Key Differences Between Car and Truck Accidents in Virginia

The following is information on the differences between car and truck accident cases in Virginia and how laws governing truck drivers are different than those governing the drivers of passenger vehicles. To learn more about motor vehicle accidents in Virginia or to file a claim, consult with a Virginia truck accident lawyer today.

Truck Accident Collisions

Due to the overall size and weight of commercial trucks, there are some things that can happen in truck accidents that just don’t tend to happen in passenger vehicle collisions. Unlike in your typical car accident, truck collisions sometimes involve underride accidents where if a truck stops and a car is following too closely it will hit the truck from behind and actually go underneath the rear of the tractor trailor causing catastrophic injuries and frequently deaths.

These cases often involve a driver who’s attention is divided because they are looking at their GPS, texting, or doing something else that results in them hitting the truck.

Another problem unique to trucking accidents is that on the highway is that trucks generally, most United States trucks do not have side guards which could prevent a car, a pedestrian, or cyclist, from being crushed under a truck from the side. Side guards are not required for most commercial trucks in the U.S. and when someone is switching lanes or if somebody swerves they might come underneath the truck from the side which again, usually results in extremely serious or fatal injuries. So, the extent of the damages to the individuals, the extent of their injuries is definitely higher in almost all trucking cases than in the average passenger vehicle collision.

Are There Different Laws Governing Truck Drivers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act sets forth specific laws for things such as licensing, registering your truck with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. There are rules on what types of loads can be carried by what types of drivers and specific regulations for how to secure them for the type of insurance that’s required. There are host of different things that are specifically required for commercial trucks that don’t apply to normal drivers. Additionally, there are requirements for the amount of time off that a driver must have between loads in order to combat the problems posed by fatigued drivers, but the laws in place right now unfortunately have not yet gone far enough in protecting other drivers on the road.

Are Commercial Drivers Generally Held To A Higher Standard?

Everybody has an obligation to exercise reasonable care while driving, so that means to obey the law and rules of the road to pay attention while you’re driving, pay full time and attention to other vehicles on the road, observe speed limits and things like that.

However, truck drivers do have additional obligations in that their vehicle requires more to control. So, they may not necessarily have a higher standard of care, but if you’re a professional driver you do have additional training you’re expected to have the skills come into it with that training. So your driving conduct will be measured against that of a reasonable truck driver, not just a reasonable person on the road.