The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces safety regulations, along with other individual state commercial carrier laws, for all commercial vehicles. However, that doesn’t mean that commercial trucking companies will comply, and when they don’t, your safety can be at risk.
In 2016 alone, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded that 3,986 people perished in large truck accidents, and out of that total, 66 percent of the deceased were occupants of cars and other passenger-type vehicles.
When tragedy strikes, your Houston truck accident lawyers at Lapeze & Johns have the experience necessary to keep these commercial trucking companies from taking advantage of innocent victims like you. Remember, you have the right to seek compensation.
Here’s a little insight into the safety regulations that commercial trucking companies must adhere to. Failure to do so can be used to prove their negligence and responsibility in your semi-truck accident.
1. Truck Driver Requirements
All commercial truck drivers must carry a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). Along with a CDL, drivers must complete specific training for the vehicle that they will be using – but that’s not all. At all times, the truck driver needs to keep current medical records in the cab, showing that they are physically able to operate the vehicle.
2. Driving Requirements
Under federal regulation, truck drivers are allowed 10 hours of consecutive driving following eight hours off duty. They are also allowed 14 consecutive hours on the road after 10 hours off duty. Truck drivers must also keep records, updating the number of miles and hours driven daily.
3. Truck Insurance Requirements
Generally speaking, interstate commercial trucks must have at least $1 million in insurance coverage, but in the state of Texas, that requirement is much lower.
If drivers are transporting hazardous wastes, materials or oils, they are subject to $1 million liability requirement.
4. Vehicle Requirements
In order to remain operable, a commercial truck must have:
A properly working brake lighting system and reflector tape.
- Adequate mirrors that provide vision to blind spots.
- Underride protection bars.
- Proper warning stickers.
- Proper amount of tires and mud flaps.
- Emergency equipment.
- The restraints necessary to prevent the cargo from moving or falling.
Although these requirements seem reasonable and relatively easy to comply with, many companies fail to enforce them.
5. Inspection Requirements
Before every haul, truck drivers must do a routine inspection of their truck before they go out on the road. Main points of inspection include:
- Fluid levels (i.e. oil, coolant, fuel, etc.)
- Brake pads
- Trailer suspension
- Inspection of airlines and electrical cords
- Check for exposed wires
- Observation of engine block
Semi-trucks must pass maintenance inspections like these and companies must keep records of the process. If the driver forgets or refuses to do this important step, it can be considered negligence.
6. Cargo Requirements
When drivers exceed the gross vehicle weight rating—or the GVWR—it places a lot of unneeded stress on the axles and on the brakes. This can prove to be deadly should the driver need to make a hasty stop.
Gross vehicle weight ratings are necessary for a reason, namely safety.
The GVWR doesn’t only take into account the weight of the cargo that is in transit, it adds together the weight of the trailer, cab, driver, passenger, and everything in between. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that when loading the cargo into the trailer, that commercial truck drivers—and the companies that they work for—abide by this number. Ignoring the GVWR can result in a terrible accident that causes severe injuries or even a wrongful death.
Let the Houston truck accident lawyers at Lapeze & Johns take care of you.
The truck accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns have taken on commercial trucking companies in court and have won their clients over $385 million. The time has come for you to get the recovery you deserve.
Contact us at (713) 739-1010 today for your free legal consultation.