Tractor-trailers provide a vital service. They transport goods and products across the United States, including here in Pennsylvania. As a crossroads of the Northwest region of the country, thousands of semi trucks pass through Western and Central Pennsylvania every day, hauling millions of tons of materials.
Though most of these vehicles pass through the state without incident, sometimes, commercial trucks get into accidents. These huge vehicles can cause terrible damage to smaller cars, trucks and motorcycles. More importantly, they can seriously hurt drivers and passengers.
A law called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act regulates the trucking industry to try to reduce semi truck accidents. Among other things, FMCSA requires trucks be safe for operation on the road, and that drivers obey traffic laws. Drivers must be licensed and trained, and take periodic rest breaks to avoid fatigue-related wrecks.
Nevertheless, these truck crashes are not rare. The Motor Carrier Management Information System typically receives reports of more than 4,000 wrecks involving semis or other commercial vehicles each year. Many of these are due to the truck driver driving while fatigued or otherwise acting negligently.
Sorting out who is responsible for the resulting injuries can be complicated. Besides each driver, there may be other parties involved, like the truck driver’s employer. The employer may have negligently allowed an undertrained driver to use one of its trucks, or failed to keep the vehicle maintained.
A negligent truck driver or employer should be held financially responsible for an injured person’s costs, such as medical bills and lost income.