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Indiana is known for being one of the most truck-friendly states; it is less expensive than other states to operate in and has one of the most active trucking industries in America. However, this also increases the frequency of accidents in Indiana.

If you’re ever involved in a truck accident, it is crucial to find a lawyer who understands all aspects of the commercial trucking industry, including state and federal trucking rules and regulations. This will be important in proving if negligence and/or law-breaking caused the crash.

Frequently Asked Questions About Trucking and Truck Crashes  

How Often Do Truck Drivers Crash?

Car insurance data shows that the average driver will get into a wreck roughly once every 18 years, or about 3-4 times per lifetime.

Truck transportation is one of the most common ways to deliver goods across the country. Simply due to the significant length of time they spend on the road compared to other drivers, commercial truckers are more likely to be involved in accidents than other drivers.

According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), there were roughly 2.87 million people employed as truck drivers in 2020. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 439,206 recorded crashes involving large trucks in 2020. That means roughly 15% of truck drivers are involved in crashes per year.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean truck drivers are more likely to be the cause of crashes than other drivers.

While the NHTSA found that large truck drivers are more likely to have been in multiple crashes than drivers of other types of vehicles, they also found that truck drivers who were involved in crashes were less likely to have previously had their licenses suspended or revoked than other drivers.

How Do Truck Crashes Happen?

There are many factors that cause truck crashes, but the main two are truck driver negligence and trucking company negligence.

An example of driver negligence is driving while sleep deprived, which contributes to 100,000 truck accidents annually. Defective tires, an example of trucking company negligence for failing to maintain the vehicle, are another issue that causes 30% of these accidents. 

What are Trucking Rules & Regulations?

Understanding the laws and guidelines that apply to trucking is a great way to be aware of your rights in the event of a truck-related accident.

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, you should be aware of the following Indiana trucking laws. Violating any of these laws could make the trucking company liable for the crash, and for your injuries. An experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate and help discover if any laws were broken.

  • Size and Weight Restrictions

There are some exceptions, but to be considered safe for driving in Indiana, trucks must follow these limitations:

Maximum possible gross weight: 80,000 pounds

Maximum single axle weight: 20,000 pounds

Maximum tandem axle weight: 34,000 pounds

Maximum tri axle weight: 50,000 pounds

Maximum wheel weight: 800 pounds per inch of tire width

  • Time Restrictions

The FMCSA implemented the hours-of-service regulations, which restrict the time drivers are allowed to operate a commercial truck within a 24-hour time frame. The rules are as follows:

11-Hour Driving Limit

After 10 consecutive hours off duty, a driver may drive for a maximum of 11 hours.

14-Hour Work Limit

After 10 consecutive hours off duty, a driver may not work beyond the 14th consecutive hour.

30-Minute Driving Break

Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving. This break can be satisfied by sleeping, staying off duty, or refraining from driving while working.

60/70-Hour Limit

After 60/70 hours of work in 7/8 consecutive days, a driver is not permitted to operate a vehicle until they take 34 consecutive hours off.

  • Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is defined as any non-driving activity a driver does that might make them lose concentration while driving. Technology is one of the common causes of truck accidents. In 2020, Indiana enacted the hands-free law, prohibiting drivers from holding mobile devices in their hands while driving.

  • Alcohol and Drug Testing

Employees who are required to maintain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) are subject to drug testing in Indiana. Pre-employment drug testing and follow-up drug testing are both included in the program.

  • Following and Passing

In Indiana, commercial vehicles are allowed to use a few lanes. The far left lane is prohibited unless a trucker is passing another vehicle, avoiding a road hazard, or entering/exiting the highway.

  • Convoys and Escort Vehicles

Permitted vehicles must have escorts when they exceed certain limitations. These escort vehicles must have a minimum of four wheels, a mounted flashing amber light, and an oversize load sign that is clearly visible to oncoming traffic.

How Long Can Truckers Drive Before Resting?

A truck driver must take a break after eight consecutive hours of driving.

How Many Miles a Week Do Truckers Drive?

2,000 to 3,000 miles is the average weekly mileage for truckers.

Contact Our Indianapolis Truck Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in a crash with a truck, you’ll need significant compensation to cover your medical expenses and other damages. You’ll also need a lot of evidence to prove that the truck driver or their employer was at fault, because their insurance companies know how much money is at stake, and want to avoid paying you fair compensation at all costs. That is where our experienced Indiana truck crash lawyers can help you and your family.

To discuss a potential claim, get in touch with our Indianapolis truck accident attorneys here at Wagner Reese Injury Lawyers today.