Each day, for-profit trucking companies send out 80,000-pound, 80-foot-long tractor-trailers to drive hundreds of miles on the same highways that you and I use. Whether you call them tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, or semi-trucks, they can’t stop as fast as most vehicles, can’t turn as quickly, and are sometimes on the road for 10 hours or more per day. Our country gives truck companies the privilege of using public highways to make a profit, but that privilege comes with responsibility: truck companies must not endanger private citizens. Unfortunately, oftentimes these large vehicles cause serious accidents which lead to injury. Hiring a knowledgeable and dedicated truck accident lawyer who understands how truck companies think and how to evaluate and present a truck accident injury to a jury is important.
The truck driver’s responsibility to follow federal rules applies whether the truck is stopped or on the move. Stopped trucks must not be parked in places that endanger other drivers or passengers, and under no circumstances can stopped trucks be allowed to roll away, creating a “runaway truck” that could strike other cars or people. Trucks on the move must remain under control and at a safe speed. The hazards of an out-of-control truck are just too great. A truck accident lawyer understands the consequences of a truck accident and the serious injuries that a truck accident brings.
Federal and state laws confirm the responsibility of trucking companies. For instance, drivers of tractor-trailers must keep accurate logbooks confirming that the driver has not been driving too long and has had adequate rest. 49 C.F.R. § 398.6. Truck drivers must regularly inspect their trucks, must keep the trucks from rolling away out of control while they’re being inspected, and must not park their trucks in ways that put other people in danger. See 49 C.F.R. § 396.3. Trucking companies have a legal duty to hire honest, competent drivers and keep their trucks in good working order. Coe v. Carroll & Carroll, Inc., 308 Ga. App. 777, 785-86 (2011); Fouts v. Builders Transport, Inc., 222 Ga. App. 568, 570 (1996). Clearly, truck drivers must not consume alcohol or other intoxicating substances on the job. 49 C.F.R. § 382.205. Again, hiring a knowledgable and smart truck accident lawyer who understands the rules, the justice system, and the way to present a truck accident injury to a jury is important.