The average semi-truck travels 45,000 miles a year, while a long-distance truck travels about 100,000 miles a year. With so many logged miles, it is no wonder that other travelers regularly spot these trucks on the side of the road while their drivers rest, inspect their cargo, or deal with mechanical issues. However, the dangers of trucks stopped on the side of the highway are significant. Many accidents, however, are preventable if the truck drivers follow the law and safety standards. If you were injured in an accident involving a truck stopped on the side of the road, consider contacting an experienced accident attorney at Karlin & Karlin to learn more about your legal rights by calling (888) 365-1555.
Reasons Truck Drivers Park on the Side of the Highway
Truck drivers may pull to the side of the road for a variety of reasons, which include times when:
- They are tired
- They need to check their cargo
- There are mechanical problems to address
- They need to rest
- There are no parking spaces
Dangers of Parked Semi-Trucks
While there may be valid reasons for truckers to stop, there are also dangers of trucks stopped on the side of the highway. These vehicles pose a serious risk for other motorists. Tragic crashes can occur when motorists collide with these vehicles because the drivers do not see the trucks until it is too late, especially when they are pulled over at night. Semi-trucks are much larger than passenger vehicles. When they park on the shoulder, they take up all of the available space, eliminating room for other motorists to maneuver as needed. For these reasons, there are specific rules that prohibit trucks from parking in certain areas. Additionally, many trucking companies prohibit their drivers from stopping on the side of the highway.
Safety Violations Related to Parked Semi–Trucks
Truckers who are parked on the side of the road may be committing various safety violations, such as:
Driving on Prohibited Roads
Some roads are not designed for large trucks. If a large truck parks in one of these areas, the truck driver may be completely or partially liable for any collision that occurs because he or she should not have been there in the first place.
Parking on the Side of the Road
Generally, trucks are not allowed to park on the side of the road unless there is an emergency. If the trucker pulled over on the side of the road only to get rest, this might not constitute an emergency. A truck driver might be liable for a collision that occurs under these circumstances.
Not Following Applicable Laws
If a vehicle stops on the side of the road, the driver must take various safety precautions and follow related laws, including the following:
California Vehicle Code 21718
California Vehicle Code 21718 states that a vehicle cannot stand or stop on a freeway unless a certain exception applies, such as:
- When it is necessary to avoid bodily injury or property damage
- When pulled over by a law enforcement officer
- For construction or road maintenance duties
- Where the stop is specifically permitted
- When it is necessary to report a traffic collision
- When necessary for tow truck drivers
California Vehicle Code 22505
California Vehicle Code 22505 states that the California Department of Transportation can place signs that restrict vehicles that are six or more feet in height from stopping on certain portions of the highway.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration § 392.3
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration § 392.3 prohibits a truck driver from operating his or her vehicle when sick or fatigued to the degree that it would be unsafe.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration § 392.22
Truck drivers must also follow guidelines promulgated in Subpart C of § 392.22 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations when they have to stop for an emergency situation. If a commercial truck needs to stop on a highway, the driver must:
- Immediately activate the emergency flashers and keep them on until additional warning devices have been placed in and around the vehicle
- Place warning devices around the truck within 10 minutes of the stop at set locations at the side and rear of the truck
- Use only permitted warning devices, which include reflective triangles, reflective flags, liquid-burning flares, or fuses
- Not use warning devices that produce flames if the vehicle is leaking gas or other flammable fluid
- Follow extra precautions if the vehicle is stopped on a shoulder, on a hill, or in a curve
If the truck driver violates any of these rules and a crash occurs, he or she may be liable for the collision. The knowledgeable attorneys at Karlin & Karlin can help with claims based on these types of accidents.
Why Stopped Trucks Can Cause Roadside Collisions
Truck drivers may negligently create a situation that causes a collision to occur when they stop on the side of the highway. The driver may be held liable for these types of accidents at times when:
- The driver failed to do a pre-trip inspection that would have uncovered a mechanical problem that occurred en route
- The driver did not have the proper warning devices in the vehicle
- The driver failed to activate hazard flashers
- The driver failed to place warning devices around the vehicle
- The driver stopped in an unsafe location when other locations were possible
- The truck had faulty equipment
Contact an Accident Attorney for a Free Case Review
If you have confronted the dangers of trucks stopped on the side of the highway firsthand because you or a loved one suffered injuries from a collision involving a stopped truck, you might wonder about your legal rights and options. The personal injury attorneys of Karlin & Karlin offer free case evaluations to potential clients who want to know more about what they can do following a crash involving a negligent truck driver. Consider scheduling a free consultation to discuss your unique situation by calling (888) 365-1555.