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Protect Your Rights After A Trucking Or Motorcycle Accident

The fatality rate per 100 miles traveled is almost double for large trucks than for all other vehicles. Are you someone who has been seriously injured by a truck driver? Was a loved one killed by the senseless and careless act of a semi? Are you afraid to go up against a large trucking company? Don’t be. The actions of truck drivers and the motor carriers who employ them are highly regulated in the United States. Read on and become educated. You are entitled to protection and compensation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

In 1935, Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act which authorized the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to regulate interstate trucking. What resulted was the enactment of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) located at 49 CFR § 350-399. Indiana has codified the FMCSR and applies the regulations regardless of whether a carrier is traveling intrastate (within the state) or interstate (across state lines). The purpose of the FMCSR is to stop motor carriers from avoiding liability for serious injuries caused by their truck drivers. The regulations accomplish this goal not only by applying the regulations to independent contractors who are considered under certain circumstances to be “employees” of motor carriers, (§ 390.5), but also by penalizing the misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances by drivers of commercial motor vehicles. (§ 382.101).

Requirements an Employer/ Motor Carrier Must Execute Before and After Hiring a Driver

Section 391.21 of the FMCSR requires an employer to conduct a pre-investigation of every driver it hires which includes but is not limited to obtaining information regarding a potential hire’s driving record and a drug screening.  The employer must also give a potential hire a driving test on the road to ensure he has proper driving skills and must ensure the driver can execute a pre-trip inspection, couple and uncouple units of his truck, and use the trucks’ emergency equipment. (§ 391.31).  After hiring a driver, the employer, among other things, must conduct an annual review of the driver’s driving record for the preceding 12 months (§ 391.25), obtain a report listing the driver’s violations of any laws or ordinances, (§ 391.27), and obtain any reports of accidents or violations involving the driver.  In addition, employers must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles subject to their control and maintain repair records, inspection reports, and driver reports. (§ 396.11).

Safety Requirements for Truck Drivers

A driver must not operate a commercial motor vehicle when his ability or alertness is so impaired, through fatigue, illness of any other cause, making it unsafe for him to drive. (§ 392.3).  A driver must also ensure that his truck has been loaded properly and must re-inspect his load and load securing devices within the first 25 miles after beginning a trip. (§ 392.9).  A driver must use extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle in adverse weather including the reduction of speed in such situations. (§ 392.14)

Motor Carriers and Truck Drivers Must Carry Significant Amounts of Insurance

Finally, the FMCSR requires for-hire private motor carriers traveling in interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds and carrying hazardous substances, hazardous materials, or hazardous waste, to carry either $1,000,000 or $5,000,000 in insurance coverage. For-hire private motor carriers traveling in interstate or foreign commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds and carrying non-hazardous property are required to carry a minimum of seven-hundred fifty-thousand dollars $750,000.   When a driver is hauling a hazardous substance in any quantity across state lines, the law mandates that he have a minimum insurance amount of $1,000,000.  For-hire carriers transporting passengers in a vehicle with a seating capacity of 15 or less requires coverage in the amount of $1,500,000 and for-hire carriers transporting passengers in a vehicle with a seating capacity of 16 or more requires coverage in the amount of $5,000,000.

Motorcycle Collisions And Their Aftermath

Motorcycle accidents may occur less often than automobile accidents, but they often result in much more severe injuries or even death to the rider.  Most often, the person at fault is the driver of the automobile, but many times the police report is unclear or incomplete. Cases involving motorcycle crashes often require an accident reconstructionist to determine who was at fault.  This leads to problems with payment from the insurance carrier(s) for the injured party’s damages.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle collision, call Havel Law today to discuss the facts of your case and your possible claim for recovery.

Call Havel Law Office, PC To Learn More

If you have an injury from a truck or motorcycle accident and believe you may have a claim, I encourage you to contact me at 317-525-7754 for a free consultation.