Many Texas drivers are uneasy driving in close proximity to semi trucks, and that attitude is not unreasonable. Due to their weight and size, semi trucks pose unique dangers to other vehicles. A recent truck accident in east Austin on Texas 71 is a good illustration.
The accident occurred during the early morning commuter hours. The truck driver was attempting to cross all the traffic lanes when it jack-knifed and tipped over. The truck collided with a passenger vehicle. At least two people were injured. Austin fire fighters were dispatched to clean up a spill following the accident.
When an 18-wheeler accident injures or kills a person in another vehicle, that person or their survivors may have the right to bring a civil lawsuit and recover damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. But investigating and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a truck company and its driver is often much more complicated than pursuing a claim against a passenger vehicle. Semi trucks are subject to an array of state and federal regulations, and an experienced truck accident attorney will seek to determine whether a violation of any of these regulations was a factor in causing the crash. For example, semi trucks must be inspected regularly to ensure that brakes, lights and tires are all in good repair. Rules govern how a load must be safely secured.
Other rules focus on the qualifications of drivers. If the vehicle is over a certain weight, the driver must have a commercial driver's license. State and federal trucking regulations require that an applicant must pass written and road tests before receiving a CDL. Other rules mandate minimum hours of rest per shift, in order to prevent truck driver fatigue. Federal rules also subject interstate drivers to drug and alcohol testing requirements.
All of these regulations are intended to promote public safety. When a semi truck accident results in an injury or death, the attorney for the victim will pore over trucking logs and inspection reports to determine if the wreck was caused by a violation of one or more of these regulations.
Source: statesman.com, "Westbound Texas 71 reopens after crash near 183," Liz Farmer, Aug. 30, 2012