The FMCSA has imposed strict limits on how many hours a commercial driver may be behind the wheel to prevent fatigue.
If you’re a regular Florida driver you may have been involved in some fender-bender or a parking lot collision. You know how it goes – you go to your insurance company, they give you a few thousand dollars to fix the car and it’s done. Not much to it, isn’t it? Truck accidents are nothing like a crash between two passenger cars. Truckers must obey the same traffic rules as you, but there are other rules you need to take into account.
Trucking companies and commercial drivers must abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations which govern many aspects of this vital industry. You’re not expected to know FMCSA rules since you’re not in this business, but you should at least talk to someone who does, like an experienced Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer.
Good knowledge of federal safety rules can make all the difference in a truck accident claim as it allows your lawyers to establish the true cause of the crash and who must be held accountable for your damages.
Let’s have a look at the most important FMCSA regulations that can impact your accident claim.
Trucking companies must provide adequate vehicle maintenance
When coming back from a trip, a truck driver must report any problem and the company must have it checked out. If the brakes keep playing up or there’s a check engine light that keeps turning on, the company must look into it and repair or replace the faulty part. Only this costs money and the truck is off the road for a few days, so the company will just ignore the problem. The next day the trucker and his truck will be on the road again, but this time the brakes may fail completely. If you’re injured in such a crash, you have every right to hold the trucking company liable for damages.
To do that, your Florida truck accident lawyers may need to bring in experts to examine the vehicle. They may also hire accident reconstruction experts to understand what happened there on the highway.
Truckers must abide by Hours of Service Regulations
The FMCSA has imposed strict limits on how many hours a commercial driver may be behind the wheel to prevent fatigue. Truckers cannot be on duty for more than 14 hours, followed by 10 hours of rest. Those 14 hours the trucker is on duty include the time needed to inspect the vehicle and deal with the paperwork, and he is not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours.
Your attorneys will have to check the driver’s schedule for the previous week and examine the data on the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) to see how many hours the trucker had been on the road when he hit your car. If it turns out the man had been driving for 16 hours, that’s a violation of FMCSA rules and your truck accident lawyers will want to know what prompted it. If the trucking company had imposed an unrealistic deadline and told the driver that cargo needs to be delivered the next day no matter what, it will have to pay.
Truckers must be fit for the job
Being a truck driver is a taxing job and it takes a heavy toll on the trucker’s health. However, commercial drivers must have medical clearance in order to drive. Certain prescription medications can interfere with their capacity to drive and let’s not even mention the illegal substances many truckers use to cope with their health issues and to combat fatigue.
Also, trucking companies must subject their employees to random drug and alcohol tests. If they choose not to and you’re hit by an intoxicated driver, you have the right to file a personal injury claim with the company’s insurer or sue them.
There is a lot of pressure on the trucking industry these days, but a company cannot be allowed to put profits before the safety of other road users.