Cockerill, Craig & Moore, LLC Attorneys at Law

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Commercial vehicle accidents and operator fault

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2021 | Commercial Vehicle Accidents |

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates that commercial truck drivers use an electronic logging device. As noted by FreightWaves, instead of tracking their road hours on a paper log, an ELD records the information for drivers and stores it electronically.

Transportation industry electronics may provide details of events that led up to an accident. Dashboard cameras, for example, may capture footage of the inside of a cab. A driver’s actions and facial movements may reveal whether a distraction caused a collision.

Fatigue and distractions cause accidents

The FMCSA notes that driver fatigue or drowsiness contributes to crashes involving commercial trucks. Experiencing exhaustion during a long haul can lead to driver mistakes. An operator’s attention span may shift away from the road and exhaustion may limit the ability to react in time to avert a crash.

Federal law forbids commercial vehicle operators from holding a mobile device while driving. Commercial operators may not allow emails or text messages to distract them. Unfamiliar roads and highways, however, contribute to commercial vehicle accidents. Although an operator may use a GPS navigation system, the level of distraction may intensify after missing an exit.

The court may assign a percentage to an operator’s fault

Individuals severely injured by a commercial truck driver may file legal action for damages. New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence law, however, requires showing how much each driver contributed to an accident. As explained by, if the operator of a passenger vehicle contributed to a collision, the court may reduce the damages based on the percentage of his or her contribution.

Because federal law requires commercial vehicle operators to keep an electronic log of their hours and hauls, the discovery process may include the court reviewing an operator’s devices. The court may review information captured electronically to determine whether exhaustion or a distraction contributed to a crash.