Accidents involving commercial trucks are some of the most dangerous on the road. Passenger vehicles with even the best safety ratings may not be able to withstand the force created by a truck traveling at moderate speeds.
To help keep the roads safe and reduce the rate of truck crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set strict regulations that truckers and trucking companies must follow. FMCSA regulations cover everything from the amount of time a driver can be on the road to how cargo may be transported. When these rules are followed, the risk of accidents can be reduced. However, when truckers make the decision to disregard the required safety procedures, everyone on the road may be put in danger.
Practices regulated by the FMCSA include:
- Hours of operation: In order to meet deadlines, drivers may attempt to push themselves for extended periods of time, driving while tired. Along with driving under the influence, fatigued driving is a leading cause of accidents. To combat this issue, the FMCSA sets daily and weekly limits on the amount of time drivers can be on duty.
- Vehicle maintenance and repair: Just like any machine, a truck’s parts will wear down over time. Without regular maintenance, things will eventually start to break. Regulations are in place so that repairs occur before brakes fail or tires blow out on the road.
- Company hiring policy: Trucking companies also fall under the umbrella of federal regulations. Companies must conduct background checks, perform drug tests, and generally implement strategies to hire only competent drivers. If it is discovered that a negligent hiring decision played a role in an accident, the company itself may be liable for damages.
- Lower limits for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): Professional truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other motorists. This extends to drinking and driving laws. A trucker with a BAC of .04% or higher is guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Despite the danger involved, DWI related accidents continue to be a problem on the road.
- Underride guards: Guidelines for a truck’s safety features are also named in federal regulations. For example, trucks set high above the ground are required to install underride guards to prevent smaller cars from being crushed under a truck in an accident. If a truck doesn’t meet safety standards, crashes can be fatal.
- Records: In addition to ensuring compliance with federal regulations, drivers may be required to install electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) or electronic logging devices (ELD) in their vehicles. These devices can keep track of metrics such as hours logged and distance traveled. When investigating the cause of a trucking accident, ELDs and EOBRs can play an important role.
This is far from a comprehensive list and accidents often result from a combination of FMCSA violations. Any reduction in a driver’s concentration, reaction time, or ability to control their vehicle can present a substantial risk. If you have questions about your specific situation, it may be time to get a knowledgeable attorney involved.
LEGAL HELP FOR TRUCK CRASH VICTIMS
In the wake of an accident, securing the compensation you need to cover accumulating costs can be on the front of your mind. At Gump & Faiella, we know what you’re going through and can help you to understand your legal options. From determining if a violation of FMCSA regulations led to your accident to negotiating a fair settlement, our Moberly trucking accident attorneys can fight for you every step of the way.
We are backed by 90+ years of collective experience. Call today and discover how we can help.