Federal trucking regulations like those established and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are essential in safeguarding the rights of people injured or killed in 18-wheeler crashes. These regulations set operational standards for commercial trucking companies and their drivers that address various aspects of safety, from vehicle maintenance and driver qualifications to working hours and accountability.
Here’s what you should know about FMCSA regulations and how The Bonneau Firm’s skilled Dallas-Fort Worth truck crash lawyer, Hunt Bonneau, uses them to help 18-wheeler accident victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve.
Trucking Company Records Can Help Your Case
The FMCSA requires trucking companies to keep detailed records of their operations, including driver logs, maintenance records, and vehicle inspection reports. After a crash, these records can help us determine liability and hold negligent parties responsible. While it might have been possible for companies or drivers to “fudge” paper logs in the past, the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs), which automatically record driving hours, makes that manipulation much less likely today.
When you hire us, we’ll send a spoliation letter to the truck company. This informs them of their obligation to preserve relevant evidence. After we get these records in discovery, we’ll turn around and use them to build a winning case.
Vehicle Safety Standards
Federal regulations set rigorous safety and maintenance standards for commercial trucks. These standards cover all parts of the vehicle, including brake systems, tires, lighting, and emergency equipment. Ensuring that 18-wheelers are properly maintained reduces the risk of mechanical failures that can lead to accidents.
If the truck’s inspection and maintenance records reveal lax standards, it can help us prove that a failure to adhere to these critical regulations caused the crash and your injuries.
Hours of Service Regulations
Fatigue is a common contributing factor in commercial truck accidents. FMCSA Hours of Service (HOS) rules limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate their vehicle within specific time frames and mandate breaks.
If HOS logs show that the truck driver drove too much or rested too little within a specified period, it can help us show that drowsy driving might have played a role in the accident.
Licensing and Training Requirements
Obtaining and maintaining a commercial driver's license (CDL) requires passing written and skills tests demonstrating the knowledge and abilities necessary to operate commercial vehicles safely. Additionally, ongoing training is needed to keep drivers informed on safety best practices and regulatory updates.
If trucking company records prove that it put the driver who caused your injuries behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer without crucial training or experience, it could help your case.
Vehicle Weight Limits
Overloaded trucks are less stable, have longer stopping distances, and are more challenging to control. All of these factors make them more likely to be involved in accidents.
The FMCSA sets maximum weight limits for commercial vehicles to prevent overloading. If truck weigh-in records reveal that the trucking company failed to comply with these limits, it could help us show why the driver lost control and collided with your vehicle.
Strict Drug and Alcohol Testing
Federal regulations mandate regular drug and alcohol testing for commercial truck drivers. Truckers found to be under the influence are removed from duty until they meet rehabilitation requirements.
If drug and alcohol testing records show that the driver who caused the 18-wheeler crash has struggled with substance abuse, it can help support your claim.
Liability and Insurance Requirements
FMCSA rules dictate minimum insurance requirements for commercial trucking companies, which requires that carriers have sufficient financial resources to cover potential damages in case of an accident. Adequate insurance coverage protects you by providing a source of compensation when an 18-wheeler crash and the resulting injuries turn your life upside down.
We “Get It”—and We’ll Fight for You
After recovering from concussions suffered while playing college football, Hunt Bonneau knows just what it’s like when an injury suddenly makes everything in your life more difficult. He—and the rest of the skilled legal team at The Bonneau Firm—truly “get it.” We’re here to help you fight for the justice and financial recovery you need to meet these new challenges.