Truck Accident Lawyer
As a truck accident lawyer can share, the trucking industry is a crucial component of the United States economy as the industry is integral to the movement of goods across the country. There are millions of trucks on highways and interstates across the country. However, safety should be crucial for truck drivers and others who share the road. As Schehr Law, PLLC wants victims and their loved ones to know, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces strict trucking regulations to reduce the risk of accidents involving large trucks. However, while stringent regulations are in place when these are not adhered to, the results can be devastating should an accident happen.
Federal Trucking Regulations
Federal trucking regulations are established and enforced by the FMCSA, a division of the United States Department of Transportation. The FMCSA aims to address three critical aspects of the trucking industry:
#1. Driver Qualifications
Operating a commercial truck requires drivers to carry a Commercial Driver’s License. To obtain a CDL, drivers must pass written and practical tests, demonstrating their knowledge of truck operation, traffic laws, and safe driving practices. In addition to the extensive testing process, the FMCSA also mandates strict background checks, driver record reviews, and drug and alcohol testing. Additionally, drivers must also be able to meet specific physical and medical requirements to ensure their ability to operate large trucks safely.
#2. Vehicle Standards
Another critical regulation in place are standards that pertain to design, construction, and maintenance. Vehicle standards require commercial trucks to have specific lighting, braking systems, tires, and vehicle weight. In addition, safety devices must be installed, such as rear view mirrors, reflective mirrors, reflective markings, and anti-lock braking systems, to reduce the likelihood of accidents.
#3. Operational Practices
There are also regulations regarding truck driver operations and how they should be operated. These regulations are critical to the safety of the driver and other drivers on the road. Operation regulations include:
- Limiting the time a driver can work in a day to prevent fatigue.
- Regular drug and alcohol testing.
- Keeping clear records of vehicle inspections and maintenance.
Accidents Involving Commercial Trucks
Although federal regulations are in place to reduce the chance of an accident, accidents involving large trucks still happen, and unfortunately, when they do, they produce catastrophic results. According to the FMCSA, large trucks were involved in approximately 164,000 crashes in 2019, resulting in nearly 5,000 fatalities and around 110,000 injuries. Factors contributing to these accidents include:
- Driver Fatigue
- Mechanical Failures
- Reckless Driving Practices
Because of the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, the likelihood of a severe accident resulting in injuries and fatalities dramatically increases. While regulations have significantly reduced the number of commercial trucking accidents, there are still instances where trucking companies and drivers circumvent regulations to meet tight deadlines or cut costs.
While the FMCSA has played a vital role in regulating the trucking industry, ultimately making highways safer, there is still significant risk associated with drivers sharing the road with commercial trucks. When a driver falls victim to an accident at the hands of a large truck, their lives will never be the same. It will be imperative for victims to seek help from an experienced lawyer to ensure their rights are protected, and a lawyer can help by working to hold responsible parties accountable and negotiating compensation for damages the victim may be entitled to.