When you operate in the trucking and transportation industry, your top priority is typically ensuring your customer’s satisfaction. In most instances, that occurs though completing routes on schedule (whether those are freight deliveries or passenger arrivals).
Yet many in your position have come to us here at The Law Firm of Connors & Connors, P.C. asking about those instances where hazardous conditions may jeopardize the safety of both drivers and equipment (not to mention that of passengers and/or cargo). While your customers may offer some degree of understanding in such situation, that is not guaranteed. How are you to answer when they demand the completion of routes despite weather conditions?
Prioritizing safety first
The best responses to such questions are those grounded in the law (as opposed to your own opinions or your company’s policies). In the case of hazardous conditions, a safety standard exists that comes from the federal level. Indeed, according to Section 392.14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, drivers should always exercise extreme caution when conditions deteriorate due to natural elements such as:
- Snow and ice
- Sleet and rain
- Fog and mist
In such conditions, drivers must reduce their speed to allow for the safest operation of their vehicles.
Halting operations in hazardous conditions
Oftentimes, “exercising extreme caution” may mean halting a route completely in order to avoid hazardous conditions (or to allow them to pass). Federal law states that when this occurs, you can take such action in order to ensure safety (despite whatever delays this may lead to). Operations should only resume when conditions allow for a safe journey for drivers, their vehicles, and their passengers or freight. Customers who look to hold you liable for such delays would then have to argue against federal statutes.