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Tractor Trailer Crash

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Tractor Trailer Crash Cases

Brien Roche

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Tractor Trailer Crash in Virginia

One person was killed on September 28, 2020 in a tractor-trailer crash.  The crash occurred shortly after 6:00 a.m.  The tractor trailer ran off the road.  The crash occurred at a ramp along the northbound side of the Fairfax County Parkway and Interstate 66 West.  

The tractor-trailer hit the guardrail, overturned and went down an embankment.  Police indicated that one person died but did not release the information about that person.

Brien Roche is an experienced truck accident lawyer.  He serves all of Northern Virginia. This includes Fairfax, McLean, Vienna, Burke, Annandale, Falls Church. Also Reston, Centreville, Manassas, Alexandria, Herndon, Arlington, and Loudoun County. If you have been involved in a truck accident contact us for a free consult.

Truck accident lawsuits are hard fought and complex. Our roadways are loaded with large trucks. They are called 18-wheelers. These are mammoth vehicles. They occupy their entire lane. They are driven by experienced drivers. However these drivers make mistakes.

Investigating The Tractor Trailer Crash

In investigating these crashes, aside from focusing on the causes above, consider the following:

Motor Carrier Issues

  • Confirm the trucking company is a motor carrier engaged in interstate commerce.
  • Go online to www.ai.volpe.dot.gov which is a website maintained by the U.S. that provides helpful info.
  • Study the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCS) Regulations. Also the International Fuel Tax Agreement.  The FMCS Regs require that drivers record duty status for a 24 hour period.  Furthermore compare these types of logs with fuel receipts, bills of lading, delivery manifests, GPS tracking info and accounting records. This will tell you where the driver was at any time. They will show for how many hours he has been on the road.  Most motor carriers have a license issued pursuant to the International Fuel Tax Agreement.  This statute requires quarterly reports. They show fuel receipts.  Likewise this will show you the extent of driving during any particular period.
  • The FMCS Regs have adopted a model CDL manual.  Gather books used by truck driver schools or defensive driving schools as useful sources of info.

Insurance

  • Get copies of all of the policies of insurance. They apply to the tractor, the trailer, the trucking company, their independent contractors, the shipper and the company loading the truck. In addition U.S. law requires the issuance of a MCS-90 Form. It provides unconditional coverage to the public.  This is attached to the primary policy. Therefore the insurer must pay any final judgment. This is whether or not each motor vehicle is described in the policy. The purpose is to provide coverage where the underlying policy does not. In addition it voids lack of notice or cooperation as a defense.   However it only applies to interstate motor carriers.  The minimum coverage is $750,000.  If the tractor and trailer are separately owned then separate policies apply.
  • The company loading the truck may be an insured under the MCS-90 even though not named on the policy.
  • Check the FMCSA’s Analysis and Information website for insurance info.
  • Ask for admissions that the truck company is a motor carrier and that it engages in interstate commerce.
  • Run a Dunn and Bradstreet report

Electronic Data

  • The black box logs offer a wealth of info. This data must be downloaded.
  • There is other electronically stored info. For instance computer generated bills of lading or fuel receipts. Also other types of electronic communication between driver and dispatcher.
  • Identify anything within the cab that is a source of info. This includes cell phones, texting devices or videos. Also freight tracking equipment and any satellite based navigation or communication system. All of those need to be identified. Finally the data must be extracted.
  • When a truck accident occurs the insurance carrier and its lawyers are promptly on the case. However the plaintiff takes time to retain counsel. That lapse is critical. Many important records dealing with the truck accident only need to be retained for six months. Therefore get a letter out to the trucking company requesting that they preserve all records and data relating to this crash. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Intrastate

  • If the truck only operates intrastate, each state has adopted most of the of the U.S. regs.
  • Most of these vehicles weigh over 10,000 lbs. They are commercial motor vehicles if being used for that purpose.  However a landscape pickup truck pulling trailers could qualify.  Although these drivers may not be required to have a CDL, most of the other trucking safety rules apply.

Tractor Trailer Crash Driver Status

  • The driver in many cases is an independent contractor. That does not mean he is not an employee.  Independent contractor is included within the definition of employee if the truck is a commercial motor vehicle.  Likewise owners or operators may be employees. See another page on this site for a look at independent contractor status.

Systemic Issues

  • Look for systemic failures within the company.

The Scene and the Truck

  • Visit the scene with a trucking expert and/or reconstruction expert. You may need an investigator. She can locate any witnesses not identified on the police report.

