Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

Do truck operators owe an extra duty of care to other drivers?

Across the nation, accidents involving large trucks, or those with a gross weight over 10,000 pounds, comprise about 10 percent of accidents. However, the massive forces generated by the sheer size of such large trucks often translate into serious or catastrophic injuries for occupants in the other vehicles. Indeed, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash data indicates that over two-thirds of those injured or killed after a truck accident were occupants in the other vehicles.

The force generated by the massive size of trucks also means they require more distance to come to a stop. In a recent example, a truck accident on the Bay Bridge brought all traffic on the eastbound lanes to a halt when the truck flipped on its side. The crash involved three vehicles and created huge delays along Route 50, which is a vital route for many commuters on the East Coast, including travelers to the New Jersey Shore. 

Although every driver has an obligation to obey traffic signals and observer traffic flow, a commercial truck driver must also abide by federal safety regulations and heed additional considerations. Some of these regulations apply to the commercial trucking company, and some apply mutually to employer and employee, or the commercial truck driver.  

For example, improperly loading a truck might impede its braking ability and/or make it more susceptible to flipping over. Commercial trucks must also be maintained, typically via routinely scheduled inspections of a truck’s brakes, tires, steering mechanisms, lights, and other checklist items. If negligence is suspected, a personal injury law firm can help a crash victim prepare a strong claim.

Source:  WBAL-TV, “Bay Bridge reopens after multi-vehicle accident,” Oct. 23, 2015

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