Many trucking accidents happen due to the failure of truck drivers and trucking companies to comply with the regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the FMCSA. These rules and regulations were put in place back in 2000 to help in protecting the safety of other drivers and civilians on the road. Since these rules are enforced by the law, they have to be followed by all trucking companies country-wide. When these rules are ignored, courts are most likely to punish the trucking companies by awarding the victims with extra damages. This is because failing to comply with these regulations puts the innocent lives of others at risk. Here are the 4 most common FMCSA rules to get violated resulting in accidents.
1. Maintenance Regulations and Rules
The maintenance rules and standards are established so that trucks can perform safely on the road and avoid harming pedestrians and other drivers. Trucks are designed to run thousands of miles for decades, however, these regulations were established to ensure the utmost safety for everyone on the road. They are also set in place to make sure that these trucks don’t cause any problems or damages on the highway. Therefore, these vehicles need frequent repairs on the tires, brakes, lighting, and other systems. This can be done by performing periodic inspections on these systems to make sure they operate properly. Drivers hired by trucking companies should also be trained to recognize underlying issues within their vehicles’ systems before any of the elements fail to function on the road. For example, tires are usually an overlooked element by trucking companies since they wear down within a short time. This leads to various driving issues for drivers and puts the lives of many at risk.
2. Loading Regulations
Large trucks are limited to a total weight of 80,000 pounds for interstate travel. Unfortunately, these loading rules are frequently violated which causes most trucks to be too heavy to brake suddenly or maneuver properly. Not to mention how the added strain on each of the truck’s tires and axles can lead the truck to break down and cause an accident. Aside from HOS violations, loading regulations are the most violated among other FMCSA rules. There are also standards in terms of how cargo should be secured and loaded into trucks. This is because trailers need to be loaded evenly, especially when it comes to controlling where the cargo’s center of gravity should be placed. If this is not done correctly, driving the vehicle can become dangerously difficult for the drivers causing them to drive unsafely.
3. HOS Rules
HOS or Hours of Service rules enforced by the FMCSA dictate when drivers should drive, take breaks, and finish their duty. All workers need consistent breaks and humans, in general, need sleep and short attention spans. As advised by skilled attorneys, following the standards established by these federal trucking laws ensure that drivers are well-rested in order to drive safely. While trucks can perform smoothly under pressure for miles and for extended hours, humans cannot. The FMCSA rules state that drivers need at least a 30-minute break every 8 hours of duty. They also state that drivers must take 10 hours of break or rest before they can return to their next duty. During their duties, drivers should not drive more than 11 hours and the total duration for their shifts should not exceed 14 hours. Disobeying these HOS regulations leads to tired and careless drivers who threaten the lives of many people on the road. However, like many other trucking regulations, many companies violated the rules of Hours of Service and put their drivers under a lot of stress while driving.
4. Hiring Rules
It’s illegal for companies to hire truck drivers with bad driving records or any problems that can make them drive unsafely. For example, if they have a history of Driving Under the Influence. While some of the rules regarding hiring drivers with poor driving records may not be listed in the FMCSA’s regulations, their violation can lead to road damages and accidents. This is why trucking drivers need to acquire a commercial drivers’ license, or a CDL before they apply for this position. They must prove that they meet the FMCSA’s standards in order to be seen as safe drivers.
The rules and regulations placed by the US government’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are designed to protect both truck drivers and other drivers and civilians on the road. While these rules are enforced by the law and must be followed, many companies fail to comply with the FMCSA rules and put their drivers and other drivers at risk. Truck drivers need to be educated on how to detect system failures within their vehicles and they need to take consistent breaks in order to drive safely and avoid road accidents.