Articles Posted in Truck Accident

Throughout late summer and into early fall, the United States regularly sees a steady increase in U-Haul accidents. This increase typically coincides with students transitioning back onto college campuses. U-Haul accidents can result in serious injuries, death, and property damage. As such, New Hampshire motorists must understand their rights and responsibilities in these types of cases. Injury victims may be able to recover from various parties if they are involved in an accident with a U-Haul driver.

Despite their size and similarity to other trucks, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), does not recognize U-Hauls as commercial trucks. As a result, these trucks are not subject to the various safety rules, regulations, and oversight as other similar trucks. These companies typically invest a significant amount of time and money to ensure that their trucks are distinguished from commercial trucking vehicles. Even though these vehicles are involved in many fatal crashes every year, the major rental truck companies continue to successfully lobby against changing the classification of their vehicles.

Unlike commercial vehicles, the law does not require U-Haul drivers to obtain a commercial drivers’ license (CDL). Rental trucks benefit significantly from this exception, because their customers can easily rent a truck without jumping through various hoops. Further, since the law does not categorize these vehicles like commercial trucks, the companies can avoid thorough and costly inspections. As a result, many of their trucks have a substantial number of miles, and may not be in good working condition.

Whether it be for business or helping a loved one move, towing a trailer is something that most people have to do at least a few times in their life. For those who do not routinely drive with a trailer, the experience can be a bit nerve-wracking, and for a good reason. Trailers can be unwieldy, especially when they are fully loaded or during periods of inclement weather. Thus, all motorists who tow a trailer must understand the New Hampshire trailer laws.

Under New Hampshire Revised Statutes section 266.30, many motorists who choose to tow a trailer must install brakes on the trailer. Specifically, section 266.30 is clear that auto trailers and semi-trailers must have brakes installed to legally operate on any public highway. Additionally, horse trailers weighing more than 1,500 pounds must also have braking systems installed.

The situation gets a little more complicated when it comes to smaller trailers. For example, small trailers weighing less than 3,000 pounds (other than horse trailers) are not covered by the statute. Additionally, trailers designed to carry small equipment, such as wood-sawing machines, log splitters, and cement mixers, do not need to have brakes installed, as long as they are not being driven out of state.

In 2015, New Hampshire passed a “hands-free” law to combat the rising rate of distracted driving accidents. However, despite the passage of this law, inattentive drivers continue to cause a significant number of serious car accidents in the state. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examines crash data throughout the United States and provides detailed information regarding the causes of car accidents. The NHTSA separates accident causation into five broad categories: recognition error, decision error, performance error, nonperformance error, and unknown driver error.

Recognition error includes behaviors such as, inadequate observation, internal and external distractions, and daydreaming. Decision errors include drivers who cause accidents because of speeding, illegal maneuvers, misjudgment, and aggressive driving. Performance errors consist of actions such as panic, poor direction control, and overcompensation. Finally, nonperformance errors encompass situations where the driver falls asleep or has a medical condition that causes an accident.

According to the NHTSA, recognition errors are the leading cause of accidents in the United States. It may not come as a surprise to learn that inattentive or distracted drivers are among the leading causes of New Hampshire motor vehicle accidents. The most common types of distracted driving are talking and texting. Despite New Hampshire’s “hands-free” law, this type of driving continues to cause serious accidents.

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