The Federal government describes commercial vehicles as those that weigh more than 10,000 pounds, transport eight or more paying passengers or 15 or more non-paying passengers, or transport hazardous materials.
Florida also has guidelines surrounding what counts as a commercial vehicle. In Florida, any non-governmental vehicle that weighs more than 26,000 pounds or has three or more axles is a commercial vehicle.
Were you recently involved in a dump truck accident? Then you may wonder whether or not dump trucks are commercial vehicles. After all, commercial vehicle wrecks come with much higher consequences for liable parties.
In this guide, we will explain the definition of a commercial vehicle in Florida. Plus, we will explain why a dump truck is a commercial vehicle and what to do if you get into an accident with one. Keep reading to learn more.
Is a Dump Truck Considered a Commercial Vehicle in Florida?
Yes, Florida usually considers dump trucks commercial vehicles if they weigh more than 26,000 pounds. A dump truck with three or more axles also falls under the definition of a commercial vehicle in Florida.
Other types of vehicles that the state considers commercial vehicles may include:
- Tractor trailers
- Flatbed trucks
- Cement trucks
- Passenger transportation vehicles
Understanding the difference between commercial and non-commercial vehicles is important. That’s because getting into a wreck with a commercial vehicle is much, much different than a regular accident. We’ll explain why next.
Commercial Vehicle Regulations in Florida
The biggest difference between commercial and regular vehicles comes down to weight and size. A heavier vehicle takes more time to stop than a non-commercial car. This fact can lead to dangerous wrecks.
For this reason, Florida requires dump truck drivers to have special licenses. Drivers also must meet specific insurance coverage minimums. These minimums depend on the truck’s weight.
Dump truck companies also enforce strict standards for drivers. Drivers must have clean driving backgrounds. They must also undergo frequent drug and alcohol tests to ensure they’re safe to drive.
Reasons for Commercial Dump Truck Accidents
Dump truck accidents can have devastating consequences. We will discuss your legal rights after a truck accident in a moment. But first, we want to go through the top reasons commercial vehicle accidents occur in the first place.
Brake or Tire Problems
Trucking companies and their drivers require frequent maintenance. Sometimes, brake or tire problems can go unnoticed. And this can lead to devastating accidents.
However, some trucking companies will intentionally leave trucks in disrepair. This type of issue also leads to wrecks. And in this case, the trucking company is liable for any damages that come about due to the accident.
The faster a vehicle goes, the more time it needs to come to a stop. Vehicle weight compounds this effect. That means heavier vehicles take more time to bring to a complete stop.
As you can imagine, speeding is one of the top reasons for dump truck accidents. Drivers have strict schedules to adhere to. So, they often drive over the posted speed limit to make due.
Some trucking companies do not follow federal and state weight guidelines because they get paid by the load. Yet, federal and state commercial truck regulations exist for a reason. They exist to protect other drivers on the road.
So, when truck companies violate these regulations, it can lead to wrecks. Because as we have mentioned, the heavier a vehicle, the more time it takes to apply the brakes.
Training drivers is critical for preventing commercial vehicle accidents. Drivers must obtain CDL licenses. And they must pass knowledge and skills exams to get a CDL license in the first place.
But the trucking industry is experiencing a driver shortage. As such, companies may hire inexperienced drivers. When this happens, it can increase the risk of accidents due to falling asleep at the wheel, speeding, or cell phone use.
Who Is at Fault for a Dump Truck Accident?
If you get into an accident with a dump truck, you may be eligible for damages. Damages are monetary awards judges give to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. The defendant is the party that pays those damages.
The defendant in a dump truck accident injury case depends on who is at fault. Usually, the fault (also known as liability) either lies with the trucking company, the driver, or both parties.
A trucking company might be liable for your injuries if it participates in the following:
- Negligent hiring
- Inadequate training
- Incomplete truck maintenance
Conversely, a driver may be liable if he or she is intoxicated when the wreck happens. Speeding and texting while driving can also be reasons for truck driver liability.
Of course, the driver and the trucking company could both be liable.
For example, say the driver was texting, which caused an accident. But the truck’s brakes were found to be faulty due to the company’s negligence. In this case, both the driver and the trucking company could be held liable.
Hit by a Dump Truck in Florida? You Need a Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer
Both the Federal and Florida state government consider dump trucks as commercial vehicles. As such, these vehicles have strict regulations. When drivers and trucking companies do not follow these rules, accidents happen.
Were you or a loved one injured in a dump truck accident that was not your fault? RHINO Lawyers helps accident victims across The Sunshine State. Contact us today to get a free case review with our expert accident injury lawyers.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.