Study examines truck accidents, tractor-trailer regulations

Readers may recall a certain physics equation involving variables for force, mass and acceleration. Under that law of motion, force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration.

On Pennsylvania’s roads and highways, this equation explains why some motorists might view tractor-trailers as potential menaces. The sheer mass of semi trucks and tractor-trailers means that more force is generated than a smaller passenger vehicle. If a collision occurs, it’s not hard to predict which vehicle will usually fare better.

Lawmakers recognize the extra danger presented by truck accidents. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board recently presented a list of seven safety recommendations about tractor-trailers to the National Highway Safety Administration. The list addressed such issues as blind spots, outdated underride guards, and record keeping suggestions.

Notably, various laws and regulations are also in place to help ensure the safety of roads shared with trucks. Readers probably recognize many of these requirements as common knowledge. For example, commercial truck drivers may need a special driver’s license to operate their vehicles. Employees of a trucking company may also be required to submit to a background check, periodic drug and alcohol testing throughout the course of their employment, and take specialized training.

Special laws also apply to truckers’ vehicles. Drivers may be required to bring their trucks in for periodic inspections or maintenance screenings. There may be weigh stations along a highway. Special insurance may be required for large trucks or tractor-trailers, and there may be regulations pertaining to specific types of cargo that a truck might transport.

For a personal injury attorney, any laws that may apply to a truck driver might be characterized as that driver’s duty of care behind the wheel. When a requirement is ignored or failed, the safety of other drivers on the road may be jeopardized. An attorney can investigate these requirements to help crash victims present a strong personal injury claim.

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