The devastation that a commercial truck accident can cause is difficult to comprehend until it happens to you or someone you know. For many drivers, large trucks are now so common on our streets and highways that it is easy to get used to their presence and even get a bit too comfortable with them.
Experiencing a car accident involving a commercial truck can be an overwhelming experience, even when you are fortunate enough to survive without permanent or fatal injuries. While all car accidents present some potential complications to resolving an injury claim, truck accidents can prove more complicated than most.
Driving a commercial truck is hard work. There are firm deadlines, a constant need for attentiveness, and life or death consequences if a driver makes a mistake. Many times, employers offer pay incentives for drivers who meet their deadlines. This, in turn, can inspire truck drivers to intentionally violate federal laws that mandate rests, breaks, and sleep time during each trip they take.
Accidents involving large trucks are especially dangerous considering the great disparity in size and weight with the passenger cars and light trucks that are also involved. Many of these collisions between big rigs and smaller vehicles result in fatalities to those occupants of the passenger vehicles.
Since March 2014, the Department of Transportation has been working toward mandating the use of Electronic Control Modules (ECM), or speed limiters, for large commercial trucks traveling over U.S. highways. The proposed ruling has experienced nearly two years of delays but, as of April 28, 2016, the Senate's Appropriations Committee passed a 2017 DOT funding bill that would make that date the deadline for publishing the rules for mandating the use of governors or speed limiters on these trucks. There are expectations, though, for this deadline to change due to the slim chance of legislation clearing Congress and the President signing it into law. Those who are opposed to the mandate have no complaints about the delay, though.
Compared to the average automobile in New Jersey, a semi-truck is a gigantic and lumbering monstrosity that can cause absolute destruction in a collision. Indeed, the typical car does not have a chance when it is involved in a traffic accident with a giant semi-truck. As a result, these kinds of accidents often result in catastrophic injury and death.
It's been over a year since the devastating accident that seriously injured actor/comedian Tracy Morgan and several others and killed another comedian, James McNair. The group was traveling home from a Delaware performance when a Walmart tractor-trailer crashed into their limousine van on the New Jersey Turnpike. The van then struck several other vehicles before rolling over.