Vehicle Accidents Archives

Destruction of Evidence - Spoliation in the Trucking Industry

Trucking companies are required to keep certain records for a specific period of time prescribed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMCA).  The FMCSA Regulations specifically list categories of records and specific documents that motor carriers must keep and strict rules on how long the information must be preserved.  Pursuant to the FMCSA, categories of items that must be preserved by motor carriers include:

Fatigued Tractor-Trailer Drivers are Recklessly Dangerous

Paoli Law Firm CMYK.jpgThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that "long daily and weekly hours are associated with an increased risk of crashes and with the chronic health conditions associated with lack of sleep." The FMCSA implements hours of service (HOS) regulations with the goal of reducing the possibility of truck driver fatigue-related crashes.  To advance this effort, the FMCSA Regulations limit when and for how long drivers of commercial motor vehicles are allowed to drive in a given period.

General Qualifications for a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver

Common types of commercial motor vehicles include tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations (doubles and triples), buses, tanker vehicles, dump trucks, and passenger vans.  Being involved in a crash with a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is extremely frightening and may cause serious injuries or death.  Of course, because a CMV is much larger and heavier than the majority of vehicles on the highway, the damage and mayhem they cause in a crash is immense.

MONTANA'S MOVE OVER LAW INCLUDES POLICE, EMS, FIRE, TOW OPERATORS AND MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL

In Montana, it's the law to slow down and move over when you see the lights of a stationary emergency, towing or maintenance vehicle.  The move over law is required to be observed on all Montana roadways open to the public.  When unable to move over, you are required to slow down by at least 20 mph.  Not only is this the law, but taking these simple steps could save a life and it is your moral responsibility as a driver on Montana's roadways to move over.  The lives of emergency and road assistance workers are put on the line to do their jobs and they depend on motorists paying attention, slowing down, and moving over.  Emergency scenes are complicated and there is always more going on than other motorists on the road can see or appreciate.  For example, officers, fire, and EMS personnel may be tending to injured people, communicating with other emergency responders, assessing injuries, and controlling the scene, among other duties.  These responders don't have time to have to continuously look over their shoulders to stay safe.  Move over and slow down. It's the law. 

Blizzard Conditions Don't Excuse Bad Driving

The Montana legislature repealed the old "basic rule" speed statute in 1999. The relevant part of the statute now reads:

Subject to the maximum speed limits set forth in subsection (1), a person shall operate a vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a reduced rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of traffic, visibility, weather, and roadway conditions.

Mont. Code Ann. § 61-8-303(3)(emphasis added). In other words, you can never legally drive faster than the posted limit but sometimes the law may require you to drive slower.

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