Many Michigan residents think when a truck is involved in an accident that the driver is immediately at least partially at fault. It is true that 18-wheelers are the largest vehicles on the road, and that they typically do horrific damage when they are involved in a crash. However, this factor alone does not necessarily mean the truck driver was at fault for the mishap. Class A CDL holders are actually the best-trained among all drivers on the highways, and many accidents involving trucks are actually caused by standard vehicle operators. Even though the rate of causation by truck drivers is decreasing, the rate of fatal accident involvement is increasing over the past few years.
Attempts to curb the trend
In 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a policy requiring truck drivers and shipping companies to install electronic logging devices in each commercial vehicle on the highway. The theory for the requirement was that better tracking of driver speeds and adherence to driving shift restrictions would reduce the number of deadly accidents on the highways involving big rigs. What is being reported in recent years is that the opposite is actually happening according to personal injury claims, as truck drivers are cited for driving offenses in only one-third of all fatal crashes.
Truck driver citation impact on accident claims
One of the most important aspects of being involved in a truck accident is that states like Michigan require owner-operators and shipping companies to maintain extensive liability insurance for those injured in a truck collision. The problem for Michigan residents who have personal injury claims arising from a truck accident is that the state uses no-fault insurance law for initial claims. Further claims for damages filed against at-fault drivers must be approved by the court based on the injury extent and future prognosis for rehabilitating the injury, and many times a standard vehicle operator is largely responsible for the accident.
This is not to say that people who have been injured in truck accidents are left with no recourse. In many cases, these collisions are caused by improper loading of cargo or negligent maintenance of the truck’s braking system.