Under perfect road conditions, it takes an attentive and well trained truck driver 96 yards to stop an unloaded eighteen wheeler traveling at 55 miles per hour. Traveling at typical highway speed, 65 miles per hour, the same truck will take 129 yards to come to a stop. Unfortunately, conditions are hardly ever perfect, and truck drivers are not always attentive or well trained, and tractor trailers are often heavily laden with goods. In poor weather, a loaded eighteen wheeler can take over two football fields to stop. Poor weather and road conditions increase the distance necessary to stop a truck and also elevates the risk of death or injury to Maryland drivers.
Because of these considerations, federal law increased the level of care owed by truck drivers in Maryland during inclement weather. Through rain, sleet, snow, or fog, truck drivers must, by law, maintain a higher level of care. Extreme care requires, amongst other things, that large truck drivers reduce their speed and increase the distance between themselves and other drivers on the roads. Additionally, if the hazardous conditions persist, drivers of commercial vehicles must get off the road until the weather or road conditions improve.
Big rig operators in Maryland know what the law requires and many operate their eighteen wheelers professionally and responsibly through poor weather or road conditions. However, federal law and Maryland truck accident attorneys work to punish those who do not. In Maryland, poor weather caused 25% of the fatal eighteen wheeler accidents. Today, trucking companies are able to transmit up-to-date weather information to the truck drivers they dispatch across Maryland and the nation. Many eighteen-wheelers operating with major carriers have computers installed in their cabs to receive messages from their home offices. Maryland law, if not federal law, should require carriers to transmit information on weather and road conditions to their drivers and direct them to leave the highways during extreme weather. The attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen believe that this step could save the lives of drivers on Maryland’s highways.
If you or one of your loved ones have suffered an injury as a result of an accident with a truck, please contact us for a free consultation.