Passenger vehicles are perceived at risk of being in a truck accident and this can spark lawsuits and the need for insurance defense. A concern that drivers and insurers should be cognizant of is the potential for rules changes regarding how many hours drivers can spend on the road. This can be critical if there is a legal filing that requires a strong defense.
There is a movement for the Department of Transportation to be less strict regarding drivers and the time they can spend on the road without a break. Now, drivers must limit their time to 11 hours within a 14-hour time-frame. After that, they must spend 10 consecutive hours free of driving. They can then take to the road again. Truckers and truck companies have long sought to change the rules to grant truckers greater freedom. If drivers are not on the road, they are not making money. Although drowsy driving is worrisome, advocates of the rule changes say that it is a "one size fits all" rule when all drivers are different.
Research shows that heavy trucks have been in more crashes since the rules were put in place. In 2017, there were 4,237 fatal crashes. That year, there were 344,000 accidents that caused injuries. This was a rise of 10% from 2016. 83% of fatalities happened in the overnight hours from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. sparking drowsy driving fears. Since it can be difficult to discern if a driver was drowsy or asleep, this is rarely gauged accurately. The potential changes are still under review by the Trump administration.
People who were injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident will undoubtedly want what they believe to be justice. A legal filing is designed to recover compensation for lost income, medical costs, funeral expenses and pain and suffering. However, just because there was a crash does not make the trucker or the truck company responsible. Citing the rules is a strategy many victims will use to justify a claim when there might not have been a violation at all. Understanding the current regulations, statistics and possible changes is crucial to a defense and a law firm that handles insurance defense can help.