Tractor trailers are some of the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road. Besides their size and weight, these trucks often carry hazardous cargo, so it is imperative that they are being operated properly and safely. It is for these reasons that truck drivers must have a commercial driver's license and stay in compliance with a number of state and federal trucking regulations. If they fail to do this, they can cause a truck accident that seriously or fatally injures another motorist.
These regulations are in place to keep people safe on the road. There are some regulations that are applicable only at a state level. In North Carolina, for example, truckers carrying nonhazardous materials can be as young as 18 years of age. Intrastate truckers also must comply with various state regulations in regards to hours of service, which mandate how long a driver can drive before he or she must take a break. There are also federal laws that govern the hours of service with which interstate truckers must comply. It is important for these drivers to understand and observe these regulations, or they face serious consequences.
Recently, for example, an interstate truck driver was charged after she caused a serious accident that resulted in the fatality of a man who worked for the Department of Transportation. According to sources, the DOT worker had pulled off the road onto the shoulder and exited his vehicle. Coming up behind him was the large tractor trailer. The trucker swerved onto the shoulder and hit the DOT worker, killing him.
After the accident, the trucker was charged with a number of moving violations including failing to stay in her lane and misconduct with a motor vehicle, and she was also reportedly in violation of the hours of service laws.
When truck drivers do not comply with the state and federal trucking laws, they put other people in danger. A driver in violation of hours of service runs the risk of being overly fatigued behind the wheel which can impair their vision, judgment and reaction time. Victims who have been injured in a truck accident with a negligent trucker have the right to pursue compensation from the driver and potentially his or her employer as well.
Source: CBS Connecticut, "Truck Driver Charged In Death Of DOT Worker," Feb. 13, 2013