2.2; or highway route controlled quantities of a Class 7 material, as defined in 49 CFR 173.403 5,000,000
Code of Federal Regulations302
(3) For-hire and Private (In interstate or foreign commerce, in any quantity; or in intrastate commerce, in bulk only; with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds) Oil listed in 49 CFR 172.101; hazardous waste, hazardous materials, and hazardous substances defined in 49 CFR 171.8 and listed in 49 CFR 172.101, but not mentioned in (2) above or (4) below 1,000,000
(4) For-hire and Private (In interstate or foreign commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,001 pounds) Any quantity of Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 material; any quantity of a Division 2.3, Hazard Zone A, or Division 6.1, Packing Group I, Hazard Zone A material; or highway route controlled quantities of a Class 7 material as defined in 49 CFR 173.403  

At Young and Young we know the rules which govern safety for Semi tractor-trailer operation.  Let us help you when you are injured in a semi tractor-trailer accident.

     

NOTICE: No face-to-face meeting needed. You can remain safely in your home from case signup to settlement.

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