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Frequently Broken Trucking Regulations

Posted on: May 30, 2017 by Edwards & Patterson Law

trucking regulations

There are an estimated 2 million commercial tractor-trailers on the roadways of our nation each day. The trucking industry is vital to our survival, as large trucks transport every manner of goods from producers to consumers. Because these large, heavy vehicles share the nation’s roads with other, smaller vehicles, trucking regulations to ensure everyone’s safety are vital.

Trucking Accidents

While modern passenger vehicles are equipped with state-of-the-art safety features, they are no match against a large truck in an accident. A loaded tractor-trailer outweighs the average passenger vehicle by approximately 75,000 pounds. This disparaging weight difference causes collisions to typically be more dangerous, more violent, and much more likely to cause catastrophic injuries or death.

To protect motorists on the nation’s roadways, the federal government and most states, including Oklahoma, have passed a series of trucking regulations that govern the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency charged with developing and implementing regulations that reduce accidents involving commercial vehicles that cause injuries and fatalities. State regulations may impose more stringent restrictions, but cannot reduce or counteract federal statutes. Violating these trucking regulations often contribute to serious accidents.

Top Violations of Trucking Regulations

There are various factors that can lead to serious accidents involving tractor-trailers. Driver error, vehicle component malfunctions, road conditions, and weather conditions are just a few. However, the FMCSA Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) highlights the following violations of trucking regulations as the top causes of tractor-trailer accidents.

  • Driver Fatigue / Extended Service Hours – The average daily run for a long-haul truck driver is 500 miles. Long, boring hours of inactivity on the road can cause drowsiness, impaired judgment, and slower response times in the event of an emergency. The FMCSA has established guidelines regarding how long a truck driver can stay behind the wheel, and how much time must elapse before driving another shift. Delivery deadlines can put pressure on companies and drivers to exceed these limits and record false driving reports to escape detection. According to the FMCSA study cited above, there are over 20,000 injuries and over 750 fatalities each year due to fatigue-related tractor-trailer accidents.
  • Vehicle Maintenance / Inspections – According to the FMCSA report cited above, the top two vehicle-related factors in tractor-trailer accidents were issues with braking systems and tires. FMCSA trucking regulations require regular inspections and preventive maintenance of all types of over-the-road commercial vehicles. In the study cited above, over one third of the trucks inspected had maintenance violations that would have suspended their being in service until repairs could be effected.

In short, most accidents stem from violations of trucking regulations, which amounts to negligence on the part of the company, driver, maintenance contractor, manufacturer, or other involved parties. In fact, fault may sometimes be assigned to multiple parties.

If you or a family member have been seriously injured in a tractor-trailer accident, it may be due to a violation of trucking regulations. Edwards & Patterson are experienced personal injury trial attorneys, which makes it much easier to negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies in Eastern Oklahoma from our offices in Tulsa and McAlester. Fill out our contact form or call 877-402-7308 for your free consultation.

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