Who Can Be Held Liable for Semi-Truck Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were a total of 3,380 people killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2010. Some common causes of truck accidents are tire blowouts, improper loading, faulty brakes and driver error.
What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration?
There are federal laws that govern the trucking industry and establish standards that trucking companies, owners and drivers must meet. These laws are often able to help determine who can be held liable in a trucking accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) exists to protect truck drivers as well as everyone else on the road by reducing or preventing truck accidents. The FMCSA is the sole safety standard by which professional truck drivers and companies are required to follow in the operation of commercial motor vehicles.
The FMCSA has rules governing driver’s license requirements, minimum levels of insurance coverage, how may hours a driver can work and physical qualifications of drivers. Additionally, the FMCSA governs the maintenance of vehicles. Failure to comply with FMSCA standards can result in truck drivers, trucking companies or any parties responsible for maintaining trucks being held liable for damages in trucking accident claims.
Trucking Accidents and Driver Error
There are many ways in which driver error can contribute to trucking accidents. Federal regulations place certain requirements on the number of hours drivers can work. If drivers are overly fatigued, it is possible for them to fall asleep at the wheel or just not pay enough attention to the road.
Additionally, negligent behavior such as reckless driving, speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to watch blind spots or improperly loading the truck can all lead to catastrophic accidents. One negligent practice is de-powering the front brakes of a truck in order to reduce wear and replacement. Such a practice can increase the rick of jackknife accidents.
Truck Accidents and Equipment Problems
Equipment issues can include manufacturing mistakes, such as defective tires or brakes , but are commonly caused by failure to properly maintain all equipment. For example, brakes can fail if they are not adjusted properly. Tires can blowout due to wear and lack of replacement. Improper load distribution can cause a truck to roll over.
Federal regulations require that truck drivers and companies keep maintenance records that show that maintenance has been performed according to schedule. Additionally, drivers are required to perform a daily pre-trip inspection to ensure both the tractor and trailer equipment are functioning properly. This includes the brakes and the tires.
Failure to maintain or comply with product recalls can leave a truck driver or trucking company liable if an accident occurs. Additionally, manufacturers or designers may be held liable for any defective equipment that causes an accident.
Because there may be several parties involved when determining liability for trucking accidents, it is important to speak with an experienced trucking accident attorney. For more information regarding trucking accident liability in Boynton Beach, contact a personal injury attorney at Wolf & Pravato – 1-954-633-8270.