The rules of the road exist for the safety of Maryland residents. As discussed last week in this blog, motor vehicle violations not only serve as a guide for safe driving standards, they can be used in connection with a personal injury action if the other driver violated the rules of the road.
However, the rules of the road may not be the same for all drivers. Drivers of semi-trucks have additional rules that apply to them, including rules under the federal trucking regulations and standards set forth by the Maryland State Highway Administration.
For example, under Maryland's Motor Carrier Handbook, truck drivers are obligated to exercise safe control over a vehicle on the highways. This includes standards on how truck drivers are to control the speed of their vehicle when driving a loaded vehicle down a long hill or steep grade. Drivers also must use caution when approaching off-ramps.
Truck drivers also have special responsibilities when it comes to the condition of their vehicle. For example, truck drivers have to maintain their braking system so that they can safely bring the vehicle to a stop under different grades and conditions. The handbook recognizes that negligent truck maintenance, such as a poorly maintained brake system, can be a danger to others on the road, as it can cause a truck accident that puts others' lives at risk.
Accordingly, while all drivers have certain rules of the road to follow, this is especially true for truck drivers. Therefore, when a truck accident occurs, injured individuals should probe whether any trucking rules or regulations were violated, and whether these violations can be used in support of a finding that the truck driver was negligent.
Source: State Highway Administration, "Maryland Motor Carrier Handbook," December 2014