Whenever someone is in a car crash with a tractor-trailer or semi-truck, most people assume the truck driver was negligent. There is good reason for it too! Truck drivers spend long hours on the road and – for the most part – they are on the honor system to make sure they take the appropriate breaks to prevent driver fatigue. A majority of truck drivers simply write down the hours they are driving to “prove” they are following federal regulations. Like we said – honor system.
The vehicles themselves are incredibly heavy and travel at high speeds, which makes them extremely dangerous and even deadly to the cars and pedestrians around them. Sometimes accidents are caused not by the driver, but instead by a mechanical issue. Companies are required to regularly inspect and maintain commercial trucks. However, if they fail to maintain these vehicles, then they may be held liable for the damages caused in an accident due to negligent maintenance.
All vehicles need routine inspection and maintenance to ensure they are safe for the road. This is even more true for large, heavy commercial vehicles. Tractor-trailers and semi-trucks have significantly more gears, gauges, and levers than a compact sedan. As such, it requires special training to be able to operate the truck safely. Not only that, but that is a lot of moving pieces, so inspecting and maintaining the vehicle takes special know-how as well. Without proper training, it would practically be impossible to keep a vehicle like that road safe.
Given the potential for grave damages if tractor-trailers fail on the road, there are federally regulated standards of care in attempt to avoid any accidents caused by negligent maintenance. The truck driver, owner, and maintenance company all have a responsibility to make sure the truck is safe. Additionally, semi-trucks have to be fully inspected every year. Plus, maintenance records and inspections records need to be kept so there is a comprehensive report of every vehicle on the road.
The FMCSA is the government organization that created and oversees interstate commercial trucking regulations. The goal is to make sure all commercial vehicles are properly maintained to keep everyone safe on the road. While there are many purported regulations, a few of the regulations require:
The idea is that daily or near-daily inspections of large tractor-trailers should help prevent severe, catastrophic accidents. It is very common for the reports to either be “lost”, created after an accident, or fabricated all together. If the company and/or driver fail to properly inspect the vehicle before a trip and it suffers a mechanical issue that causes an accident, they may be held liable for negligent maintenance of their vehicle.
That’s why it is important to get an attorney involved immediately after an accident involving a semi-truck. We can help prevent the destruction or alteration of vital records.
Common maintenance problems that cause tractor-trailer accidents are:
If driver or the company ignores a problem or fails to inspect or regularly maintain the vehicle, the results can be catastrophic for everyone on the road. Recent Texas legislation has made it increasingly more difficult to pursue action against a company after an accident, so it is important that you act right away. If you or someone you know was involved in an accident with a semi-truck or tractor trailer, contact us for a free case evaluation!