Tractor Trailer Crash Investigation Made Easier

Truck accident investigation is easier with the advent of the Compliance Safety Accountability Program by the FMCS Administration. The data from CSA must be requested through FOIA. This is designed to identify potentially high risk trucking companies. Also the system uses a number of different factors to provide a rating. Those are:

  • safety of the driver
  • driver fatigue
  • driver fitness
  • use of drugs or alcohol
  • vehicle maintenance
  • cargo problems
  • number of reported crashes

However make sure the data you have relates to the company you are dealing with. When a company changes hands it receives a new Department of Transportation number.

In addition, the U.S. has implemented a pre-employment screening program. This is open to carriers relating to potential hires. If the defendant uses that system, if applicable, it will help.

Finally, certain carriers that have been non-compliant with log requirements must have an electronic on-board recorder. These recorders are less susceptible to manipulation. Furthermore in reviewing any data from these recorders be aware of any audits of this equipment. These are conducted so as to identify any changes to the log. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Truck Accident Standards

Truck accident standards are in the FMCS regs. However those regs are not the only source of standards.  In adition there are industry standards and also standards in the CDL manual.

There are some basic industry standards. Drivers must approach every intersection assuming that cross traffic may not obey the signals. Also drivers must not start a left turn until there is enough time for the rear of their vehicle to clear the intersection without forcing opposing drivers to slow down. Furthermore drivers have a duty of extreme caution when there is bad weather. They must reduce their speed by one-third (1/3).  Those basic rules can be a tremendous help in any truck accident case.  The FMCS Regs carry the force of law.  Industry standards do not.

CDL Manual

The CDL manual is an excellent source of standards. The FMCS regs require every state to provide a CDL manual. It must contain the basic info and skills that drivers need.  The manual states that drivers need to look 12 to 15 seconds ahead. In addition the CDL manual for the state of the accident and also the CDL manual for the state where the driver is licensed can be used.  Although they may be the same, there may be some slight differences.  

Teaching Material

Another source of standards is the material that the industry uses to teach new drivers. Also these are used to refresh experienced drivers in their various driving schools.  

Preventability Manuals

In addition many companies maintain what are called preventability manuals. They assess whether their drivers acted reasonably in a crash.  There are three commonly used manuals. They are published by the American Trucking Association, the National Safety Council and the Federal Highway Authority.   Also these can be good sources of truck accident standards.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Contacts For Tractor Trailer Crash

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also for more information on truck accidents see the pages on Wikipedia. Also see the other pages on this site.

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Tractor Trailer Crash

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Tractor Trailer Crash Cases

Brien Roche

View Post

Tractor Trailer Crash in Virginia

One person was killed on September 28, 2020 in a tractor-trailer crash.  The crash occurred shortly after 6:00 a.m.  The tractor trailer ran off the road.  The crash occurred at a ramp along the northbound side of the Fairfax County Parkway and Interstate 66 West.  

The tractor-trailer hit the guardrail, overturned and went down an embankment.  Police indicated that one person died but did not release the information about that person.

Brien Roche is an experienced truck accident lawyer.  He serves all of Northern Virginia. This includes Fairfax, McLean, Vienna, Burke, Annandale, Falls Church. Also Reston, Centreville, Manassas, Alexandria, Herndon, Arlington, and Loudoun County. If you have been involved in a truck accident contact us for a free consult.

Truck accident lawsuits are hard fought and complex. Our roadways are loaded with large trucks. They are called 18-wheelers. These are mammoth vehicles. They occupy their entire lane. They are driven by experienced drivers. However these drivers make mistakes.

Investigating The Tractor Trailer Crash

In investigating these crashes, aside from focusing on the causes above, consider the following:

Motor Carrier Issues

  • Confirm the trucking company is a motor carrier engaged in interstate commerce.
  • Go online to www.ai.volpe.dot.gov which is a website maintained by the U.S. that provides helpful info.
  • Study the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCS) Regulations. Also the International Fuel Tax Agreement.  The FMCS Regs require that drivers record duty status for a 24 hour period.  Furthermore compare these types of logs with fuel receipts, bills of lading, delivery manifests, GPS tracking info and accounting records. This will tell you where the driver was at any time. They will show for how many hours he has been on the road.  Most motor carriers have a license issued pursuant to the International Fuel Tax Agreement.  This statute requires quarterly reports. They show fuel receipts.  Likewise this will show you the extent of driving during any particular period.
  • The FMCS Regs have adopted a model CDL manual.  Gather books used by truck driver schools or defensive driving schools as useful sources of info.

