Burlington Truck Accident Attorney
Massachusetts regulates commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in accordance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines. The US Congress implemented a Unified Carrier Registration Act, which creates uniformity that outlines registration, identification, and insurance standards. Commercial motor vehicles are not considered private passenger vehicles. CMV’s have an overall gross weight in excess of 10,000 pounds, have five or more wheels, transports hazardous material, or several other factors. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) handles local enforcement of federal laws which govern the industry. Operation of these vehicles requires a commercial driver’s license.
CMV’s have tremendous size and weight making crashes that they are involved in uniquely dangerous. FMCSA regulates the necessary minimums required for vehicle liability insurance, which currently requires CMV minimum liability coverage of $750,000. There are further additional limitations of coverage for those transporting large volumes of passengers, hazardous materials, and specified types of cargo. Each state will require that vehicles have filed a Uniform Motor Carrier Certificate of Insurance with the individual state authority.
Those with a commercial driver’s license must meet a rigid set of requirements and knowledge which includes:
- Must be 21 years of age (18 for intrastate).
- Fit and able to safely handle vehicle cargo.
- Successfully pass a driver road test.
- Pass an industry specific medical examination, which is renewed every two years.
- Complete a knowledge and safety test exam with an 80% threshold for passage.
The law has a set of regulations that applies to the number of hours that a driver may operate a commercial motor vehicle. These laws are designed to limit the possibility that excessively fatigued drivers are operating the vehicles as follows:
- 11 and 14 Hour Limits: Generally these are associated as being "daily" limits. A driver may actually drive for a maximum of 11 hours within a window of time of 14 hours.
- 7 Day/60 Hours and 8 Day/70 Hour Limits: Commonly known as "weekly" limits for driving. Those drivers based on 7 or 8 day work schedules must not exceed 60 or 70 hours work limits respectively. When "restarting" a new weekly hour cycle, the driver must have 34 consecutive hours off from work.
The Department of Public Safety and the state-assigned enforcement entities may investigate accidents involving a CMV. In addition, they may request insurance verification, as well as inspections of records, facilities and vehicles as needed.
The driver hour restrictions require that all driving activity is tracked, or logged. Traditionally each driver maintained their own written "log book" to track and calculate their activity. In efforts to allow for greater transparency and accuracy of this data, a federal plan is being put into place to have all such data managed in an electronic format. Electronic log devices (ELD) implementation is expected to create an overall safer working environment and track records of duty status (RODS).
- Those who are currently using a manual documentation system must transition to an ELD by a December 2017 deadline.
- Individuals using other form of onboard recording device must convert to full ELD tracking by a December 2019 deadline.
With the drafting of the new regulation, development by makers of ELD is further evolving. Many ELD systems are capable of being used with a smartphone or other handheld device. The majority of the current systems are portable, yet able to be mounted within a fixed point that a driver can see while operating. The reporting data generated by the systems must be stored for a period of 6 months. Some commercial vehicles have what are loosely referred to as "black-box" devices that are installed. These recorders more commonly associated with aircrafts, usually are capable of documenting GPS location as well as vehicle speed information. The transition to electronic is likely to encounter some initial difficulties with compatibility and other technical concerns; however, ultimately will serve to better contribute to the overall safety of CMV operation.
The size of semi-trucks means that even a relatively minor act of negligence on the part of a truck driver can lead to a serious accident and life-changing injuries for the victim. Commercial truck accidents, including jackknife, runaway trailer, and underride accidents, often result in brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, and in extreme cases, wrongful death.
From our locations in Boston, Methuen, and Burlington, our team at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. has built a reputation and a record for our success in representing victims of commercial truck collisions. We understand that filing a lawsuit may seem like the last thing on your mind after an accident, but it is important that you take legal action as quickly as possible.
Medical expenses and vehicle damage aren’t the only concerns of truck accident victims. Permanent injury, lost income and an incapacity for future work can cast a long shadow over the lives of victims and their families. Our goal is to thoroughly review your circumstances and pursue the compensation that you need and may be entitled to.
In most cases, commercial truck drivers and their employers provide an invaluable service by transporting our goods while obeying the rules of the road and respecting other motorists’ rights to safety. However, there are certain rules that truck drivers must follow to do their job properly and when they fail to do so it can lead to serious accidents. A competent Burlington car accident lawyer needs to be able to dig deep to learn about the cause of the collision. We have the experience not only to do this, but also to illuminate these causes in court and hold negligent parties and their insurers accountable for avoidable mistakes.
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Improper lane change
- Poor vehicle maintenance
To better prove accident claims in court and to stubborn insurance companies, our Boston truck accident lawyer utilizes all of the resources available, including experts in accident reconstruction, photographers, and actuaries. Our established network of contacts helps us get the best outcomes.
Please call us today at (781) 262-3338 to schedule a free consultation with a Burlington truck accident attorney.
- How the Hours of Service Impact Trucking Accidents
- Do Truck Drivers Have to Follow Special Rules on the Road?
- How to Avoid a Truck’s Blind Spots
- Electronic Logging Devices - FMCSA
- Massachusetts Department of Transportation