Trucking Industry Rules and Regulations and Protecting Evidence After a Semi-Truck Accident
Written by Greg on December 1, 2017
There are about 2 million semi-trucks registered in the United States. A large percentage of these commercial trucks are registered in three states: California, Florida, and Texas. Indeed, since the creation of NAFTA, the state of Texas has seen an ever-increasing number of big rigs on Lone Star State roadways. In conjunction with more semis on Texas roads more of the time, there has also been an uptick in the number of accidents involving commercial trucks.
Big Rig and Automobile Accidents
More often than not, a collision involving a commercial truck and a passenger automobile has catastrophic consequences, and not for the big rig operator. The fatality rate in semi and automobile accidents is higher than any other type of motor vehicle collision pairing. In addition, injuries sustained by drivers of and passengers in automobiles involved in accidents with semi-trucks oftentimes are severe.
Big Rig Regulations and Truck Accident Claims and Lawsuits
In the aftermath of a commercial truck accident, a thorough investigation is vital. Evidence beneficial to a claim for injuries arising out of a commercial truck accident is found at the scene of the accident. Crucial evidence to support an accident claim may very well be found in an onboard computer on a big rig as well as in paperwork and records required to be maintained by truck drivers and trucking companies.
With alarming frequency, investigations following accidents involving a commercial truck reveal that a trucking company, or a specific big rig operation, failed to follow established federal trucking regulations. In fact, investigations in the aftermath of a semi-truck demonstrate that a truck company or truck driver may even have circumvented rules and regulations. For example, companies and drivers may have made bogus entries into log books and inspection reports.
Even appropriately maintained paperwork can be helpful in determining what might have contributed to an accident. For example, paperwork might contain warning signs about the condition of a truck prior to an accident, matters which were not acted upon by the company or driver.
Accurate records must also be kept pertaining to the length of time a driver has been on the road at one time. Federal regulations limit the amount of time a driver can operate a big rig before he or she must take a minimum rest period. These records known as log books which document the hours of service regulations, are frequently fudged to cover-up safety violations.
Preservation of Evidence
The vital importance of these records necessitates ensuring that this type of evidence is preserved. Also, the condition of the tractor-trailer can play a role in a wreck.
A trucking company may attempt to quickly repair a semi-truck after an accident in order to prevent an objective, independent investigation of the vehicle. This strategy by a trucking company can also result in the loss of crucial evidence. Moreover, this is another instance when a court order may be needed to protect and preserve valuable evidence.
The nature and extent of evidence associated with a commercial truck accident, and the potential for its loss or destruction, underscores the need to take a proactive stance when it comes to retaining a skilled, experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney.
Call an Award Winning 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney
The first step in the process of seeking full compensation after an injury accident is arranging for an initial consultation, with an 18-wheeler accident lawyer at no charge, to discuss and evaluate your case.
Call us at 281-587-1111.