Buses & Other Commercial Vehicles
There are many types of commercial vehicles on the roadways. Buses, concrete trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, tanker trucks, and tow trucks are all commercial motor vehicles. And, any other vehicle or combination of vehicle and trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating, a gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more is considered to be a commercial motor vehicle under Federal law when used in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property. Even a pickup truck towing a trailer used for commercial purposes may be governed under Federal or state law as a commercial motor vehicle.
Why is this important? Because:
- Most trucking regulations apply
- Driver’s duties and standards are higher
- Drivers are supposed to be trained professionals
- Employer’s duties and standards are higher
- Employer must hire safe drivers and properly train and supervise them
- Equipment standards apply and inspections are required
- Insurance requirements and limits are greater
Commercial Vehicles Pose a Greater Risk to the Public
Garbage trucks, dump trucks, and other work trucks can be very hazardous to those driving, cycling or walking close by. Such vehicles are often in residential areas carrying large loads of waste, materials, dirt, debris, gravel, sand and other construction materials. The loads are often top-heavy with blind spots, risking tip-overs, or falling debris.
Any vehicle with a DOT number is considered to be a commercial vehicle, with higher insurance limits, and higher standards for drivers, and driver training and supervision.
A tanker truck hauls liquids or gases, many of which are classified as hazardous. Due to their size and shape, large tankers are prone to rollovers, which can be extremely dangerous if the liquid or gas is flammable or toxic.
Flatbeds trailers are often seen in a variety of circumstances, frequently hauling material or other pieces of equipment. They have a long open trailer to accommodate loading and unloading cargo. Improperly secured cargo can become dislodged striking other vehicles and causing bad wrecks.
Tow trucks are often hauling another vehicle in tow. Lighting and safety equipment may be inadequate. Often run by private operators who inadequately their train drivers, these large vehicles can weigh more than 10,000 pounds and can cause serious accidents.
Buses are long and large and often cannot execute turns without encroaching into another lane, or even crossing over into oncoming traffic. Drivers should be highly trained professionals, especially those transporting children, but that is not always the case.
Bisected by the Tennessee River, bordering Georgia and Alabama, at the junction of three interstate highways, including the heavily traveled I-75 corridor, Chattanooga, Tennessee is both a historic railroad town and a modern transportation hub. I-24 begins in Chattanooga running northwest toward Nashville, TN. I-59 also begins just outside Chattanooga and runs south toward Birmingham, AL. To the south, toward Atlanta along I-75, lies Dalton, GA a world center for the carpet and flooring industry. Chattanooga’s diversified economy includes the Volkswagen North American assembly plant, as well as insurance giants Blue Cross Blue Shield and Unum. Chattanooga is also a major tourist destination attracting millions of visitors each year. As a result, The Hamilton Firm LLC focus much of its work on representation of persons injured in trucking and transportation related cases as well as serious workplace injury cases.
Chattanooga is the headquarters for two of the nation’s major trucking companies, U.S. Xpress and Covenant Transport. And as crossroads city, Chattanooga ranks first in the nation among all metropolitan cities for the volume of freight moving through the city by truck (according to a recent freight study by Cambridge Systematics and reported in the Chattanooga Times Free Press). Problem areas include the interchanges as well as the entire section of I-24 from I-59 to I-75, and I-75 north to Cleveland, TN. Tractor trailers, while essential to a thriving economy, also present great risks to the traveling public if not operated safely by well trained professional drivers with well maintained equipment.
Chattanooga is also a rail hub for Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads. Travel, transport and commerce by water, rail and road are essential to our lives and economy, but all the economic activity also brings traffic and congestion, which can lead to more wrecks, accidents and injuries. This can be a volatile mix when combined with the high freight volume on tractor trailers traveling through or originating in the area.