Commercial Vehicle Accidents in Jonesboro: What You Need to Know

Commercial vehicle accidents often have much more devastating effects than a crash between two cars, leading to extensive damage and significant injuries. In Georgia, there are specific regulations that apply to commercial vehicle accidents. A Jonesboro truck accident lawyer can shed more light on the legal stipulations, as well as the consequences of being involved in a commercial vehicle crash.

Georgia’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Standards

The number of commercial vehicle accidents has been increasing across the U.S. According to the National Safety Council, 5,837 commercial trucks were involved in crashes in 2022. That’s an increase of 1.8 percent on an annual basis and of 49 percent in the last 10 years.

Large commercial trucks account for six percent of fatal crashes. Over the course of one year, 120,200 commercial trucks were also involved in crashes that caused injuries.

In Georgia, interstate commercial vehicle drivers have to be familiar with both Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations and state requirements as mandated by the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

For a start, hours of service rules apply to all commercial drivers. Commercial truckers cannot drive more than 11 hours after having 10 consecutive hours off duty. After coming on duty, commercial vehicle drivers are banned from driving beyond the 14th hour. Finally, drivers cannot have more than 60 hours of driving in seven consecutive days to reduce the risk of fatigue and the accidents resulting from it.

Other Provisions

Several other state and federal laws meant to reduce the risk of commercial vehicle crashes include:

  • Commercial drivers need to have an annual DOT physical exam
  • The use of radar detectors is prohibited
  • Proper inspections and vehicle record-keeping are mandated on a regular basis
  • Companies that operate commercial vehicles in Georgia need to carry insurance of at least 100,000 dollars per person or 300,000 dollars per accident
  • FMCSA mandates drug tests in specific circumstances (before a commercial driver is hired, for example)
  • Load checks and making sure the load doesn’t exceed a maximum is also legally mandated

large commercial vehicle can cause catastrophic crashes

Common Causes of Jonesboro Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Several factors increase the likelihood of a commercial vehicle crash occurring. Some of the most common contributing factors include:

  • Fatigue: Even though there are hours of service rules, truck drivers often deal with sleep deprivation and a lot of stress.
  • Blind spots: The annual average of fatalities resulting from blind spot crashes is eight to nine. The weight and size of many commercial trucks contribute to visibility restrictions and dangerous conditions on the road.
  • Distracted driving: This is one of the most prominent contributing factors leading to commercial vehicle crashes. Talking on the phone, texting, or using a gadget like a GPS device can all make a truck driver less focused on the road and likely to make a serious mistake.
  • Aggressive driving: Having tight deadlines, many commercial vehicles are likely to speed or drive aggressively.

Commercial Crash Liability

Whenever a commercial crash occurs, liability will need to be established. That’s where an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer will need to get involved.

Establishing liability in a trucking accident can be somewhat challenging. Most of the time, the driver isn’t the owner of the vehicle or the company. Hence, determining the specific party to be held accountable isn’t as straightforward as it is in other kinds of crashes.

Typically, drivers aren’t financially liable for an accident they’ve caused. The insurance that the company operating the vehicle has will be used to cover damages resulting from the crash.

Company Negligence

The trucking company that employs the driver could be considered negligent whenever it:

  • Does a poor job at truck maintenance, failing to get all equipment in perfect operational condition
  • Commits hours of service violations
  • Has poor hiring practices that don’t vet out incompetent drivers
  • Ignores cargo-related issues and potential vehicle overloading

Driver Liability

In some instances, the driver could also be liable. This happens whenever the vehicle operator:

  • Drives recklessly or aggressively without accounting for the road conditions
  • Makes deliberately negligent choices like having a drink before getting in the truck
  • Uses the truck for personal reasons

The driver is also responsible whenever they are the owner or operator of the truck.

Reach Out to a Jonesboro Trucking Accident Attorney Right Away

As you can see, establishing liability in commercial vehicle accidents can be tricky. That’s why you need a reputable Jonesboro auto accident lawyer in your corner.

Call us today at 770-282-1188 if you have been hurt in a trucking accident or you’re held responsible for such a crash. Schedule your consultation right now to benefit from a case review and our strategic know-how.

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