There is a vehicle collision every 4.4 minutes in the state of Virginia, resulting in an average of 161 injuries and 3 fatalities daily.
To help keep the roads safe, government organizations like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have instituted regulations that commercial truck operators and companies must follow. Here is a framework for determining whether federal trucking regulations have been violated.
About FMCSA Regulations
The FMCSA drafts rules based on national data, including accident reports to determine areas where drivers are vulnerable to injury.
Rules typically pertain to the following areas:
- The number of consecutive hours that can be driven before a break is required
- Requirements for pre-employment screenings
- Frequency of drug and alcohol testing
- Inspection schedules
- Hazardous materials labeling
- Items allowed in or required to be in the truck cab
Common FMCSA Violations
As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong on the road, and the FMCSA monitors and enforces activity to keep roads safe.
Common violations of trucking regulations include:
- Trucker hiring and training violations: Operating a commercial truck takes skill, and it requires a driver to act responsibly. A trucking company that fails to conduct thorough pre-employment checks and training programs can be in violation of the rules.
- Hours-of-Service (HOS) Violations: The hours-of-service rule was passed to help reduce the risk of accidents due to driver fatigue. Therefore, the number of hours a truck operator can drive without a break is limited.
Some trucking companies instill tight delivery schedules or improperly punish or incentivize behavior to encourage a driver to skirt these rules. An electronic logging device (ELD) is now required to monitor hours-of-service.
- Drug testing violations: Pre-employment drug screenings are required, and other instances may trigger a requirement for a drug test. Trucking company employers are required to comply with these rules and document the results of any tests performed.
- Maintenance and recordkeeping violations: Naturally, trucks must be kept in safe, working order to be allowed on the road. The trucking company should ensure proper maintenance is done and be vigilant about recordkeeping to avoid committing a violation.
Determining Whether Federal Trucking Regulations Have Been Violated
Commercial trucking companies tend to hide between insurance companies and a team of lawyers to prevent any information about a violation being discovered. At Geoff McDonald & Associates, we have a system for uncovering the truth that involves a two-part process.
1. Perform and Investigation and Initiate Accident Reconstruction
We work with private investigators and other forensic experts to reconstruct the accident to determine what happened and whether a federal regulation has been violated.
This includes evaluating police reports, witness statements, and other forensic evidence. We also utilize state-of-the-art software to recreate the scene in order to get to the bottom of what likely happened. Using this information, we can often detect whether a regulation has been violated.
2. Download the Black Box
Commercial trucks are equipped with a black box that has a wealth of data about the trucker’s behavior and other activities that occurred moments before and during the accident. Some of the data we can recover include:
- Speed of the truck
- Direction of travel
- Braking activity
- Whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt
- Whether the airbag deployed
We may also inquire about various records that should have been kept according to FMCSA rules about employment and training practices, maintenance, and record keeping.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Truck Accident Attorney Today
Don’t wait to contact a personal injury attorney if you or a loved one has been injured due to a commercial truck driver’s negligence. We will thoroughly investigate the accident to determine if you have a case, and there is no fee unless we win. Contact Geoff McDonald & Associates for a free consultation.