The Dangers of Trucking Accidents: When Regulations Matter
Though there are many regulations in place that promise to protect us on the roadways, rules are still broken every day in the U.S., and commercial trucks bring us more harm, from injuries to fatalities. With the federal government overseeing trucking regulations, we tend to believe that the roadways will be safe from all harm, but this is not always the case. Today we’ll take a closer look at federal regulations that are frequently broken, and how we can help if you have been injured in a trucking accident.
Some rules are broken more than others. The U.S. government’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) helps regulate the trucking industry and improve upon the standards to ensure that all trucking taking place on our roads is safe. However, as we know, not every accident will be totally preventable, which is why we refer to them as accidents. Trucking companies and drivers alike are caught refusing to obey regulations every single year in the United States, which can lead to penalties like fines, loss of job, and more when accidents happen and somebody is injured or killed.
Most of the violations that occur today are organized into four categories, from hours of service rules to rules in maintenance and more. Let’s take a look at them:
Hours of Service: FMCSA has passed many regulations over the years that state how much driving a truck driver is able to legally do within a week. This is to keep drivers from being distracted or falling asleep at the wheel. Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break every 8 hours, with a full stop from driving after 14 hours on the road. A 10-hour break full of rest and eating much take place before you’re allowed back on the road. In 7 days, drivers are not permitted to drive more than 60 hours. When they complete these 60 hours, they have to take a break for 34 hours in a row. Sound confusing? These regulations are meant to keep drivers who share the roads safe, as they ensure that all drivers are feeling refreshed.
Maintenance: Maintenance standards ensure that every truck on the roadways is safe, which means general and everyday upkeep and care. This means that lighting, brakes, and tires, as well as many other systems, should be cared for. Driver training shows drivers how they must inspect everything and never look for shortcuts because driver’s safety is in the mix.
Loading: Loading rules should never be violated, which means that large trucks can only have 80,000 pounds for interstate travel. Axles and tires breaking from weight could lead to catastrophic accidents and injuries for everyone involved. There are also regulations that show how cargo must be secured so that it does not fall off and cause an accident on the highways.
Hiring: Lastly, if a driver has a poor record or could be driving unsafely behind the wheel because they are using drugs or alcohol, they are not permitted to be a driver. It is illegal for companies to hire truck drivers with bad records. This means that they must be deemed medically fit to drive as well, and undergo random drug tests and background checks. As far as medically fit is concerned, this also means that drivers are now checked for the sleep apnea condition, which could cause them to fall asleep at the wheel.
We understand that you may be feeling confused if you have been involved in a trucking accident and have sustained serious injuries. These accidents can be life-changing, which is why you need an attorney on your side when federal rules have been violated. Call us at the Los Angeles Injury Group for more information on how we can help, at 310-954-7248.