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When you’re a driver or passenger in a car that collides with a large truck, your accident case takes on a whole different aspect than most auto accidents. Here’s why ─ the federal government holds the trucking industry to high regulatory standards for vehicle maintenance, truck driving and company operations. The reason for such tight regulations is to safeguard our roads and prevent accidents. Semis and 18-wheelers pose a significant threat to other motor vehicles when they are not properly maintained and driven safely.
The agency that oversees regulation of the trucking industry is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Violations of FMCSA rules and regulations point to negligence on the part of a truck driver and/or trucking company. When attorneys file an accident lawsuit against parties in a truck accident case, identifying violations is often a key litigation strategy. Some types of violations that lawyers investigate are:
- Hours of service violations. Depending on whether the vehicle is property carrying or passenger carrying, drivers are limited to driving a certain number of hours per day for a consecutive number of days. Driver fatigue can lead to accidents and exceeding these driving limitations is a violation.
- Drug and alcohol testing failures. Employers are responsible for ensuring drug and alcohol testing is administered and for reporting the employee’s test results. Truck drivers who refuse testing or fail tests are in violation of the regulations as are companies who fail to require testing or report test results.
- Inspection, repair and maintenance violations. Systematic inspection, repair and maintenance of motor vehicles and intermodal equipment must be done, with all parts and accessories kept in safe operating condition, including frames, frame assemblies, axles, wheels, rims and steering systems.