Recently in Nashville heavy fog and icy road conditions set the stage for a 50 car pile up during the morning work commute. With the onset of winter, it seemed prudent to revisit the topic of a blog last February: interstate trucking regulations prevent the operation of a commercial vehicle whenever hazardous conditions create a scenario causing a hazard to passengers (and other motorists). The applicable trucking regulation is 49 CFR §392.14, which states the following:
Hazardous conditions; Extreme Caution
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 and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.
Several years ago I was involved in litigation surrounding a truck crash that was blamed on heavy fog when a passenger vehicle collided with a white truck attempting to execute a turn across traffic. Due to the fog, the truck was essentially invisible to approaching motorists. The highway patrol and police simply blamed the wreck on the fog, but an analysis of the trucking regulations in light of the foggy conditions revealed that legally, the truck should not have been on the road in those conditions. If you see a big truck on the highway in icy or foggy conditions that create a hazard, don’t hesitate to alert authorities. Making that call could save someone’s life. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligent operation of a big truck, contact a qualified attorney to help you and your loved ones hold the trucking company accountable.