Truckers must pull over to the side of the road to sleep, to inspect their cargo, to deal with a truck malfunction, and to handle other matters. However, these truck drivers often fail to warn others that their truck is parked on the side of the road. This can cause an unsuspecting motorist to crash into the truck. While on the face of it, it could appear that the passenger vehicle driver was at fault in causing the crash, the opposite is usually true. It is the truck driver who was negligent in failing to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations on warning others that his truck was stopped on the side of the road.
FMCSA Rules on Warning Motorists of a Stopped Truck
Because of the dangers that trucks stopped on the side of the road pose to other motorists, FMCSA has enacted rules on what truckers must do to warn others when they pull over onto the side of the roadway. They are required to do the following:
Use hazard lights.
Whenever a trucker is stopped on the highway or shoulder of a highway for any reason other than stopped traffic, he must immediately put on his hazard warning signal flashers and keep them on continuously until roadway warning devices are in place.
Set out warning devices.
As soon as possible, but not later than 10 minutes after pulling over, the truck driver must put out the warning devices a certain distance from their truck as specified in the regulations. Three emergency reflective triangles that meet FMCSA standards, six fuses, or three liquid-burning flares can be used. However, liquid-burning flares, fuses, or other signal devices that utilize a flame cannot be carried on trucks carrying hazardous materials.
Warning devices are not required in business or residential districts unless headlights are required or the lighting does not make the truck clearly visible to people 500 feet away—a common problem at night.
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