The trucking industry is essential to our economy. Large commercial prevalent on our highways. Despite the importance of these vehicles, they can pose significant dangers when drivers, companies, and other employees within the industry fail to put safety first.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the trucking industry. The administration sets forth certain restrictions regarding the overall weight of a truck and how long a truck driver may work on any given shift. Violations of these regulations will not only result in trouble for the trucking company or truck driver, but it can also lead to severe injuries.
As a driver on the road, you should know what regulations exist and how a violation can cause a catastrophic collision. With this knowledge, you can recognize your legal rights to file a lawsuit for negligence if you suffer harm.
Weight Restrictions in the Trucking Industry
The FMCSA dictates the maximum weight capacity of each type of truck. The maximum weight for all trucks regardless of how many axles they have is 80,000 pounds. This total weight calculates all aspects of the truck, including:
- The weight of the truck itself
- The weight of the trailer the truck is hauling
- The weight of the cargo within the trailer
Some roads across the nation may have specific weight limits. It’s vital for trucking companies, drivers, and employees responsible for loading the cargo to adhere to these weight restrictions. Failure to do so makes it challenging for the driver to control the truck in various circumstances.
For instance, a truck that exceeds the 80,000-pound weight limit can lead to a detached trailer accident when the truck driver is trying to traverse a steep uphill. Similarly, a sharp turn with an overloaded trailer can result in an overturned truck. If you’re near these types of accidents, you risk experiencing a severe crash.
The Hours of Service Regulations
Nobody should drive while they feel fatigued. Driving without an adequate amount of sleep impairs your ability to make decisions, react promptly, and focus on the road. For truck drivers, these disabilities are far more dangerous because of their large vehicles.
Each truck driver must log his or her hours of operation, as well as any hours worked before driving. The FMCSA limits how many total hours a person can work and how many total hours he or she can drive.
For example, truck drivers have a limit of 11 hours for driving time. They also have a limit of 14 hours for a work period if they were off duty for at least 10 hours. With that said, if the driver works for 6 hours to set up for his or her transit, he or she may only drive 8 hours to stay within regulations. Violating the Hours of Service regulations can have devastating results.
Necessary Maintenance on All Trucks
The owner of a commercial truck—either the company or driver—must maintain all aspects of the vehicle. They must inspect the vehicle before leaving the warehouse. And they must repair any worn or damaged part of their truck.
Maintenance should include:
- Ensuring the truck’s brakes are safe for operation
- Ensuring the truck’s tires have adequate tread
- Ensuring the truck’s tow hitch is secure and can pull the heavy trailer
- Ensuring the truck’s steering system is working effectively
- Ensuring the truck’s lighting and electrical is working
Maintenance can also include taking the time to ensure the truck is ready for any seasonal dangers.
Delivery Trucks & Negligence
Some companies may utilize delivery trucks, which are much smaller than 18-wheelers. By doing so, the company does not have to adhere to the regulations set forth by the FMCSA. However, these trucks often cause crashes as well.
You should know that crashes involving these trucks can result from negligence. FedEx, UPS, and other companies that use these trucks can face legal action when their drivers cause severe harm in a crash. Just because they don’t adhere to federal regulations like larger semi-trucks doesn’t mean they can act negligently.
At Gaddis, Herd, Craw & Adams, P.C., we know that a truck accident can lead to you suffering significant harm. You shouldn’t have to endure the aftermath of someone else’s negligence. It’s our top priority to help you recognize what legal rights and options you have.
Our Colorado Springs truck accident attorneys will work to determine if the responsible party violated any of the FMCSA regulations. Once we have a clear understanding of the potential cause of your accident, we’ll go through the motions to pursue the justice and compensation necessary to move forward.
Call our firm today at (719) 249-6240 and speak with someone from our team in a free consultation. We’ll be your trusted advocates.