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Trucking Accidents

Improperly Parked Trucks: A Common Hazard on American Roadways

 

We have seen in our practice the accident report on a wreck with a truck may not provide an accurate picture of what caused the accident. We have represented people nationwide where parked semi-trucks have been responsible for our clients’.  Many times this liability is not even considered or mentioned in the accident report.

But an experienced truck accident litigation firm will know that during the initial investigation, this dangerous act can be uncovered if it played a role in the wreck. Without this type of investigation, victims and their families may not know they have legal rights and a potential claim to pursue against the truck driver and his or her employer.

Many times a truck driver will park a tractor-trailer s/he is driving for an employer on the shoulder of the highway. Sometimes the careless placement of a truck, like on the shoulder of a major highway and close to an intersection, can create dangerous sight obstructions for motorists.

Although this type of parking may be prohibited by local law or ordinance, it is unfortunately not strictly forbidden by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), the rules that truckers and truck companies across the country must follow. However, that silence on the issue does not mean this type of activity is not dangerous. More importantly, such silence does not preclude this activity from being a basis for recovery.

It is more than negligence, it is clearly recklessness, which becomes egregious when it serves no purpose except to provide convenience to the driver. In addition, although the FMCSR doesn’t strictly prohibit this activity, this regulatory scheme dictates the actions a driver must take when stopping a truck on the shoulder or a roadway.

For example, 49 CFR 392.22 of the FMCSA regulations states that when a commercial vehicle is stopped on the traveled portion of a highway or the shoulder, the driver must:

  • Immediately activate the vehicular warning signal flashers and continue such use until warning devices are placed by the driver.
  • Place warning devices, such as flares or reflective triangles, around the vehicle to enhance other driver’s recognition of the stopped truck as a hazard, which must be done as soon as possible (and at least within 10 minutes) after stopping.

Further, because of the unique dangers posed by large trucks parked along the side of roadways, many trucking companies have adopted policies that specifically forbid such activity. Unfortunately, this trucking company failed to adopt such a policy, which served as an additional basis for recovery out of this tragic accident.

Contact Langdon & Emison

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a crash, our law firm will thoroughly investigate an accident to determine all potential causes. If a parked truck is involved, we will determine why the truck driver stopped; the location of the stopped truck; and if the truck driver followed applicable safety guidelines. If we find in our initial investigation that you have a claim, we will vigorously pursue justice on your behalf and hold the truck driver and trucking company responsible for the injury to or death of your loved one.