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Liability for truck accidents

If someone suffers injuries from a crash involving a large truck in New Jersey, things may not be clear cut in terms of liability. While the person driving the truck may be to blame, there are other factors that investigators will consider.

According to Occupational Health and Safety, drivers of commercial trucks must meet a number of requirements before being able to operate trucks of a certain size. This includes instruction surrounding:

Driver wellness – the importance of adequate sleep, proper nutrition on the road and the effects of alcohol and drugs
Service hours – driving limits, time off, log preparation and ways to counteract fatigues
Whistleblower protection – information about how to report safety concerns
Driver qualifications – medical exam, general qualifications and driver responsibilities
Drivers must also receive behind-the-wheel instruction on how to drive specific commercial vehicles. They must also hold a current commercial driver’s license.

If investigators find that the driver is non-compliant in any of the previous requirements, or if aggressive driving caused the accident, there is a good chance the authorities will find the driver to be liable for damages. However, the truck company must also meet certain requirements for vehicle and driver safety.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the first requirements for companies is to implement a screening program before hiring a driver, and they must provide proper training. They also must register each commercial vehicle and perform regular safety inspections. If one or more of these was not done, and if they did not properly repair a mechanical issue that contributed to the accident, the company itself may also face some liability for a crash.


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