4 Myths About Semi-Truck Accidents

Truck Drivers Must Often Follow Stricter Rules

1. True or False? Semi-Trucks Must Obey the Same Traffic Laws as Other Vehicles on the Roadway.

FALSE. While it is true that semi-trucks absolutely must obey traffic laws, the traffic laws that they must abide by are often stricter than the laws for other vehicles on the roadway.

For example, the posted speed limits on entrance ramps, exit ramps and curved roadways are posted for passenger vehicles. While some states explicitly require that semis travel below the speed limit on certain roadways—in all situations—semi drivers must use due caution to negotiate curves and ramps as appropriate for the size of their vehicle and the load that they carry. Learn more about New Mexico speed limit standards.

Also, commercial vehicles have a separate, federally regulated, set of laws that they must abide by. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry with the primary mission of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles. There are very specific carrier regulations and driver regulations that must be followed.

2. True or False? Experienced Semi-Truck Drivers Are Able to Slow a Truck Traveling at a High Rate of Speed Quickly.

FALSE. There are several factors that can affect how long it takes to slow or control a truck traveling at a high rate of speed including the weight of the load being carried, the weather conditions, roadway conditions, and traffic conditions—driver experience is not one of these factors. Even experienced drivers must be sure to leave enough room to stop without causing a collision. There are FMSCA standards that regulate brake stopping distances for trucks.

3. True or False? The More Miles a Truck Driver Drives, the More Money He/She Will Make.

FALSE. Though it is true that many drivers are paid per mile driven, they are not necessarily making more money than drivers paid per load or per delivery. The benefit of being paid per mile is that the driver is paid a fixed rate regardless of how long it takes. However, there are FMCSA regulations that limit the number of consecutive hours that can be driven. Driver fatigue is a big problem within the trucking industry.

4. True or False? When a Semi-Truck Is Involved in an Accident, a Device in the Truck Automatically Records the Crash.

FALSE. Most semi-trucks have an onboard event data recorder commonly referred to as a black box. However, black boxes are not required, therefore, not all semi-trucks have them. Black boxes do not necessarily record automatically. Some begin recording only when triggered by crash-like conditions such as sudden acceleration, hard braking, or sharp movement of the steering wheel. Others record continuously on a loop so that only the last few minutes of data is available. Because of the potential black box data, early investigation into an accident is key in semi accident cases. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible will ensure that all valuable data is secured.

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