“Matthew Fleishman is a consummate professional and gentleman. His skills are clearly reflected in the positive results he produced. Moreover, he shows keen insight into the human element, keeping me informed of his progress and important events. A true advocate, Mr. Fleishman listens carefully, offers expert opinion, presents clear options and works tirelessly. I would surely use him again and recommend him highly.”
Chuck Cooper (Concord, NC)
NC car accidents of any size can be painful life changing events. However, when you have a car versus a tractor trailer usually the injuries can be much more severe. As such, to protect people there are specific laws in North Carolina that govern the use of tractor trailers. These rules regulate the vehicles themselves and the individuals who drive them.
One of the most important things to do when you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer is contact a NC personal injury lawyer who can begin investigating and reconstructing the accident. Typically, drivers of tractor trailers are instructed to contact an emergency response team which usually contains someone from their liability insurance. Re-constructionists and engineers are sent to the scene immediately in the hopes clearing the company of any liability.
Not only is it important to examine the scene of an accident but it is equally important to examine the tractor trailer. Most modern tractors have sophisticated electronic devices, similar to “black boxes” in airplanes. These devises contain numerous bits of data including speed, time, braking forces, etc. The trucking companies are not required by any law to hold onto this data for a specific period of time. Contacting a trained Charlotte, NC personal injury attorney from Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC as soon as possible will help ensure this data is secured and available for your case.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
When prosecuting a trucking accident in NC our lawyers will look into all aspects of the companies employment practices. The FMCSR govern the hiring process and requirements, annual safety reviews on the drivers, Inspection and Maintenance requirements for the tractors and trailers, 4) the number of hours the driver can safely drive, 5) alcohol and drug use testing, 6) what safety equipment and procedures to use in the event of a break down and 7) how long the trucking company must retain their records.
If the company is in violation of the federal regulations it could significantly improve the chances of successful litigation, especialy in disputed cases. An examination of each requirement is the best practice for a NC tractor trailer attorney.
I. The Hiring Process:
Under Section 391.21 A trucking company is required to maintain a document called a driver qualification file. Each employer is required by law to inquire into each prospective employees:
a) prior driver’s licenses;
b) the applicant’s experience;
c) A list of all crashes in the prior three years and any injuries it caused;
d) A list of all traffic tickets for the past 3 years;
e) A explanation of prior license suspension;
f) A list of the prior employers for the last three years including the reason for leaving;
The company has to contact prior employers to verify whether the driver had safety or substance abuse issues. Further the company is required to send a request to the department of motor vehicles for a three year prior driving history and this request has to be refreshed every year on the anniversary of the driver’s hiring.
The trucking company is required to give the truck driver a medical exam. This is to ensure that the prospective drivers health does not pose an unnecessary risk to the public at large.
II. Annual Safety Reviews
Under §391.25, a trucking company is required to make an annual review the trucker’s record including:
(a) Request the driving record from the DMV for each driver, specifically looking for motor vehicle accidents;
(b) The company must conduct a review with each driver going over their driving record;
III. Inspection and Maintenance
§396.3, states that “…every motor carrier shall systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles…” The findings of any inspection must be recorded and maintained for at least one year.
Prior to the operation of any tractor trailer the driver is tasked with a pre-trip inspection. Further §396.11 requires the Driver to prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated. The report must cover any issue with the brakes, lighting, reflectors, steering, tires, wipers, mirrors, and emergency equipment
There are four terms commonly associated with tractor trailer accidents on North Carolina roadways are:
- No-Zones: These are blind spots commonly found with large trucks or tractor trailers. These blind spots are located at different points including the front, back and sides of the truck. If, at any time, a vehicle enters into the No-Zone the driver of the tractor trailer would be unable to see it.
- Squeeze Play: We have all seen when a tractor trailer makes a right turn they have to first enter the left hand lane. The problem occurs when tractor trailer drivers are unable to see cars directly behind them or to their immediate left.
- Stopping Distance: Because of their size and weight tractor trailers have different stopping distances than typical passenger vehicles. When traveling at high speeds the stopping distance increases significantly.
- “Off-Track”: Off-track describes when a tractor trailer makes a right hand turn at a higher speed than safe and turns into the left hand lane.
At Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC our Charlotte personal injury lawyers handle every aspect of your car accident from start to finish. Our lawyers have handled trucking cases all over North Carolina and are regularly brought in to assist other lawyers with their client’s cases. It is not without a small amount of pride that we continue to serve thousands of people across NC despite the fact that we have never advertised our services via TV, radio or send letters to people’s houses.
There is no fee to speak with one of our trucking lawyers. We handle trucking accidents across North Carolina. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your case.