Recently we did a blog post answering some of your more common questions about truck or tractor trailer accidents. So here are some more questions answered to help you sort out the complexities of accidents involving a commercial vehicle or trucking company in or around Kansas City, Blue Springs or Springfield, Missouri.
Is it safe to assume a professional truck driver is a good driver and drives to avoid accidents?
No. Like all professions there are a range of qualifications, experience, and professionalism. Some truck drivers are great, safe, and conscientious drivers who have never even come close to having an accident. And then there are those who are careless and even drive recklessly and who have several accidents on their record. Also, of course, there is a range of drivers in between. All tractor trailer/semi-truck/18 wheeler/cargo tanker/and so on drivers are required to have a special driver's license called a CDL (commercial driver's license). However there are truck driver's out there who do not have a valid license. In addition a good driver will have continuing education on safe driving and on safe driving for various vehicles. A driver's record and the trucking company's record on safety history, training, and hours of service tracking and enforcement, as well as pre-trip inspections and maintenance records are good indications for quality drivers. And this is one of the first places a lawyer and their team will investigate to support a personal injury claim.
What does Hours of Service mean and how does it factor into a truck accident?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a branch of the Department of Transportation, sets regulations and policies for motor carrier companies, truck drivers, and the trucking industry. One of the major regulations is called Hours of Service (HOS). Hours of service rules apply to how long a driver can be behind the wheel in a continuous stretch, over a 24-hour period, and over the course of a week. It is designed to prevent one of the largest contributing factors in truck accidents, driver fatigue. Drivers are required to log their driving time and keep the log available to inspectors such as Missouri State Highway Patrol. One of the problems in the past has been abusing the hours of service rule. Either a driver feels pressure from the company to meet deadlines or as a private contractor they can be trying to make as many runs as possible to make financial demands. Either way this is an important regulation and can be important in a personal injury suit.
What are licensing and registration requirements for trucking companies? Does this matter to my accident?
In addition to registering with the federal government, any trucking company or motor carrier who operates in Missouri must also register with Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and adhere to state and local laws regarding that company's operation. This can be a factor in a track accident if the company or the driver are not properly registered, licensed or adhering to MoDOT's rules regarding licensing, inspections, maintenance, and training.
You can see how complicated an accident involving a truck or trucking company can become. That is why it is important to hire a personal injury lawyer as soon after a truck accident as possible. They will be able to investigate the accident and start the necessary background checks and investigations to help you with your situation.
If you have been involved in a truck accident in our around Springfield, call 1-888-777-AUTO (2886) and schedule a free consultation with the Missouri truck accident lawyers.