Accidents Arising from Commercial Truckers Driving on Restricted Roadways

The rules set forth by local and state government are usually there for a reason. As members of the driving public, all of us must follow the laws that have been created to benefit the safety of everyone, regardless of whether one believes those rules and regulations apply to them. As most any motorist will understand, ignoring traffic safety laws can lead to very serious consequences. As Baltimore personal injury attorneys, and drivers ourselves, the legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, understands why local, state and federal rules and regulations need to be followed.

Unfortunately, some drivers -- both those who drive passenger vehicles and those who operate commercial trucks -- the rules of the road and other important regulations are regularly disregarded. One area of Maryland state law includes the restrictions that apply to various types and sizes of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). These restrictions are typically based on important safety considerations for a particular portion of roadway and surrounding environs.

When it comes to trucking-related accidents, some of these incidents can be attributed to instances where the roadway is not well-suited to large or heavy commercial vehicles. One of the more common roadway restrictions that many passenger car drivers are likely to see during their daily commute is that of a weight-related truck restriction. These types of restrictions may be related to the safety of bridges and overpasses along a specific portion of a highway or rural route. Others may be created to preserve the integrity of the roadway surface, which can be affected by a constant volume of heavily loaded 18-wheeler semis.

Certain roads within Maryland have standing or temporary restrictions. Bridge under-clearance and overhead clearance restrictions are provided by the Maryland Department of Transportation. Quite a few roadways have commercial traffic restrictions based on weight, speed and height. Interstate 68 has been known to have restrictions that apply to commercial vehicles in the Allegany County area, as well as other portions of the interstate. Similarly, I-81, I-70, I-270, I-95, I-495, I-695 and I-895 each have various limits and restrictions for commercial carriers from time to time.

When a trucking-related accident occurs on an interstate, U.S. highway, beltway or other roadway, it is sometimes important to review the restrictions in force at the time of the collision. Some restrictions can apply to the length of a tractor-trailer rig or just to the trailer itself. While a conscientious trucker may know that the dimensions or weight of his vehicle may preclude him from using a particular stretch of roadway, less scrupulous drivers may not adhere to the law and drive their CMV on the road regardless of the consequences.

One area of potential danger, which may crop up on smaller roadways such as state or federal highways, is the potential for an accident arising from off-tracking of a semi tractor-trailer rig. All around the country there have been incidents where people have been seriously hurt and even killed because of off-tracking. Some roadways are posted so as to prohibit tractor-trailer traffic at any time. Yet from time to time, truckers either overlook or ignore the posted signs and drive on the roadway anyway.

In the case of an off-tracking accident, where the wheels of the trailer tend to cross over into the opposing lane due to the roadway’s tight turn radius, if the truck driver should not have been operating on that road and caused an accident because of the off-tracking of his trailer, there may be cause for a personal injury lawsuit resulting from the trucker’s negligence. The lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen are prepared to assist individuals in such cases where a truck driver, his employer or a third party may be held responsible for a victim’s injuries or death.

Truck drivers who intentionally or otherwise operate their CMVs on restricted roadways, and thus cause an injury-related or fatal collision, can be held liable for property damage and personal injuries resulting from their carelessness or negligence. Our skilled legal team is ready to aggressively pursue a variety of claims against truckers, commercial transport companies, and other parties involved in the operation of commercial trucks in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., areas. It is the responsibility of every truck driver to understand the restrictions that apply to his or her rig and to strictly follow those local and state rules and regulations.

At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we believe that drivers who operate 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles have a responsibility for the safety of those people with whom they share the roadways. Choosing to drive on a restricted roadway constitutes gross negligence on the part of a professional truck driver. Because ignoring road restrictions is a serious breach of a trucker’s responsibilities, our staff looks for this, as well as other kinds of negligence when preparing personal injury claims for our clients.

To build a strong case against a commercial driver or trucking company, our attorneys gather all pertinent facts, including statements from other drivers and eyewitnesses to the accident. We review any available black box data, look into the trucker’s driving record, and examine the accident scene as part of our case preparation. We also consider the injuries sustained by the victim, as well as the cost of treatment and possible long-term care, which allows our team to make a realistic estimate of the cost that a particular commercial trucking wreck had on the victim and his family.

If you have been seriously injured in a trucking-related traffic accident, our law firm will be pleased to sit down with you for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can help you to better understand your rights under Maryland law. Please contact us to make an appointment today. We can describe the steps that need to be taken in order to file a personal injury claim. Call our toll-free number at (800) 654-1949; or send an email to either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to set up an initial consultation.