Nestled in the central, northern, region of Los Angeles County, Palmdale, California is known as "A place to call home." Like so many other parts of the country, Palmdale, relies on the trucking industry to bring goods into the city and thankfully, commerce is alive and well. Commercial trucks are both part of our economy, and traffic, transporting goods across long distances. Driving alongside passenger vehicles, these tractor-trailers, or, big rigs, weigh an astonishing 20 times more than the average private automobile. In fact, there are more than 5.6 million of these giants traveling the roads, according to figures published by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. With approximately 7.5 million private passenger vehicles sharing the same roads in the county, that proximity and speed make it a potentially dangerous situation.
Trucking is by far the predominant mode of freight transportation in California. Trucks serve virtually all markets, from long-distance interstate commerce to the "last mile" of intermodal goods movement. Trucking is the essential mode for intrastate, regional, and local goods distribution, including manufactured goods, resource extraction (e.g., logs, sand and gravel), food and farm-to market products, containers, machinery and industrial supplies, petroleum products, air cargo ground transportation, and drayage. -
Commercial truck drivers must be professionally trained to operate these monstrously large freight carriers, and, there are laws which must be followed to keep other vehicles on the road safe. Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon for drivers to ignore these laws in order to meet tight deadlines. Drivers often sacrifice sleep to stay on schedule which creates a potentially dangerous and devastating situation. Some drivers even take medication to stay awake over long hauls.
Additionally, trucking companies sometimes fail to properly maintain their commercial vehicles. Brakes, tires, lights, and other important parts of commercial trucks fail to be routinely inspected and maintained by corporate entities. In some instances, companies ignore due diligence of checking driver credentials in order to keep goods moving. All of this creates an unsafe environment and can lead to serious, even deadly results.
Commercial Truck Regulations
Both California and the United States governments, set forth codes which, by law, must be followed by commercial trucking companies and drivers. Regulations and traffic laws are enforced by the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Transportation, the Public Utilities Commission, and other governing bodies. These regulations specify how much weight a fully loaded commercial truck can be to safely operate on the road, which individuals are qualified and licensed to drive semi-trucks, types of training, and how many hours a driver may operate a vehicle before taking a break or napping. In addition, certain parties can be held legally liable in the event of a commercial truck accident:
- The driver. A semi truck driver might be held liable for negligence because this is the individual who had control of the vehicle.
- The trucking company. The company might be liable if it hired a driver with a troubled record and/or failed to properly maintain the freight vehicle.
- The maintenance and repair company. In cases where accidents occur due to worn brakes, lights, tires, or other components, the maintenance and repair company might be held liable.
- Governments. Governments can be held liable if these entities failed to properly maintain the roadway or neglected to install signage.
- Vehicle manufacturers. If the components of the vehicle are found to be faulty, the manufacturer might be liable.
- Other drivers. When other drivers cause a commercial truck accident, they also might be held legally liable.
Commercial truck accidents in Palmdale (or anywhere for that matter) can be devastating to those directly involved, as well as family members. Extensive and expensive bills can quickly mount in the aftermath of a commercial truck collision and victims could be left with enormous medical and hospital bills, and more. Injured parties might also suffer from time lost at work, property damage, inability to pay monthly obligations, and even car rental charges. Unfortunately, if you or a loved one has been involved in such a serious incident, whether in Palmdale or somewhere else in California, you can't count on help from the company and you need to seek legal help right away. You need aggressive representation and sound legal advice about your rights and what compensation might be available to you.