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What Causes Truck Accidents?

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Examining Common FMCSA Violations 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is dedicated to improving the safety of commercial motor vehicles and preventing the accidents and fatalities they cause. To do this, the FMCSA has a series of rules and regulations that all truck drivers, shipping companies, and other parties related to the transportation of goods must follow.

When drivers, companies, or other parties violate FMCSA regulations, serious truck accidents can occur.

The most common FMCSA violations include:

  • Driving violations
  • Hours of service violations
  • Training and qualification violations
  • Vehicle maintenance violations
  • Parts and accessories violations
  • Hazardous materials violations

We’ve broken down all these categories below to show how they can cause truck accidents.

Driving Violations

Truck drivers are required to operate their vehicles carefully and follow certain rules. When they fail to do so, they can cause serious accidents.

The most common accident-causing driving violations include:

  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Improper lane changes
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper turns
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Railroad crossing violations
  • Failure to obey a traffic control device (i.e. stoplight)
  • Using a hand-held mobile device
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failure to conduct a pre-trip inspection
  • Failure to secure vehicle equipment or load

If you were harmed by any of these negligent behaviors, the truck driver will be (at least partially) at fault. That being said, shipping companies can face liability for the behavior of their employees, so you will likely be dealing with the truck driver’s employer and/or insurance company.

Hours of Service Violations

Drowsy driving is a serious problem in the trucking industry. The FMCSA addresses this problem with hours of service regulations. Drivers violate these regulations by driving more than 14 hours in a day, failing to take their rest breaks, or driving without enough off-the-clock time in between.

Shipping companies will also be found liable if they ask drivers to exceed hours of service regulations to fulfill an order.

Training and Qualification Violations

Operating a commercial vehicle requires both skill and training. As such, shipping companies must ensure the drivers they hire are qualified for the job and trained correctly.

Sometimes, drivers do not have commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) or drive against a suspension. Other times, drivers do not speak English or have the proper skills and certificates to drive.

Undertrained and underqualified drivers cause accidents, and shipping companies are often held liable for the damages.

Vehicle Maintenance Violations and Parts & Accessories Violations

Many drivers and companies rent their trucks from other institutions. Some vehicles are company-owned, and other vehicles are independently owned. Whoever owns the truck must make sure it has the proper parts and maintenance.

If the truck is not properly maintained, the truck’s owner will be responsible for damages. If a defective part or vehicle causes the accident, the manufacturer may be responsible.

Common violations in these categories include:

  • Inoperative turn signals
  • Faulty brakes
  • Problems with tires
  • Oil leaks
  • Windshield wipers that do not work
  • Other parts or accessories in disrepair

Faulty brakes are a significant problem on any vehicle, but in large trucks, something as simple as a turn signal could cause a devastating accident.

Hazardous Materials Violations

In addition to their size and weight, hazardous materials are another risk factor in truck accidents. If a truck driver is carrying flammable cargo, for example, even an otherwise minor collision could lead to an explosion or other complications. Drivers who transport hazardous materials must have special qualifications and place decals on their vehicles.

Hazardous materials violations may not cause accidents, but they can make them much worse. Usually, truck drivers and their shipping companies are responsible for these types of accidents.

Injured in a Truck Accident? Get Legal Help!

As you can see, the causes of truck accidents are more complicated than they seem. Determining liability in truck accidents can be very difficult, but the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli is up to the task.

If you were injured in a truck accident, call us at (516) 628-6402 today for a free consultation. We are available 24/7, and Attorney Gueli is willing to put nearly 2 decades of experience on your side.

Don’t let negligent truck drivers, shipping companies, and the trucking industry take advantage of you. Contact us now to get started.

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