What Happens When a Trucking Company Violates FMCSA Rules?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces many rules and regulations on trucking, bus, and motorcoach companies. When trucking companies violate FMCSA regulations, the agency may penalize them
When trucking companies' violations of FMCSA regulations contribute to an accident, the trucking company may be liable for victims' damages. If you or a loved one were in a truck accident, your truck accident attorney
should investigate whether the trucking company violated FMCSA rules or guidelines.
Examples of FMCSA Rules Violations That May Contribute to an Accident
There are several FMCSA rules which are clearly in place for safety reasons. If trucking companies fail to follow these rules, they knowingly put their drivers-and those who the drivers share the road with-in great danger.
Some notable FMCSA rules govern:
Drive Time Limits
Truck drivers must abide by FMCSA’s drive time limits
. These limits vary based on certain circumstances, but drivers must take at least a ten-hour break between driving periods.
Depending on certain variables, truck drivers must be on the road for periods no longer than:
- 10 hours
- 11 hours
- 14 hours
- 15 hours
If drivers are on the road for eight consecutive hours without a 30-minute rest, they must
take a 30-minute break. Truck drivers must be aware of these drive time limits and abide by them without exception.
It’s just as imperative that trucking companies monitor and enforce these drive time limits.
A trucking company may enforce drive time limits by:
- Keeping detailed, up-to-date logs of drivers’ routes and hours
- Installing software that monitors drive time and alerts the company when drivers are nearing their drive time limits
- Actively communicating with drivers, ensuring that they abide by drive time limits and take required breaks
- Strictly enforcing drive time policies
A trucking company may be liable every time its driver causes an accident
. If a court finds that a truck driver was not in compliance with drive time limits at the time of the accident, the trucking company may be found negligent-this finding of negligence can affect the total of awards a victim receives.
Drug and Alcohol Prohibition
The FMCSA’s Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act requires trucking companies to test their employees for drug and alcohol use while on the job
Trucking companies must:
- Understand how often they must test truck drivers
- Test the drivers
- Use tests that the FMCSA accepts as legitimate
- Investigate any driver who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Remain in compliance with all other FMCSA policies related to drug and alcohol use by truck drivers
Few issues are as serious as monitoring drivers for drug and alcohol use. We know that using mood-altering substances can greatly increase the risk of accidents. Trucking companies that fail to properly monitor and test drivers are clearly negligent.
When a truck driver receives an inspection request, they must bring their vehicle to the designated location within 24 hours. There are various other benchmarks for inspecting trucks
, and trucking companies must abide by each of these regulations.
If a vehicle defect leads to a truck accident, an attorney should investigate the inspection and repair records for the truck in question.
Failure to regularly inspect, maintain, and repair a truck may:
- Cause brakes to wear down
- Allow tires to wear thin
- Allow electrical problems to persist without correction
- Cause the deterioration of mechanisms that hold cargo in place
- Allow other unaddressed defects to put the truck driver and others on the road at risk of injury and death
Few hazards are as frightening as an uninspected cargo truck traveling down the road at high speeds. These complex vehicles weigh tens of thousands of pounds. Trucking companies must view inspections as a matter of life and death-because they are
Trucking companies must follow many other FMCSA rules. When a trucking company skirts FMCSA rules, they don't just risk fines from the FMCSA. These companies risk causing severe accidents, life-altering injuries, and lives lost.
What Should I Do if I Was in a Truck Accident?
If you were in a truck accident, make your health the priority. If you haven't already received medical attention, do so as soon as possible. Next, you may contact a personal injury lawyer
to pursue a case against a liable trucking company.
A truck accident lawyer can:
- Investigate the cause of your trucking accident
- Identify who is liable for your accident, which may include a truck driver, trucking company, or other parties
- Gather evidence to use during settlement negotiations
- Calculate the cost of your accident-related damages
- Contact witnesses who saw your accident or who saw FMCSA violations by the truck driver or trucking company
Your law firm will formulate a strategy, file your case, handle communications, protect your rights, and negotiate a settlement. If settlement negotiations aren't successful, then your lawyer may proceed to trial.
Having a lawyer handle your case should allow you to focus completely on your recovery. If your lawyer needs you to make a statement or make a decision about your case, they’ll contact you. Otherwise, your lawsuit or insurance claim shouldn’t be a concern
What Damages Can I Get Compensation For After a Truck Accident?
This depends on which damages you’ve suffered.
Your attorney will seek coverage for any accident-related harm you experienced, including:
- The cost of all accident-related medical care
- Pain and suffering, and all necessary treatment
- The cost of vehicle repairs
- The cost of replacing a totaled vehicle
- The cost of temporary transportation
- Lost income
- Lost earning power
- Other professional damages
If your loved one passed away because of a truck accident, you might pursue a wrongful death claim.
Call an Attorney Today to Pursue Compensation for Your Truck Accident
Whether you know you want to file a claim or you have questions about a lawsuit or insurance claim, don't wait to call an attorney. There may be deadlines for filing your case, and there are no obligations when you speak with a truck accident lawyer.
Call a truck accident lawyer today to set up a free consultation.