Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys: Truck Maintenance Safety Regulations
For more than 30 years, government agencies have been coming together to conduct roadside inspections of tens of thousands of commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. The annual event is held over a three-day period in the summer, and trucking companies have several months’ notice about when the inspections will occur. Despite having advance warning, the annual Roadcheck typically results in about one in five of inspected vehicles being immediately pulled from service for vehicle safety problems. Topping the list are problems with brake systems, brake adjustments, tires and wheels, and unsecured cargo – problems so severe the big rigs are immediately hauled off the road. Even among semis hauling hazardous materials, well over ten percent are put out of service, including about 40% for improper loading and securement of dangerous materials that would cause catastrophes to human life and the environment if they got loose.
Trucking companies are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a government agency charged with reducing truck crashes on America’s roads and highways. Sadly, motor carriers by the thousands fail to comply with commonsense rules for truck inspection, repair and maintenance, leading to thousands of needless truck accidents when tires or brakes fail due to the carrier’s negligence.
Trucking companies do more than just ignore their duties under the law. Some go to great lengths to hide their noncompliance by falsifying records and logs to evade detection. When these bad actors are responsible for a truck crash in Atlanta, the truck accident attorneys at Durham Law Group go to equally great lengths to uncover their wrongdoing and hold them accountable to the people they have harmed. Our team of experienced and successful Atlanta personal injury lawyers work to bring responsible parties to justice and help our clients get the medical care and compensation they need and deserve after being injured in a preventable truck accident. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an Atlanta truck accident, call Durham Law Group for a no-cost consultation to discuss your options.
Semi-Truck Inspection, Repair and Maintenance
FMCSA regulations require “systematic inspection, repair and maintenance” of commercial vehicles by the motor carrier. The regulations don’t specify what intervals are required, as these can be fleet specific or vehicle specific. It’s up to the carrier to set appropriate intervals. The carrier is required to keep inspection, maintenance and repair records for at least 30 days. Regardless of whether these activities are conducted in-house or by a third-party, the carrier is solely responsible for ensuring that the vehicles under its control are in safe operating condition and that defects have been corrected.
Truck drivers are also required to complete an inspection at the end of the day’s work and prepare an inspection report to make a record of the inspection.
Inspection of Cargo, Cargo Securement Devices and Systems
Cargo that is improperly loaded can become unbalanced during transit, shifting the weight in the trailer. This shift can initiate a disastrous rollover or jackknife accident. A load that is improperly secured or sealed could also cause the trailer to become unbalanced, or the cargo could fall of the flatbed or out of the trailer, an event likely to cause a multi-vehicle accident on the highway. The driver or other trucking company personnel might be personally loading and securing the cargo, or the shipper might load and seal the cargo. Ultimately, the motor carrier is responsible to ensure proper loading and securement under FMCSA regulations. The driver does not have to personally load, block, brace and tie down the cargo, but drivers should be familiar with the methods and procedures for securing cargo in case they have to adjust the cargo or load securing devices in transit.
Inspection of Other Tractor-Trailer Components
FMCSA regulations cover a long list of semi-truck components with specific safety standards for every part. Regulations cover all the following areas of an 18-wheeler, among others:
- Lamps and reflective devices
- Wiring systems
- Brake systems
- Truck and tractor window construction
- All fuel systems
- Liquid fuel tanks
- Coupling devices and towing methods
- Sleeper berths
- Exhaust systems
- Warning flags on project loads
- Seats, seat belt assemblies and anchorages
The Importance of Safety Regulations in an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawsuit
State and federal regulations are in place to keep drivers safe from truck crashes. When a crash is linked to a violation of regulations by the driver or carrier, that failure to comply is a clear example of negligence and liability for the trucker or trucking company. Truck drivers and motor carriers know this, and it’s not unheard of for guilty parties to fill out or change records after the crash to hide the fact they were out of compliance with a safety reg, and the accident was the result. At Durham Law Group, our Atlanta truck accident attorneys come from many different backgrounds and experiences when it comes to digging up evidence, putting together a case, and persuading an insurance company or jury of an appropriate amount of compensation. We understand the important role FMCSA or Georgia trucking regulations can play in an Atlanta truck accident lawsuit or settlement negotiation and will use all means at our disposal to help our clients get the full amount of compensation they need and deserve after a serious crash.
Call Durham Law Group Attorneys After a Truck Accident Injury in Atlanta
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an Atlanta truck accident, call Durham Law Group for a free consultation at 404-845-3434. There is no fee until we recover for you, and our fee comes out of the amount we recover, so you never have to worry about paying out-of-pocket to afford high-quality legal help with your truck accident claim.