Tractor trailers and commercial trucks are the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road. They can cause devastating damage and injuries in accidents with small cars. Federal regulations provide safety standards that trucking companies and truck drivers must follow to reduce the risk of accidents.

However, truck drivers and transport companies sometimes disregard trucking regulations and cause crashes as a result.

The Sam & Ash Injury Law attorneys understand the consequences of a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence. You may face mounting medical bills and missed work if your injuries are serious. Our attorneys can help you seek accountability. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation with a dedicated truck accident lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada.

trucking regulations

Where Do Most Truck Accidents Occur?

According to the National Safety Council, 54 percent of fatal truck accidents occurred in rural areas, and 73 percent occurred on non-interstate roadways.

You can learn how to avoid a truck accident by understanding why crashes occur. The most common truck accident causes include:

  • Distracted driving – Operating a commercial truck requires focus. Any distraction can cause a trucker to fail to recognize dangerous road conditions, a car merging into their lane, a changing traffic signal, or a car braking ahead.
  • Unsafe cargo loads – Overloading a commercial truck or improperly securing cargo can create an unstable load. Cargo may shift in transit and throw the entire vehicle off-balance, causing the truck driver to lose control.
  • Fatigued or drowsy driving – Fatigue can impair any driver’s abilities and slow recognition of high hazards. Federal hours of service rules limit the number of hours that commercial truck drivers can spend driving each day and week and require mandatory rest breaks. Unfortunately, some truck drivers disregard the rules and drive while dangerously fatigued. A drowsy truck driver poses a risk to everyone on the highway.
  • Poor truck maintenance – Truck drivers must inspect their vehicles regularly. Checking for defective parts is essential to ensure the truck remains mechanically sound. Skipping inspections or ignoring potential problems increases the risk of a mechanical malfunction contributing to an accident.
  • Speeding and other reckless behaviors – Exceeding the speed limit and driving too fast for traffic conditions endangers the truck driver and everyone around them. In addition, high-speed accidents can be fatal due to the impact involved when an 80,000-pound truck collides with a smaller vehicle.
  • Impaired driving – A truck driver may be impaired by alcohol or drugs, including over-the-counter medications that cause drowsiness. Any impairment can affect driving abilities, slow reaction times, and contribute to accidents. Truck drivers who drive while impaired should be held financially accountable for the harm they cause.
  • Inadequate experience and training – Truckers need the training and certifications to drive commercial trucks. Operating certain types of trucks, such as tanker trucks, requires additional training and certification. An inexperienced driver may lack the hands-on experience to anticipate certain hazards.

Trucking Regulations That Help Prevent Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces numerous regulations for truck safety.

Hours of Service

Since truck driver fatigue is a common problem, the hours of service regulations limit the number of hours truck drivers can drive during each shift and each work week. The maximum driving limit is eleven hours after ten consecutive hours off duty. They also cannot drive past the fourteenth straight hour after spending ten consecutive hours off duty.

Training for Commercial Drivers

The FMCSA outlines the training requirements for entry-level truck drivers. Entry-level driver training (ELDT) is for anyone seeking a commercial driver’s license, including:

  • First-time Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • First-time passenger (P), school bus (S), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement
  • Upgrade for an existing Class A or B CDL

Trucking companies should obtain the motor vehicle records of all commercial drivers who drive for the company and review the records regularly. Truck drivers with a lengthy record of traffic infractions and semi-truck accidents present a liability for their employer.

