June 20, 2022 Posted In Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of regulating the trucking industry as a whole. To reduce the risk of an accident, the FMCSA has established and enforces commercial regulations. When a trucking company violates these regulations, it can lead to written warnings, fines, other penalties such as license suspension, and liability for any harm they cause.
Here are a few ways how trucking companies can violate the law:
Truck drivers are allowed to work 14 hours of a 24-hour period, drive no more than 10 of those hours in total, and no more than 8 consecutive hours without taking a 30-minute break. Trucking companies can violate this law by encouraging drivers to forgo breaks and meet their deadlines.
Commercial trucks must be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained. Since the FMCSA does not specify an interval, it is up to the trucking companies to determine the type of inspection schedule they need to keep their trucks in good operating condition. If a company fails to inspect, repair, and maintain their vehicles, they are breaking the law. Many parts on commercial trucks, such as tires, wear down quickly. If older parts are kept in service for too long, it can lead to a part failure which often results in an accident.
Records of all inspections of all trucks must be kept for at least three months from the date of each report—the failure to do so is a violation of federal regulations. If the company knew of defects or should have known and did not promptly address the issue, they can be liable if it was a contributing factor in an accident.
Trucking companies ultimately bear responsibility for the safe operations of their trucks, including their cargo. If a trucking company witnesses or participates in the loading of a truck, it can be liable for breaking the law and for an accident caused by their failure to ensure the cargo was properly secured and/or distributed.
If you witness a commercial truck that is an immediate danger to others on the road, call 911. For example, if the driver is behaving recklessly, falling asleep, or you see cargo shifting and about to fall, etc. Law enforcement will attempt to track down the truck based on your information and description.
You then have 90 days to file a complaint to the FMCSA. That can be done online or by calling 888-DOT-SAFT. Your complaint will be investigated, and if any violations are found, the company may face hefty fines and possibly their operating license being suspended.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident caused by a truck driver’s negligence and/or an FMCSA violation, contact Hanson & Mouri. Our San Bernardino truck accident lawyers can review your case in a free consultation and discuss your legal options.