Generally speaking, commercial vehicles are any vehicles that are used by businesses in the course and scope of their occupation or profession. So that could include vans and pickup trucks, but really any vehicle used in the scope and course of employment are the truck driver or drivers of the vehicles would be considered a commercial vehicle. Limos are another example of a common commercial vehicle that we see around here. Many times though there are standard four door sedans that are used as commercial vehicles that would also fall into this particular category.
All commercial drivers of semi trucks or larger vehicles that have the capacity to haul freight are subject to more federal regulations and rules. They are restrictive of what they may carry, how they can carry it and how long a driver can drive. All documentation needs to be kept up to specs by the driver, and they must know all rules and regulations for hauling freight of any kind. There are a lot of regulations for commercial vehicles in this country and most of them are safety regulations or rules of use regulations that govern the activities of these basically “businesses on wheels.” The federal government has rules, but some states have their own statutes, but mostly federal guidelines must be adhered to. These rules are enforced to restrict, limit or curtail abuses that have caused accidents and problems in the past.
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration has tried to limit the hours that driver’s may be on the roads so the driver is alert and in tune with traffic. They also require licensing and now a more elaborate training program is required for a trucker by federal rules and regulations. They also now require log books that will allow for documentation of activities that truckers are involved in which can be used to scrutinize driving habits. They also require more extensive safety checks of equipment such as tires, braking and light systems. All of these are more elaborate on a commercial or a semi-truck and the federal government has rules and regulations as to how often they are to be checked. You must make sure that proper inspection takes place.
For example, tires can no longer have any loose threading, they are required to change that tire immediately or they will be fined. These are regulated by the federal government. There is more comprehensive reporting of truck accidents required by the federal government than just in ordinary automobile collisions.
The most common cause of commercial and truck accidents is still speeding. They say time is money. Many employers and employees try to push the envelope with respect to speed in order to get the product there on time. We see speed as a major contributing factor and cause of most accidents. The second contributing factor we find in these cases is inattention to or inattention while driving a vehicle. Truck drivers are subjected to the same distractions as ordinary drivers are, including the ordinary distractions of what is going on inside and outside of the vehicle. Phones, texting and computers are being used by truckers and they are all distracting.
We blame some of these accidents on the newest technology because all of these hand held electronics make accidents more likely to happen due to inattention. Safety failure is also an issue which contributes to a majority of truck accidents. There are so many more moving parts on a truck than a standard sedan or car, and they are so much larger. Safety has to be of great importance and concern. Safety failure on a truck is more likely to cause an accident than the safety failure on an ordinary vehicle just because of the physics of the truck and the danger it creates due to its size. The next most common cause of truck accidents and all commercial vehicle accidents is sleep deprivation.
Even though we have rules of the road that require a certain amount of sleep and time off by truckers, again, due to the crush of business, employers and employees are constantly trying to fudge or violate those rules. These are some of the main causes of commercial vehicle truck accidents in most states.