In the trucking industry, several regulations exist to keep truck drivers and all others on the road free from harm. Unfortunately, some companies and drivers want to meet deadlines, often pushing regulations to the backburner. When they do this, they can cause some of the most devastating crashes, resulting in severe injuries.
As a driver, staying safe is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, as safe as you drive, you cannot prevent others from being negligent, including those in the trucking industry. If you are in a crash involving a truck driver, it helps to know what regulations exist and how the driver or company may have violated the laws within their industry.
Some of the regulations you should know about are:
- The Hours of Service Regulations
- The Weight Restrictions
- The Maintenance and Inspection Requirements
The regulation list is extensive, but any violation can create unnecessary dangers on the road. If you suffer injuries in an accident, you have the right to seek compensation from the negligent party.
The Hours of Service Regulations
One of the biggest problems in the trucking industry is fatigue. In many cases, severe fatigue is equally dangerous as intoxication. As such, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) institutes Hours of Service regulations that limit how long someone can work and how long they may drive a large commercial truck before they must take a break.
The Hours of Service regulations also detail how often a truck driver must take a break, how many hours they must be off-duty, and how many consecutive days they can drive. If the truck driver does not abide by these regulations, they put everyone at significant risk.
Typically, drivers should keep track of their hours. Driving longer can impair decision-making abilities and vision, cause cognitive disabilities, and create several issues that often lead to crashes.
In some situations, drug use comes into play as drivers try to stay up and drive longer. This negligence can also lead to crashes as drug use causes significant impairment.
The Weight Restrictions
Before we detail weight restrictions in the trucking industry, it’s crucial to recognize that maximum weight limits are often dependent on the truck’s total number of axles. However, even the largest trucks can weigh no more than 80,000 pounds. This maximum weight limit includes the truck, trailer, and items within it.
When a truck exceeds the weight restrictions, numerous dangers exist, including the following:
- The heavier weight makes it more difficult for large commercial trucks to stop.
- There’s an increased risk of a jackknife accident.
- The trailer hitch experiences more wear and tear, creating a risk for a detached trailer.
- The truck can turn over on sharper turns, landing on its side and potentially crashing into vehicles around it.
Aside from weight restrictions, trucking companies must also ensure the trailer is evenly loaded. The weight must be distributed properly on all sides to prevent significant problems. An unevenly loaded trailer can turn over much easier or cause more wear on one side of the vehicle than the other.
It’s clear to see just how dangerous trucks are at the maximum weight capacity. Anything above these limits leads to crashes that can cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and other severe trauma.
The Maintenance and Inspection Requirements
Maintenance, inspection, and repair are crucial routines for all drivers on the road, including owners of passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks. For trucks — which can cause some of the most catastrophic damages — it’s even more vital. While most drivers have a regular maintenance routine, trucking companies and drivers should inspect their vehicles before leaving the warehouse.
Inspection should include looking at the engine, steering system, trailer hitch, tires, brakes, and all components that keep drivers and others safe. Inspections can help uncover any issues that may exist for the trucking company to perform necessary repairs. In some situations, replacements may be necessary.
In some cases, the truck may have a defective product from a manufacturer. In these cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the third-party manufacturer for their part in causing a crash. In turn, manufacturers may sue the trucking company for failing to inspect and maintain the parts and remove them from the truck.
Get Qualified Truck Accident Attorneys to Help You
A truck accident is often devastating. The aftermath often leaves victims with emotional trauma, financial hardships, and physical disabilities that may last a lifetime. Because these crashes are so severe, individuals should prepare to take legal action and pursue compensation to move forward in life. You shouldn’t have to endure the reduced quality of life because of someone else’s negligence.
At Walner Law®, we work to obtain compensation when our clients need it most. We are committed to helping you whenever you find yourself dealing with severe injuries. We have significant experience taking on trucking companies and the insurance companies that represent them, working on our clients’ behalf to obtain maximum compensation when it’s needed most.
Our Chicago truck accident lawyers serve as your voice. We build a strong case on your behalf with a focus on your best interests. We help obtain the necessary evidence to build a strategy focused on recovering compensation to cover all losses associated with your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.
We offer free consultations. Call us today at (312) 313-2888 to speak with our team about your options.