SCV Personal Injury Attorney | Using the Right Attorney in Truck Accidents | The Mason Law Firm | Mason Rashtian

Santa Clarita Valley sees its share of semi-truck traffic, who often travel on the Interstate 5 Freeway.  With so much truck traffic, accidents with big rigs are sometimes inevitable.  In the U.S., the legal weight for an eighteen-wheeler is about 80,000 lbs.  This weight is without an oversize or overweight permit.  In comparison, the average passenger car weighs somewhere around 5,000 lbs.  Because of this gross difference in weight, when an accident occurs between a truck and a passenger car, the truck generally wins and the results are not pretty.  But, what are some of the causes of such accidents?

(1)  Driving too fast and/or too close

The length of time for an eighteen-wheeler to stop is generally 40% greater than that of a passenger car.  Of course, this may change depending on the weight of truck’s load, whether or not the truck is bobtailing (when the truck is not attached to a trailer), and depending on road conditions.  If a truck driver is driving too fast and/or fails to keep a safe distance, he can cause a major accident if traffic in front of him suddenly stops.

(2) Driver Fatigue

Pursuant to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, a truck driver must keep a log, showing his hours of operation (i.e. driving hours) and his off-duty (non-driving) hours.  These are strict guidelines which truck drivers must adhere to and these laws are in place to reduce or minimize driver fatigue.

For example, when a long-haul truck driver starts his driving shift, he is allowed to drive up to 11 hours in the next 14 hour time period.  This 14 hour time period cannot be extended with off-duty time for meals and fuel stops.  At the end of his 14 hour time period, the driver must take at least a 10 hour break (off-duty), regardless of the number of miles he drove during that 14 hour time period, before he can restart driving his truck.

Additionally, a truck driver may not drive after 60 hours in a 7 consecutive day period.  However, he is allowed to restart that cycle (i.e. 7 consecutive day period) once he has taken at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.

When a truck driver fails to adhere to these rules, fatigue may set in, making him a dangerous driver on the road.

(3) Driver Aggression

Truck drivers are on strict time schedules, especially when they are hauling perishable goods.  When a truck driver is running late, he tends to become more aggressive, placing others at risk.

(4) Driver Error

Sometimes, a truck driver cuts a corner too thin or too wide when making a turn.  Sometimes, a truck driver fails to see a small passenger car in his blind spot or a pedestrian crossing the street.

(5) Load Shift

If a truck load is not tied down properly, it can shift during transport and the weight of the load can cause the driver to lose control.

Unfortunately, victims of truck accidents generally suffer serious injuries.  Due to the severity of such injuries, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney familiar with truck and auto accidents.  As a former insurance defense attorney, Mason Rashtian is very familiar with truck accidents because he used to defend truck drivers throughout California, including in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Palm Springs/Indio area.

For more information, please contact us at (661) 362-0805 or (818) 700-8422 or visit our website at: or

Published in: on April 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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