Call for free consultation

Truck driving citations are increasing in Colorado


Do you ever get nervous driving near or passing a semi or big truck? I definitely do. We see the signs on their vehicles, like “if you can’t see my mirror, I can’t see you” and cautions to keep your distance. We see the runaway truck ramps going over the mountains (yikes – sometimes with fresh tire marks!) and the constant signs to truckers to beware of steep grades.

Also, they’re just big. You can picture the damage a big truck or semitrailer can do to a passenger vehicle. Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), said it best in a recent Denver7 news report, “While any vehicle can cause death, the consequences of a crash are amplified when a commercial motor vehicle is involved due to its increased weight, load dynamics and required stopping distances.”

So how is a commercial vehicle defined in Colorado?

Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) or “motor carriers” in Colorado are defined under law as a vehicle “used in commerce that weights at least 16,001 pounds and is self-propelled, towed, or designed to transport 16 or more passengers.” This might include everything from the big semitrailers common on I-25 or I-70 to delivery or service vehicles.

Careless driving by truck drivers is increasing

In 2023, the Colorado State Patrol issued 822 citations to commercial drivers for improper, reckless, or careless driving, which is a 23% increase over the previous year. And in fact, I-25 and I-70 were the two most common highways where citations were issued. While the winter months of January and December were the busiest months for citations due to their particularly treacherous road conditions, reckless driving is a hazard year-round in Colorado.

Commercial drivers have an even greater safety responsibility

All drivers must follow the rules of the road and drive in a manner that is safe for them and for those around them. This is even more true for commercial drivers, whose trucks and semis are bigger, more unwieldy, heavier, and require special maneuvers to stay safe. Professional drivers have to be vigilant and cautious, both because their vehicles have special handling needs and because those same vehicles can cause greater harm if something goes wrong. Accidents involving large trucks can cause extremely serious injuries, including spinal injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), burns, and death.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shares that nearly 5,000 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2020, which is a 9% increase in a decade. In addition to these fatalities, there were over 100,000 injuries in crashes involving large trucks.

Requirements holding truckers responsible for safety

For this reason, holding a commercial driver’s license carries a lot of requirements, including different types of licenses that quality a driver to handle different vehicles, hours of training, special tests, and a special permit process. Colorado has its own Motor Carrier Association (the CMCA), which details some of these requirements, some of which are unique to our state:

  • Vehicles are required to be clearly marked in certain ways
  • Chains are required to be used in certain seasons, on certain roads, and in certain conditions
  • Annual inspections must occur and be documented
  • Drivers must adhere to certain Hours of Service, preventing drivers from being too tired or fatigued while behind the wheel
  • Drivers must never be impaired, complying with regular drug and alcohol testing
  • Trucks must be within weight limits, which can differ depending on whether the truck is on an interstate or a non-interstate highway or road

Beyond that, drivers must use greater common sense, like driving slower than passenger cars in bad conditions, minimizing distractions like cell phone use, and staying healthy by taking breaks, not driving while tired, and avoiding prescription medications that may impair driving or reflexes.

Why do I need a lawyer for my truck accident case?

If you have read this far, you may have thought to yourself, there is a lot to know about trucks! Trucking is complicated, and so are the legal regulations truckers and commercial motor carriers must follow. And it gets even more complicated when something goes wrong and someone is injured or killed in a truck crash. Commercial policies have higher limits, so insurance companies and the corporations they protect have more to lose. There may be more than one company liable, especially if a carrier is driving or delivering for another company. This is why you need an experienced Colorado truck accident attorney like Vern Ready to navigate the complexity, understand the law, get all the facts, and fight for you when you’ve been injured by a large truck or semi.

I have advocated for many clients just like you who have been hurt in truck accidents over the course of my career, and I am passionate about getting you full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Do not delay — consultations are free and you can get immediate help while you focus on recovery. Call Colorado truck accident attorney Vern Ready at 303-339-8846. You can also schedule your free consultation with me at my office, at your home, or on Zoom/Facetime/Webex by clicking here.