Louisiana Truck Accident Attorney
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government body in charge of regulating commercial motor vehicles (CMV), which include tractor trailers. Among the thousands of regulations that apply to CMV are hours-of-service regulations (HOS), which place limits on when and how long drivers of CMV are allowed to drive. The FMCSA bases these regulations on scientific data that determines the amount of rest a truck driver should have to safely operate their vehicle. They work in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and the National Institute for Occupational Safety. The goal of HOS regulations is to protect drivers and motorists from truck accidents that result from fatigue.
To ensure compliance with the HOS regulations many commercial vehicles and 18 wheelers are required to have Electronic Logging Devices installed to assist investigating officers determine the hours of operation of any given vehicle. These devices are triggered when the engine is running. They can log how far it has traveled, when it’s in motion, how far it has been driven consecutively and how long the truck was in operation mode. The stored information can be retrieved and used to learn if the driver has complied with the HOS regulations.
Drug and Alcohol Testing: After an accident in which an injury is reported or the commercial driver got a ticket he must submit to alcohol and drug testing to determine if he was under the influence of any substance that may have been a factor in causing the accident. The alcohol test must be given by the employer or his designate within 8 hours of the incident. A drug test must be administered within 32 hours of the incident.
There are weight and size restrictions as well as regulations for CMV carrying hazardous material. The facts of a particular accident will govern which of these regulations apply to the given situation. An experienced attorney will be able to navigate through these provisions to uncover which, if any, are applicable.
Many tractor trailer accidents are quite routine and are handled by our Firm daily. However, some are not as run of the mill as a mere illegal lane change or rear end collision. For example, the I-55 massive pileup near Manchac, Louisiana in October 2023 due to a so-called “super-fog” caused by a mix of smoke and fog. This series of collisions involved over 170 vehicles resulting in 8 deaths and counting. Because of the atmospheric conditions and very poor visibility many of the drivers involved were driving at excessive rates of speed, following too closely to the vehicle in front of them and failing to remain vigilant.
Many of the tractor trailers involved were carrying Hazardous Material, which undoubtedly was a contributing factor as to the severity of this catastrophic event. It will take years to determine who are the blameworthy individuals in causing these series of wrecks. Litigation will obviously become necessary to sort out the facts. Some of the CMV drivers may not have complied with the HOS regulations contributing to the cause of these incidents, others may not have had the proper licensing to carry the loads they were carrying and still others may have been carrying weight that far exceed the capacity restrictions. All these factors may take litigation to uncover what truly happened that fateful day.
We, at the Cardone Law Firm, have handled massive pileup litigation in our years of experience managing fog related cases in southern Louisiana. Sadly, fog is a common occurrence in our part of the State. We have years of litigating such cases.