The classic example of a commercial vehicle would be a truck, whether a small-sized panel truck or a full-size tractor-trailer, but it could also be a van or even a passenger vehicle if it’s used for commercial business purposes.
Is There A Certain Type Of Commercial Vehicle More Prone To Accidents Than Others?
It depends on the area of the accident. On highways, there tend to be more tractor-trailers, whereas on surface streets, you might see more incidents involving vans or smaller trucks.
Do Commercial Vehicles Adhere To Different Standards Than Passenger Vehicles?
Sure. As a general matter, commercial vehicles are subject to all of the same rules of the road that would apply to any private car, but there are certain regulations that apply by state and federal governments to commercial vehicles that impose additional responsibilities.
What Are Some Regulations That Commercial Vehicles Must Adhere To In Order To Avoid Accidents?
Almost every aspect of the commercial vehicle and its driver is subject to various regulations, and that would include the amount of time drivers are allowed to be driving, the amount of time they are required to rest between runs, the requirements for safety inspections of the vehicles, the requirements for various safety devices and equipment to be present on the vehicles to prevent accidents and more. The regulations are very comprehensive.
What Are The Most Violated Regulations That Lead To Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
The most common violations are driving without mandatory rest breaks, driving under pressure to keep on schedule and not keeping the vehicle in proper working order or keeping up with the required safety inspection maintenance schedules.
Are Commercial Vehicle Drivers Required To Maintain Travel Logs?
Yes. There are requirements that they log when they start runs, when they finish runs and the breaks they take in between. They are basically required to keep contemporaneous logs that are very detailed as far as their activities go.
Who Is Generally Held Liable In A Commercial Vehicle Accident?
This is where it’s a little different than an accident involving a typical private automobile where you would mainly be looking at the driver of the vehicle and possibly the owner of the car. In a commercial case, there are multiple potentially liable parties. The driver would obviously be the first line of liability due to negligence, but the driver’s employer would also be responsible for the employee’s negligence, as well as potential negligence on the part of the employer for allowing the employee to be driving if there were evidence that the driver should not have been entrusted with the vehicle.
If the commercial vehicle was owned or leased by a different company, that company may also bear some responsibility. If the vehicle was in disrepair that could implicate the mechanic who last serviced the vehicle. So there are quite a few potentially liable parties when it comes to a commercial motor vehicle incident.
What Happens If The Commercial Vehicle Driver Is An Independent Contractor?
Independent contractors are basically self-employed. By definition, they are not the employee of a company. A person or a company that hires an independent contractor is generally not responsible for the independent contractor’s negligence. However, there may be liability on the part of the companies that leased the vehicle and serviced the vehicle. It gets very complicated and fact-specific, and a lot of times it comes down to the language in the written contract among those various entities as to who ultimately shares responsibility.
For more information on Commercial Vehicle Accidents, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (215) 569-1212 today.