How are you to proceed when road conditions are hazardous?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2019 | Trucking And Transportation Liability Defense |

As the representative of a transportation carrier, you are often asked to walk a fine line. Your administrative duties may often require that you emphasize customer service (which in your case likely means that passengers get to their destinations both in New York and beyond on time). Yet your obligation to the safety of both your drivers and passengers may also require that your decisions be made with their overall bests interests in mind (even if it requires upsetting patrons and potentially negatively impacting your customer service rankings). Few would want to be in your position when faced with such a decision, yet fortunately, federal law effectively makes the decision for you. 

Section 392.14 of the Code of Federal Regulations states that you (and your drivers) must exercise extreme caution when confronted with hazardous road conditions. Such conditions may arise due to factors such as: 

  • Snow and ice
  • Rain or sleet
  • Fog or mist
  • Dust
  • Smoke

In such conditions, drivers are required to slow to speeds that make navigating the roads safely possible. If it becomes unsafe to continue to be on the road, then you are expected to discontinue to operations until such time as conditions improve and your vehicles can safely be driven again. This might mean suspended operations in the middle of a route, causing delays to your passengers’ schedules. While this might inconvenience them, the hope is that they will see the wisdom in your decision (and that the law backs you up on this). 

If one of your vehicles is in the middle of a route when hazardous conditions and stopping to allow the weather to pass is not possible, the law authorizes your drivers to continue to drive to the nearest safe location where they can reasonably get off the road. 

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