Truck accidents are some of the most damaging motor vehicle accidents to occur in California. Many companies throughout the state depend on large commercial trucks to transport their goods and materials. At the same time, communities throughout California rely on trucks to supply their local businesses with the products they need. Despite their importance to the US economy, large trucks are inherently dangerous vehicles. When truck accidents happen, they often result in damages to multiple drivers. Sometimes the accident causes a chain reaction of smaller accidents behind it and serious complications in determining liability.
If you recently experienced a truck accident, call our office. It’s difficult to determine who is responsible for the damages you sustained. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you determine if the truck involved in your accident complied with all applicable trucking industry regulations.
What Do Trucking Industry Regulations Include?
The trucking industry is a mainstay of the US economy. Because the industry is so big and essential, the US government’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Labor all oversee various aspects of the American trucking industry and uphold specific regulations regarding trucking operations. Additionally, each state has unique trucking laws that all truck drivers and their employers must follow.
Some of the things covered by current trucking industry regulations from these agencies include:
- Hours of service for truck drivers, or how many hours per day a driver may legally drive. The FMCSA upholds hours of service regulations to ensure that truck drivers do not operate their vehicles while they are too tired to drive safely.
- Required break and rest periods for drivers. These regulations also exist to prevent fatigued driving.
- Training and certification requirements for drivers. Commercial truck drivers must obtain commercial driver’s licenses and any other credentials required for the legal operation of specialized commercial vehicles.
- Vehicle safety, including driver safety and mechanical operations of the truck itself.
- Cargo regulations, such as the appropriate manner and method of securing different types of cargo and weight limits.
- Weigh station policies.
- Vehicle maintenance standards, including recording the maintenance history of a commercial vehicle.
- Drug and alcohol testing for drivers.
If you recently experienced a truck accident, your truck accident attorney should carefully review any and all available evidence to determine if the truck driver or the driver’s employer failed to meet certain trucking industry regulations and consequently caused your accident.
Filing a Lawsuit for Trucking Industry Regulation Violations
When negligence involves a violation of applicable trucking industry regulations and results in civil damages to you or a loved one, you need to file a lawsuit to recover the compensation you’re legally due. Luckily, when a trucking industry violation occurs, the incident will generally kick off an investigation from the appropriate oversight agency. For example, if the FMCSA receives a report that a trucking company violated FMCSA regulations, they will investigate the incident and discipline parties found responsible for the violation. These investigations can potentially serve to support civil claims from victims of truck accidents caused by regulation violations.
The first step in pursuing a lawsuit against a truck driver or trucking company for a regulatory violation is to identify the violation and the cause of the accident in question. A truck accident lawsuit for a regulatory compliance issue follows the same basic framework as any other truck accident lawsuit for personal injury damages. The plaintiff must identify the defendant and prove they were negligent in some way that directly resulted in their claimed damages. If a trucking industry regulation violation comes into play, the respective oversight agency may participate in the case to an extent.
Potential Penalties for Trucking Regulatory Noncompliance
When a truck driver, trucking company, or other entity fails to comply with applicable government regulations at any level – and the noncompliance results in civil damages – the party responsible for the violation could face severe professional consequences, government fines, and civil liability for victims’ damages.
Trucking regulations exist to maintain safe driving environments for all Americans and to hold the trucking industry accountable for the high risk their large trucks present on the road. When any party knowingly violates a regulation to save time, increase profitability, or shirk their job duties, they place others at grave risk. If you believe that your recent trucking accident occurred due to another party’s noncompliance with applicable trucking industry regulations, you need to start building a case against them as quickly as possible. Contact the Kreeger Law Firm if you need legal counsel for a trucking industry regulation issue related to a recent truck accident in the Sacramento area.