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Truck Accidents Involving Parked Vehicles in California

Car Mirror Side Truck accidents involving parked vehicles in California are more frequent than they should be. Because semi-tractor trailers are so large, they become huge obstacles to maneuver around when they are stationary on or near freeways. There are hundreds of thousands of trucks that transport goods both in and out of and within the Golden State every year. Much of this traffic is along major east west and north south thoroughfares like the 10 and 710 freeways and the 5 freeway. What are the rules of the road for truckers who pull off to the side and how can you avoid a collision in these situations.

California and Federal Law on Semi Truck Stops on Freeways

There are many state and federal laws which regulate when and how a trucker must act when parking in and around highways in California. These include the following:

  • California Vehicle Code 21718 This statute provides a general prohibition on “standing or stopping” a vehicle on a freeway. The exceptions set forth are as follows: (1) “When necessary to avoid injury or property damage”; (2) “When required by law or in obedience to a peace officer”; (3) For freeway construction or other “official duties” of highway maintenance or other state employees such as the California Department of Transportation (CALTrans); (4) Where stopping is specifically permitted; (5) when necessary to report a traffic accident; and (6) when necessary for rapid removal of impediment by tow truck drivers.
  • California Vehicle Code 22505 This allows CALTRANS to place signs prohibiting stops of vehicles which are six feet or more in height along certain segments of highway including “areas where stopping, standing or parking is dangerous to those using the highway”.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration § 392.3 This section prohibits operating a commercial vehicle when the driver is ill or fatigued to the point of being unsafe. However, it states that the driver may operate the vehicle to the nearest place where the “hazard” of being ill or fatigued can be addressed.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration § 392.22 This section mandates that any commercial motor vehicle subject to federal regulations (which includes almost all semis) who must stop on a highway for an emergency situation to do the following:
    1. “Immediately Activate” on emergency flasher signals on the vehicle and continue to operate until additional warning devices can be placed in and around the truck.
    2. Place warning signals around the vehicle within 10 minutes of any stop at set locations along the side and in the rear of the semi including 4 paces to the traffic side of the truck, and 40 paces to the rear of the vehicle adjacent to the lanes of travel for other vehicles (and 100 to 500 feet if the truck is parked on or near a hill, curve or other obstruction that would require additional warning to oncoming traffic)
Importance of Hiring A California Trucking Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, there are numerous instances every year where people traveling in passenger vehicles come upon a stationary commercial truck which is parked in violation of the above stated statutes or other rules applicable to stopping an 18 wheeler on a CA roadway and are unable to avoid striking a portion of the truck or rear ending it directly. These incidents often happen at night when visibility is obscured by low lighting or other ambient conditions. It is crucial to have a qualified attorney familiar with truck crash claims analyze the police incident report (most often prepared by the California Highway Patrol) and to have that lawyer conduct his own investigation into the incident by having accident reconstruction experts examine the scene. This should be done as quickly as possible following the collision to help preserve evidence such as skid marks, tire treads, flare burn marks and other physical clues about what happened. Witnesses should be interviewed early on as well. California trucking accident lawyers are best equipped to conduct this type of investigation and analysis and to assure the victims of their best chance of maximum recovery for injury and wrongful death claims related to this type of incident.

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Client Reviews
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.
I believe I made the best choice with Steven M Sweat, Personal Injury. I was very reluctant to go forward with my personal injury claim. I had a valid claim and I needed a professional attorney to handle it. I felt so much better when I let Steven take my case. His team did everything right and I am very satisfied. Stia P.
I have to say that Steve has been exemplary! I met Steve at a point with my case that I was ready to give up. He took the time and dealt with all of my concerns. Most importantly, he was present and listened to what I was going through. He was able to turn things around, put me and my case on the right track! The results were better that expected! Highly recommend!! Cody A.