In 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) were established by the federal government to oversee the U.S. trucking industry and promote commercial vehicle safety throughout the nation. However, many truck drivers and trucking companies continue to ignore these safety rules to make shortcuts and protect their bottom line. Unfortunately, refusing to follow these regulations can result in catastrophic and fatal truck accidents.
The following are the most common violations truck drivers and trucking companies commit:
- Alcohol and drug use – Just like ordinary citizens, commercial motorists are not allowed to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drug screen during the hiring process and random drug tests often deter this type of behavior and ensure safety to others who share the road. However, if a driver failed a drug test and continued to drive, both the driver and the trucking company can be held liable for any injuries suffered in a crash.
- Hours of service violations – According to the FMCSR, drivers who are on the road for eight hours straight must take a 30-minute break. If truckers drive 14 straight hours, the must take a ten-hour break prior to driving again. Drivers are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours in a 14-hour day and from driving over 60 hours in a seven-day span or over 70 hours in an eight-day span. Unfortunately, trucking companies keep pushing their drivers to meet unrealistic hours and even go so far as to hide hours of service violations. This type of practice often leads to fatigued driving, which has a similar effect to drunk driving, which can result in a devastating accident.
- Maintenance violations – There are maintenance standards included in the FMCSR to ensure all commercial vehicles on the road are safe to drive. Additionally, drivers are required to inspect their vehicles after each trip. If a truck accident was caused by a failed maintenance check or a malfunctioning component, either the driver or company can be held accountable.
- Loading violations – According to federal law, large trucks are allowed to travel with a combined weight of 80,000 pounds. However, one popular shortcut trucking companies use is adding more weight than lawfully permitted in order to ship cargo in fewer trips. Driving a truck that is too heavy can make it difficult to control and maneuver, which can cause a crash.
- Improper hiring and training – Trucking companies are obligated to ensure the drivers they hire have the proper training and certifications. If a company fails to properly check if a driver fulfills the federal requirement and that driver causes an accident, both parties can be held liable.
If you have been injured in a collision involving a commercial truck in Oklahoma, our Oklahoma City truck accident attorney at the Law Offices of Dan Davis can investigate your collision, collect evidence, and determine whether a federal regulation was violated. If so, we can build a strong case to help you recover your entitled compensation.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.