Big Rig Collisions May Happen More Often

Big Rig Collisions May Happen More Often

California highways may be at higher risk of big rig collisions due to a recent ruling made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In a decision announced on December 21, the agency ruled that federal law overruled state laws on when and how truckers work. The decision was in response to a petition by industry to exempt California truck drivers from the rest break and meal rules instituted in the state in 2014 by the Ninth Circuit Court. The court had ruled that truckers should be treated like other employees and be paid for their 30-minute rest and meal breaks and that they could not be on the road driving for more than 11 hours daily.

Responses by Truck Drivers to the Ruling

One California resident responded by saying that he believed the new ruling would lower his earnings by about $5,000 per year. He also stated that the Ninth Circuit ruling had been the first raise in pay that he had received since 2004. However, the owners of small fleets of trucks were pleased with the new ruling. The owner of a small trucking firm in Stockton said that truck drivers needed to be accountable for their own safety to avoid big rig collisions and take breaks when needed and that some smaller trucking firms had been the subject of lawsuits under the 2014 California rules.

Previous Compensation Under California Law

California truckers were treated as employees under California law. This meant that they were still paid when they took meal or rest breaks. They were required to rest for 10 minutes every four hours they were on the road and take 30 minutes off for meals if they were working for more than five hours. However, the rule applied only to truck drivers who worked solely inside California and did not apply to drivers who carried goods into or out of the state. Since median wages for a truck driver have dropped between 21 and 50 percent, depending on location, the new ruling may put more stress on drivers to get their goods to market faster, increasing the risk of big rig collisions.

Types of Accidents Caused by Big Trucks

Big trucks certainly include big rigs but also encompass garbage and cement trucks, FedEx-type delivery vehicles and other types. While an accident with a big truck in the slow lane often causes injuries, when the driver is at highway speed in the fast lane, it can be devastating. If you or someone you care about is in this situation, an experienced truck accident lawyer can advise you of your rights and options to obtain compensation.

Collecting Compensation for Big Rig Collisions

An accident between a motor vehicle and truck can be complicated because many times the big rig driver is employed by a company and not working as an independent. When negligence can be proven in big rig collisions, the injured party may be able to collect damages both from the driver and the company. A seasoned injury lawyer with experience in truck accidents can examine the driver’s logs, company maintenance reports, notices of noncompliance and other sources to build a strong case for financial compensation for the injured party. In this way, that person can concentrate on getting better instead of having to worry about how medical bills, time away from work and other expenses will be paid.

Rio Linda Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Rio Linda personal injury lawyer. Being in a collision caused by a truck driver or the company that employs that person can leave you or your loved one with high medical bills, the pain and suffering caused by the accident and other expenses. However, when negligence caused the accident, you may be able to recover fair compensation. You can contact me at (916) 921-6400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach me free of charge at (800) 404-5400 or through my convenient online contact form at

I’m a member of, which is a forum of top trial lawyers who have obtained a case settlement or verdict of more than $1 million for a client. I have also been recognized for legal excellence by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

For 37 years, I’ve worked hard as an injury lawyer, helping residents of Rio Linda and Northern California to obtain fair compensation in all types of car accidents, brain injuries and other traumas and cases involving wrongful death.

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