In order to build our roads, buildings, and foundations, timely and efficient transportation of concrete is essential. However, when the drivers of concrete trucks drive carelessly, the results can be catastrophic. Cement trucks, also known as concrete-mixers, weigh 20,000-30,000 lbs. and can carry another 40,000 lbs. of concrete, gravel, and sand. The average car on the roadway only weighs 4,000 lbs., so drivers involved in accidents with these trucks can be hit with as much as 70,000 lbs. Collisions with these vehicles are more than enough to injure someone for a lifetime.
Dangers of Cement Trucks
Cement trucks are responsible for delivering cement quickly to keep their product from hardening. It is important to consider that inside a cement mixer, concrete can harden with an hour and a half of being loaded. This duty to deliver cement at a fast pace often results in a lot of pressure for cement truck drivers to meet their deadlines and maximize their profit. Thus, drivers of concrete trucks have an incentive to speed to and from each location and create hazardous situations on the highway.
Cement-mixer trucks mix cement with other substances like sand and gravel to form concrete at a very high center of gravity. With these trucks weighing up to 25 tons, they are prone to rollover accidents – especially when operated by an inexperienced driver. Cement trucks can roll over at speeds as low as 5 mph when making 90-degree turns. Other factors that can lead to a cement truck accident include equipment failure, improper maintenance, defective parts, distracted driving, drowsy driving, and negligent or reckless driving.
Cement trucks are prone to the same type of accidents as 18-wheelers, such as roll-overs, severe damage, and exploding fuel tanks. Yet, there are some distinguishing characteristics of cement-mixer truck accidents that make them significantly worse than other commercial vehicle accidents including:
- Unique cargo being carried
- Exceptional ease of roll-over due to the high center of gravity
- Due to the weight of the vehicle – cement trucks go through a great deal of stress, which means it is essential that these trucks are properly maintained and repaired on a regular basis
- Need for exceptionally skilled drivers
After a collision, cement trucks frequently pour their contents out onto the street, causing other cars to crash and creating damage to the surrounding area. In its liquid state, concrete could cause vehicles to become covered by the mixture, forcing the other vehicle to immediately halt. In a hardened state, motorists could face a more lethal outcome. Cement trucks have been known to pour out onto other vehicles, trapping or even smothering passengers inside.
Cement Truck Provisions
Cement trucks are bound by provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA), which places a higher burden of safety on commercial vehicle operators than the driver of a typical passenger vehicle. Ready-mix concrete trucks are subject to the same rules and regulations as other commercial vehicles when they engage in interstate commerce, however, there are several exemptions carved out by the FMCSA for concrete mixers.
According to the FMCSA, the following hours of service regulations are enforced around the country:
- 11-Hour Driving Limit: Commercial motor vehicle operators may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty
- 14-Hour Driving Window: Drivers may not work (work includes driving and activities for off-duty time such as taking a lunch break or a nap) for more than 14 hours per day
- 30-Minute Rest Break: Regulations require that if more than eight consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes, a driver must take an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes before driving
- 60/70-Hour Duty Limit: Drivers cannot exceed 60 hours on duty over a week or 70 hours on duty over eight days
- Drivers must be provided 10 consecutive off-duty hours per shift
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, the 30-minute break required by other truck drivers can be done while waiting with the vehicle at a job site. Concrete-mixers are also exempt from installing Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) other commercial vehicle operators are required to have. If the cement truck driver returns to the work reporting location and is released from work within 14 hours and he has at least 10 consecutive hours off duty separating each 14 hours spent on duty. Cement companies typically set their employee work hours up to meet this exemption. It is important to consult an attorney to track down and timely subpoena driver logbooks as soon as possible before the evidence can be tampered with.
Cement Truck Injuries
State Vs. Federal Regulation of Concrete Mixers
The interstate vs intrastate difference determines how much insurance the truck is required and what type of reporting and record-keeping is done. If the vehicle travels across state lines, the truck is involved in interstate trucking and must comply with federal laws and federal insurance requirements for commercial vehicles. If the concrete truck only operates in one state, it is considered intrastate, meaning that is only subject to state law regulation.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Make no mistake: cement truck accidents are not the typical fender-bender car accident cases we’re talking about here. Correctly handling a complex injury or death case like this is nearly impossible to do alone without the knowledge of laws and regulations surrounding cement-mixers. The trucking company, its insurance company, and their lawyers have an automatic advantage because it’s their industry and they’ve got the resources and incentives to fight you for the long haul. The trucking industry and its lawyers leave nothing to chance, so neither should you.
The cement truck company will have its attorneys do whatever they can to limit or eliminate the trucking company’s liability for your claims – sometimes leaving victims with nothing. You need a skilled truck lawyer on your side to hold them accountable for the injuries sustained in a collision.
Call an Experienced Cement Truck Attorney in DFW at THOMPSON LAW 844-308-8180
Truck drivers who engage in careless conduct while operating their cement truck may be held legally responsible for the resulting harm. If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a cement truck accident, the attorneys at Thompson Law. We provide legal representation and guidance to accident victims and their families as they pursue personal injury claims for compensation. By investigating all of the causes of the accident and providing diligent advocacy in settlement and litigation, our Dallas Cement Truck lawyers have recovered damages for clients throughout Dallas County, Tarrant County, and other surrounding areas.
It is important for you to hire a lawyer familiar with ready-mix accidents, rules, and regulations to determine what rules apply to your case. The attorneys at Thompson Law have handled numerous commercial vehicle accidents. Cement truck accident are complex and often devastating, these accidents involve a number of state and federal laws that must be considered. Call Ryan “The Lion” Thompson today at 844-308-8180 – or via our online consultation form– to schedule a free consultation, discuss the circumstances of your accident, and how we can help you.