There are special safety regulations that apply to commercial trucks. These regulations are mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations control how trucking companies operate to ensure safe roadway behaviors. Violation of the FMCSA’s rules could expose a trucking company to liability in a civil case.
What Regulations does the FMCSA Have?
Under federal law, commercial trucks are considered commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Any company that employs the use of CMVs must adhere to the following rules and regulations:
Truckers Can Only Drive for Certain Periods
CMV operators can only drive within specified periods. This regulation exists to prevent sleepiness behind the wheel, which can have disastrous results. These are some of the FMSCA’s hour limit regulations:
- Truckers can drive for 11 hours after being off duty for 10 hours.
- Truckers must take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours.
- Truckers must take 34 hours off after driving 70 hours in a seven-day period.
Truckers Must Submit to Periodic Drug Testing
Alcohol and drug use can make trucking incredibly unsafe. The FMCSA accounts for the risk by implementing strict drug testing guidelines. All trucking companies must test their drivers for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP), and amphetamines. Trucking companies are allowed to test for additional substances, provided they inform their truckers that the FMCSA does not require it.
Truckers that fail these tests must be removed from employment immediately. A positive result must also be reported to relevant authorities.
Trucking Companies Must Maintain Their Vehicles
The FMCSA also provides regulations for the maintenance of trucking vehicles. These prevent defective vehicles (or vehicle components) from causing collisions.
These regulations are as follows:
- Every motor carrier must maintain, inspect, and repair vehicles under its control.
- All trucking components must be in safe, working order at all times.
- Certain vehicular components, such as emergency doors, pushout windows, and emergency door marking lights, must be checked at least once every 90 days.
Trucks are enormous vehicles. If a part or component of a CMV fails, it can have serious or fatal results. Maintenance regulations exist to ensure that trucking companies keep their fleets safe for use. Failure to do so violates the FMCSA’s rules.
For a free legal consultation, call (614) 538-1116
How does Violating the FMCSA’s Rules Impact Truck Accident Cases?
Trucking companies, per a legal precedent called vicarious liability, can be held liable for the actions of their employees. For example, if a truck accident involved a truck driver who was under the influence of drugs, their employer could be held liable if it failed to administer drug tests.
Another example could involve a trucker who was encouraged by their employer to drive beyond the FMCSA’s regulated hours. In this example, after 15 hours of driving, the trucker dozed off, swerved out of their lane, and caused an accident. Even though the trucker caused the collision, because the trucking company failed to enforce FMCSA guidelines, it could face liability.
What Other Parties Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident?
Trucking companies aren’t the only potentially liable parties in a truck accident case. These parties can also violate the FMCSA’s safety guidelines:
- Truck part manufacturers: Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe for use. If a faulty vehicular component causes a collision, the product’s manufacturer could be liable.
- Another driver: Not all truckers cause collisions involving CMVs. Other motorists on the roadways can behave negligently by speeding or cutting off larger vehicles.
How Is Liability Established in a Trucking Accident Case?
Claimants must prove that another party caused their truck accident if they hope to receive a settlement. This process usually involves proving that:
- The liable party owed the victim a duty of care.
- They failed to uphold this duty of care.
- This failure caused an accident.
- The victim suffered quantifiable damages.
Working With a Lawyer After a Truck Accident
It can be difficult to juggle the specifics of a legal case in the aftermath of a truck accident. These accidents can cause serious or disabling injuries. Truck accident lawyers can shoulder the burden of a legal case by:
- Communicating with all involved parties
- Investigating the specifics of a collision
- Providing a case evaluation
- Taking a case to court if needed
- Fighting for the best settlement outcome available
A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Pursue Damages Following a Collision
Truck accident victims can pursue a range of damages, including:
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Reduction in quality of life
- Loss of a close relationship (if the accident involved wrongful death)
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
A truck accident lawyer can act as your legal guide throughout the claims process. If you have questions, they’ll have answers. You can think of hiring a lawyer like having an extra layer of protection between you and any pitfalls that could threaten your case.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer from Bressman Law Today
At Bressman Law, we’ve served personal injury clients for more than 30 years. If you’ve suffered from the negligence of another party in a truck accident, we’re here to help. We can provide you with a free, no-obligation case review. Contact our team to get started.