FMCSA Violations & Truck Accidents
Wrecks Caused by Failure to Follow or Comply With FMCSA Regulations
Truck wrecks or collisions involving large trucks result in thousands of
preventable injuries and fatalities every year. In fact, the number of
truck wrecks has increased by 20 percent over the past two decades. In
an effort to curb the frequency of truck accidents, the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created a set of regulations
designed to protect all drivers on the road, but particularly motorists
who share the road with these large, heavy trucks or big rigs. Unfortunately,
these rules are not always followed.
The following violations commonly result in trucking accidents:
Hours of Service Rules – Drivers cannot drive for more than 11 hours in 14 a consecutive
hour work “day” or on duty period, followed by 10 hours off
duty immediately following the 14 hours on duty. The problem with these
rules and drivers on duty 72 hours each week is that they are often driving
at night for their “work day.” Drivers and trucking companies
who ignore these rules and allow their trucks to be driven while their
drivers exceed their hours or service or are fatigued have a much higher
risk of being involved in a truck wreck, more than 10 times higher than
other drivers, per recent fatigue and sleep studies.
Cargo Loading – Trucks are allowed to weigh up to a maximum of 80,000 pounds.
However, because there is a shortage of truck drivers, some truck companies
try to cut corners by overloading their trailers in order to move more
product faster. Overloaded trailers can easily break an axle during transit,
cause flats and retreads to be thrown from truck axles, which can cause
the driver to lose control of and potentially flip the vehicle. Furthermore,
overloaded trucks require more time to come to a complete stop, so the
driver will have less time to react if he or she needs to make a sudden stop.
Drug and Alcohol Testing – Trucking companies are required to test their drivers for alcohol
within 8 hours following a collision, and within 32 hours for narcotics
following a collision as required by federal regulations. Often this testing
does not occur, and the excuses that truckers, insurers, and trucking
companies offer for these regulatory failures cannot be exaggerated.
Vehicle Maintenance – Trucks drive thousands of miles day in and day out. Because they
see so much use, proper vehicle maintenance is critical. Failing to routinely
maintain a vehicle can cause a premature breakdown of tires or other essential
parts that could lead to an accident. 49 CFR 396.7 Forbids a truck to
be driven if it is likely to break down on the road or being involved
in a collision, but if the wheels don’t roll the money does not
flow for either the trucker or the trucking company.
Determining Liability in Truck Accident Cases
Because there are so many things that can cause a catastrophic injury to
you or your loved one in a truck wreck collision, there are also a number
of parties that can share responsibility for the accident. An injury victim
can pursue compensation from any of these parties depending on the unique
circumstances of their case:
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo
- The manufacturer of the vehicle or any of its parts
- The person or company who leased the truck or trailer from the owner to
assist them in their motor carrier operations because of the shortage
of trucks or drivers to move their contracted freight from the shipper.
Under federal laws and regulations, any company who owns a trucking permit
is responsible for any accidents that occur involving one of its trucks,
regardless of whether a driver is considered an employee or an independent
contractor as a statutory employee. A Georgia truck wreck attorney at
Terry D. Jackson, P.C. can help you determine who can be held responsible
in your case and will stop at nothing in pursuit of maximum compensation.
Have You Been Injured by a Negligent Truck Driver?
If you or someone you know has been injured in a
truck wreck, we encourage you to contact Terry D. Jackson, P.C. Our team is prepared
to review the facts of your case to determine whether one or more FMCSA
violations caused your accident. After we have identified who can be held
liable in your case, we will aggressively pursue the compensation you
deserve for things like property damage, hospital bills, lost wages, and
physical and emotional pain and suffering. We have successfully recovered
more than $100 million in compensation for past clients and have secured
some of the largest verdicts in Georgia in truck wreck cases.
Click here to fill out an online consultation form and we will be in touch with you promptly.