FMCSA Regulations

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.

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