Insurance

  • Get copies of all of the policies of insurance. They apply to the tractor, the trailer, the trucking company, their independent contractors, the shipper and the company loading the truck. In addition U.S. law requires the issuance of a MCS-90 Form. It provides unconditional coverage to the public.  This is attached to the primary policy. Therefore the insurer must pay any final judgment. This is whether or not each motor vehicle is described in the policy. The purpose is to provide coverage where the underlying policy does not. In addition it voids lack of notice or cooperation as a defense.   However it only applies to interstate motor carriers.  The minimum coverage is $750,000.  If the tractor and trailer are separately owned then separate policies apply.
  • The company loading the truck may be an insured under the MCS-90 even though not named on the policy.
  • Check the FMCSA’s Analysis and Information website for insurance info.
  • Ask for admissions that the truck company is a motor carrier and that it engages in interstate commerce.
  • Run a Dunn and Bradstreet report

Electronic Data

  • The black box logs offer a wealth of info. This data must be downloaded.
  • There is other electronically stored info. For instance computer generated bills of lading or fuel receipts. Also other types of electronic communication between driver and dispatcher.
  • Identify anything within the cab that is a source of info. This includes cell phones, texting devices or videos. Also freight tracking equipment and any satellite based navigation or communication system. All of those need to be identified. Finally the data must be extracted.
  • When a truck accident occurs the insurance carrier and its lawyers are promptly on the case. However the plaintiff takes time to retain counsel. That lapse is critical. Many important records dealing with the truck accident only need to be retained for six months. Therefore get a letter out to the trucking company requesting that they preserve all records and data relating to this crash. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Intrastate

  • If the truck only operates intrastate, each state has adopted most of the of the U.S. regs.
  • Most of these vehicles weigh over 10,000 lbs. They are commercial motor vehicles if being used for that purpose.  However a landscape pickup truck pulling trailers could qualify.  Although these drivers may not be required to have a CDL, most of the other trucking safety rules apply.

Tractor Trailer Crash Driver Status

  • The driver in many cases is an independent contractor. That does not mean he is not an employee.  Independent contractor is included within the definition of employee if the truck is a commercial motor vehicle.  Likewise owners or operators may be employees. See another page on this site for a look at independent contractor status.

Systemic Issues

  • Look for systemic failures within the company.

The Scene and the Truck

  • Visit the scene with a trucking expert and/or reconstruction expert. You may need an investigator. She can locate any witnesses not identified on the police report.

Tractor Trailer Crash Investigation Made Easier

Truck accident investigation is easier with the advent of the Compliance Safety Accountability Program by the FMCS Administration. The data from CSA must be requested through FOIA. This is designed to identify potentially high risk trucking companies. Also the system uses a number of different factors to provide a rating. Those are:

  • safety of the driver
  • driver fatigue
  • driver fitness
  • use of drugs or alcohol
  • vehicle maintenance
  • cargo problems
  • number of reported crashes

However make sure the data you have relates to the company you are dealing with. When a company changes hands it receives a new Department of Transportation number.

In addition, the U.S. has implemented a pre-employment screening program. This is open to carriers relating to potential hires. If the defendant uses that system, if applicable, it will help.

Finally, certain carriers that have been non-compliant with log requirements must have an electronic on-board recorder. These recorders are less susceptible to manipulation. Furthermore in reviewing any data from these recorders be aware of any audits of this equipment. These are conducted so as to identify any changes to the log. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Truck Accident Standards

Truck accident standards are in the FMCS regs. However those regs are not the only source of standards.  In adition there are industry standards and also standards in the CDL manual.

There are some basic industry standards. Drivers must approach every intersection assuming that cross traffic may not obey the signals. Also drivers must not start a left turn until there is enough time for the rear of their vehicle to clear the intersection without forcing opposing drivers to slow down. Furthermore drivers have a duty of extreme caution when there is bad weather. They must reduce their speed by one-third (1/3).  Those basic rules can be a tremendous help in any truck accident case.  The FMCS Regs carry the force of law.  Industry standards do not.

CDL Manual

The CDL manual is an excellent source of standards. The FMCS regs require every state to provide a CDL manual. It must contain the basic info and skills that drivers need.  The manual states that drivers need to look 12 to 15 seconds ahead. In addition the CDL manual for the state of the accident and also the CDL manual for the state where the driver is licensed can be used.  Although they may be the same, there may be some slight differences.  

Teaching Material

Another source of standards is the material that the industry uses to teach new drivers. Also these are used to refresh experienced drivers in their various driving schools.  

Preventability Manuals

In addition many companies maintain what are called preventability manuals. They assess whether their drivers acted reasonably in a crash.  There are three commonly used manuals. They are published by the American Trucking Association, the National Safety Council and the Federal Highway Authority.   Also these can be good sources of truck accident standards.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Contacts For Tractor Trailer Crash

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also for more information on truck accidents see the pages on Wikipedia. Also see the other pages on this site.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation