Truckers: Think Twice Before Carrying Passengers
As a general rule, semi-truck drivers and passengers fare better than those in other vehicles in accidents. This does not mean, however, that truck cabs eliminate the possibility of serious injuries. While no truckers want to face their own debilitating injuries, the emotional pain is unimaginable when passengers who sat beside them are injured or killed.
Since federal regulations regarding passengers are somewhat unclear, the associated injury claims require a Charlotte tractor-trailer accident attorney with significant experience within this complex area of the law.
A Recent Truck Accident Illustrates the Risks to Passengers
In April 2015, a Daily Herald article reported that a truck driver’s life changed forever when his truck overturned in Illinois. His 12-year old daughter was ejected, trapping her under the cab and killing her at the scene.
Even now, months later, the exact causes of the accident have not been reported. The reasons why the young girl was in the truck are unclear, and while alcohol was not a factor, the actual cause of the rollover has not been publicly identified by investigators.
In spite of all the potential questions, one point seems evident: commercial semis are not a good place to carry casual passengers. Even while truck passengers may be less susceptible to injuries in two-vehicle collisions, the heavy vehicles are still prone to severe accidents. Anyone in a truck still risks serious injury.
Federal Regulations Pertaining to Truck Passengers are Somewhat Vague
At first glance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations seem to prohibit truckers from carrying passengers. However, the regulations immediately cite a number of exceptions, including the following:
- Commercial vehicle companies can provide written authorization as long as they name the passenger, the start and end points of the transportation and an expiration date for the authorization.
- Authorization is not required for employees or other individuals assigned by the company.
- Truckers can carry passengers when rendering aid.
The Risks May Outweigh the Benefits of Carrying Casual Truck Passengers
Long-haul truckers in particular may choose to carry passengers to provide company. Considering that the deadly Illinois truck accident occurred early on a Monday morning, the driver might have chosen a weekend trip as an opportunity to bond with his daughter.
Still, legal questions abound after a tragic accident such as that one. Even when an accident appears to involve members within a single family, it is important to seek legal representation. If you or a loved one is involved in any type of trucking accident, call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form to get much-needed support during a trying time.