By their mere presence, commercial trucks 20-30 times the size of a passenger vehicle pose a threat to other cars with which they share the roads. And these giants of the highway become weapons in the hands of drivers who are reckless behind the wheel. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 97% of individuals who are killed in tractor-trailers accidents are the drivers of the smaller passenger vehicles, not the truck drivers themselves. Truck drivers have a duty to bear this fact in mind while operating their vehicles.
As a firm of personal injury lawyers in Jackson, we have represented our clients in many legal cases involving commercial trucks. The law gives injured parties and surviving family members of wrongful death victims the means to take action against those who wrongfully caused harm to another. But most of these truck accidents can be prevented by simple acts of vigilance. We as involved citizens owe our friends and neighbors the watchful attention and care we would give our own family members. In this way, we can all play our part in making the roads safer for everyone.
If you observe a situation of danger being caused by a reckless truck driver, we urge you to take action to prevent an accident. If you have questions, please reach out to one of our experienced truck accident lawyers for answers. In this article we will look at how to file federal and state reports against a reckless driver, where to find the major trucking routes in Mississippi, and how to recognize and responsibly handle an emergency situation.
Filing a Federal Report
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government body responsible for regulating and improving the safety of commercial motor vehicles. This agency receives and investigates safety or service violation and discrimination complaints made against moving companies, bus companies, and trucking companies. A person may file a complaint by:
- Calling 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238) from 8am‒8pm, Mon‒Fri EST
- Filing and submitting a complaint on the FMCSA National Consumer Complaint Database online
Online or over-the-phone reports filed with the FMCSA are intended to investigate past issues, not handle emergency situations. In the report, you should include relevant information including the date, location, and description of the incident, and the nature of the truck and driver-related safety concern. You will be asked to submit your contact information and provide the name of the trucking company involved in the incident. You will additionally be given the opportunity to upload any pertinent files, such as a photograph or video to provide evidence of the safety violation.
While the FMCSA has jurisdiction over interstate activity, which usually covers commercial truck travel, there are also ways of reporting reckless driving at the state level.
Filing a State Report
Most large commercial vehicles travel from state to state, but there are some situations in which a truck is only required to travel within the state borders. For example, a food delivery truck may only travel to Mississippi grocery stores, or a furniture store in Jackson may make local deliveries using a commercial vehicle. If you notice questionable driving by the operator of one of these types of trucks, it may be more appropriate to file a report at the state level. If you are not sure if the truck involved in the incident was conducting interstate or intrastate activity, any of the public traffic safety offices listed below will be able to help answer your queries.
Filing a Mississippi state reckless trucking complaint can be accomplished by:
- Contacting the Mississippi Department of Public Commercial Transportation Enforcement Division (CTED) by phone at 601-359-1707
- Contacting the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety (MOHS) via phone (601-977-3700), email (MOHS@dps.ms.gov), or in person at the Ridgeland, MS office
- Appearing in person at the FMCSA field office in Jackson, MS
Major Trucking Routes in Mississippi
A tragedy occurred in 2019 when a commercial truck crossed the center line of U.S. Highway 45 in Kemper County and struck a van head-on—killing the eight passengers inside. Large tractor-trailers operated by reckless or careless drivers have the power to cause the highest number of deaths in a single vehicular collision incident. Our state of Mississippi is not impervious to the devastation these types of accidents can cause.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports show a correlation between major trucking routes and counties with the highest fatality rates in crashes involving large trucks. The counties with the largest number of fatalities per 100,000 population in large truck-involved accidents in 2019 were Scott, Clarke, Kemper, Jasper, and Pike. These counties are also traversed by several of the state’s major truck-heavy thoroughfares, including:
- Interstate 20 (I-20)
- Highway 80
- S. Route 11
- S. 45
- Interstate 55 (I-55)
- S. 51
- Interstate 59 (I-59)
Interstate 10 (I-10), traversing about 77 miles in the southern part of the state, is also one of the major highways connecting commercial trucks to the regions east and west of Mississippi. With some 73,000 miles of highway crisscrossing the state, Mississippi is part of some of largest tractor-trailer traffic routes in the nation.
What To Do in an Emergency Situation
We have seen staggering changes on the roadways due to the pandemic’s effect on reckless driving behaviors. Drivers need to be all the more cautious and watchful of actions which can injure others. If you observe reckless driving which could imminently harm vehicle occupants or pedestrians, pull over safely and dial 911 as soon as you are able. The following are warning signs that a truck driver is dangerously close to causing an accident:
- Extreme speeding
- Swerving, with danger of a roll-over
- Abrupt lane changes without signaling
- Cutting off other drivers
- Sideswiping vehicles, buildings, signs, or other stationary objects
- Crossing medians and road lines
- Driving at night without lights
- Driving the wrong way, against the direction of traffic
- Driving on road shoulders, across barriers, or on non-road surfaces
- Noticeably displaying erratic behavior such as opening doors or throwing objects out a window
Make Our Roads Safer With the Help of a Jackson, MS Truck Accident Lawyer
When it comes to truck accident cases, the truck accident lawyers of Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC’s Jackson office are experienced, knowledgeable, and, above all, compassionate. We care deeply about the important issues affecting our community, and truck safety is one area in which we see room for improvement. If you have been involved in a truck accident in Mississippi, contact our office to set up a conversation about how we can help you.