Inspections, Maintenance, and Repairs

Vehicle maintenance is critical to ensure every commercial truck is in working condition. Every motor carrier and employee must inspect, repair, and maintain the vehicles they control. That includes all accessories and parts, such as:

  • Axles and attaching parts
  • Frame and assemblies
  • Steering systems
  • Suspensions systems
  • Wheels and rims

Better Safety Technology

Cutting-edge technology provides truck drivers with visual and audible alerts to help them avoid crashes. For example, with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), truck drivers can use features such as:

  • Lane-keeping assistance – Lane-keeping assistance centers the truck in the lane with minimal driver effort.
  • Active steering – Active steering improves safety and reduces fatigue with micro-steering technology. The feature adjusts the steering wheel slightly under specific circumstances.
  • Blind spot warnings – Tractor-trailers have large blind spots on all sides. Blind spot warning detectors warn truck drivers when they attempt to merge into a lane occupied by a vehicle that they cannot see in the mirror.
  • Automatic wiper blades, headlights, and high beams – Environmental factors such as rain and lighting changes trigger sensors that automatically adjust or turn off the headlights and wipers.
  • Adaptive cruise control – The adaptive cruise control feature maintains a consistent distance and speed between the truck and other vehicles by monitoring the vehicles ahead.

Advances in Lighting

The manufacturer Truck-Lite improved truck lighting by introducing a sealed lamp in 1991 to tackle bulb failure problems. The innovative development significantly decreased the risk of bulb damage by keeping liquids and chemicals out of the lamp housing. After working with the United States military to create headlights for the military market, Truck-Lite started working on military-grade LED technology for the commercial vehicle market. Switching to LED lighting improves energy efficiency, visibility, safety, and durability.

Practice Area Image

How Can Truck Accidents Be Prevented?

You can mitigate the risk of a trucking accident by following basic safety tips, including:

  • Pass with caution – You must pay attention and pass large trucks carefully. You should never travel in the blind spot beside a truck longer than necessary to pass. Use your turn signal to enter the left lane, increase your speed if it is safe, and wait until you can see the truck’s headlights in your rearview mirror before merging in front of the truck. Passing on the right side is dangerous and can lead to a side-swipe collision. Truck drivers are not expecting vehicles to pass on the right side.
  • Don’t get distracted – You should never allow distractions to take your focus away from driving and paying attention to surrounding traffic. Traffic might stop unexpectedly, giving you seconds to brake. Distracted, you could slam into a truck ahead of you.
  • Provide clear signals – You must let others know about your intended actions. For example, use your turn signal whenever you plan to turn, merge, or change lanes. Truck drivers have a limited field of vision. Using your turn signal to show your intentions, you allow the trucker to adjust their speed or move out of your way.
  • Stay away from blind spots – The blind spots on a commercial truck are larger than blind spots on automobiles. A trucker can’t see you if you drive within 20 feet in front or 30 feet behind the truck. They also can’t see you if you travel directly alongside the trailer. You are in danger when located in a truck’s blind spots, so avoid lingering beside an 18-wheeler for longer than necessary to pass.
  • Lower your high beams – Lower your bright lights near a large truck. Bright headlights reflect off the side view mirrors and reduce a truck driver’s ability to see.
  • Don’t tailgate – Tailgating is dangerous in any situation. Maintaining a safe distance between your vehicle and a truck in front of you is crucial. If the truck driver must slow down or stop suddenly, you likely won’t have enough time to bring your car to a complete stop. As a result, you could crash into the back of the trailer, leading to an underride accident. When driving behind a large truck, give yourself plenty of space if you must stop suddenly.
  • Stay clear of turning trucks – Truck drivers often swing wide to execute a right or left turn. Because of their length, trucks need extra space to avoid hitting the curb or ending up in the wrong lane. If you see a trucker use their turn signal, slow down and allow them space to complete the turn before proceeding.
Sam and Ash Image

What To Expect From a Truck Accident Lawyer in Las Vegas, NV

At Sam & Ash Injury Law, we get to know our clients and work hard to achieve their desired outcomes. When you hire Sam & Ash Injury Law after being injured in a truck crash in Las Vegas, our personal injury attorneys will handle the dealings with the trucking company and insurance companies so you can focus on healing. We can handle the accident investigation, determine liability, and gather evidence to support your claim. We believe you deserve What’s Right.

Call or contact us online for a free consultation if you sustained injuries in a truck accident due to someone else’s negligence. We will fight for the full compensation and justice you deserve.

Get Your Free Case Review