Commercial trucks are large, heavy, and difficult to maneuver. They may carry hazardous or unsteady cargo, making their proper loading of the utmost importance. Their drivers must be properly trained and licensed, and the trucks themselves must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis to ensure they are in good working order. With the potential hazard large trucks pose on America’s roadways, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes a number of regulations on the trucking industry to promote the safety of everyone on the road.
Unfortunately, violations do occur. When they do, serious collisions may result. For example:
- Hours-of-Service violations may leave truck drivers suffering from fatigue caused by lack of sleep or from working too many consecutive hours. Truck operators are required to take regular breaks and are prohibited from driving more than 14 hours in a single duty period. They cannot work more than 60 hours within 7 days or 70 hours within 8 days. Other regulations apply as well.
- Failures to perform drug and alcohol testing, or failures to properly censure drivers who have violations of drug or alcohol regulations may lead to drunk driving accidents involving commercial trucks. Commercial drivers cannot operate their heavy trucks with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater, which is half the legal limit for other drivers.
- Overloading a trailer above the legal weight limit can affect the maneuverability of a large truck and may also wear out equipment more quickly, potentially leading to tire blowouts or brake failure.
- Improperly balancing or failing to secure a truck load may present a significant hazard if anything comes loose from the truck and strikes another vehicle or creates an obstacle on a roadway. An improperly balanced load may cause a truck driver to lose control and jackknife or cause a serious collision.
- Failing to perform proper inspections and maintenance on commercial trucks may lead to equipment malfunction, which can easily cause an accident that leaves innocent people seriously injured.
If you were injured in an accident with a commercial truck, an Houston truck accident lawyer at the Lowenberg & Kumar Law Firm can review your case to determine if a violation of trucking regulations was involved. Call our firm at (832) 241-6000 today.