In bad weather, auto accidents are bound to happen. Slippery roads and poor visibility account for many truck accidents that are attributed to weather. However, when one of the vehicles is a large commercial truck with a professional driver behind the wheel, weather no longer can be a reasonable excuse according to federal regulations on this topic.
Truck drivers must be accountable not only for their own safety, but the safety of their load, other drivers on the road and adherence to the law. They are also expected to understand the risks and dangers of driving in poor weather and know better than to put themselves and others at risk.
Federal Regulations Applicable to Weather / Road Conditions And Truck Operation
Truck drivers are expected to have a higher responsibility when on the road. They have to adhere to special licensing and requirements both at the state and federal levels of government. In the instance of poor weather conditions, commercial drivers are expected to use good judgment on whether they should proceed to drive or at minimum, take precautions if continuing to stay on the road. According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Rule 49, 392.14:
Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued…
Additionally, many states have laws that require that truck drivers reduce their speeds in bad weather or stay off of the roads entirely.
Weather Related Truck Accidents Are Overwhelmingly Preventable
There is no doubt that weather can be a factor in accidents involving large trucks, however, they are preventable. Large trucks are harder to control, take longer to stop and are more deadly in an accident than other vehicles on the road, even in good driving conditions. Their drivers are held to a higher standard because of these elements and are expected to understand the risks involved with driving in poor weather. Most truck companies instruct their drivers to pull over when bad weather hits to ensure the safety of their driver, their vehicle and reduce their liability to other people on the road, as well as adhere to the law.
Truck accidents that happen in bad weather are due to poor judgment on the part of the truck driver. If conditions are to the point that they are thought to have caused the accident, it can be ascertained that the driver should not have continued driving. They are trained and licensed with the expectation that they adhere to safety requirements and laws set for them. This lapse in judgment does not just affect the drivers and their truckloads. It is a mistake that has cost many people their lives and should not be overlooked.