Driving a tractor trailer is a challenging job. Keeping an 18-wheel vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds under control in the presence of smaller, more vulnerable cars is a job that only the most qualified drivers should attempt.
Many of the truck drivers on the road do a fantastic job and keep their vehicle in good condition, as well as keeping their head clear and focused. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as a number of drivers or trucking companies will operate vehicles that aren’t safe or drive in an unsafe manner.
To help limit these behaviors and the serious tractor trailer crashes they cause, federal motor carrier regulations have been put in place.
Some of the most common motor carrier violations include:
The Hours of Service rules are designed to limit the number of consecutive hours that a truck driver can be behind the wheel. Many drivers are paid by the mile so they have an incentive to keep driving long into the night without stopping for rest. Studies have shown that people who are awake and active for 17 straight hours are as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol level of .05.
Many tractor trailer accidents are caused by drivers who simply aren’t paying attention to the road. Recently, the Secretary of Transportation banned truck drivers from texting behind the wheel. Unfortunately, there is still an abundance of things to distract a driver and cause a serious accident.
In order to make sure the hours of service rules aren’t broken, every driver must keep a detailed log of all his driving. Drivers who try to cut corners and break regulation will often make fraudulent entries in their log books to disguise any questionable practices. Fortunately, other evidence can be found and compared to the logs to check their accuracy. Weigh station and fuel receipts can be obtained and used by an experienced truck accident lawyer to make a timeline of actual events to compare to the logs.
Sometimes a problem is much larger than a single driver who makes a lapse in judgment. Mismanagement by a trucking company can lead to any number of dangerous situations. Accident investigations in the past have uncovered companies that don’t train their drivers properly and hire drivers with a history of accidents and alcohol use. Companies may also try to save money by skipping on vehicle inspections and letting unsafe vehicles out on the road.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of potential violations. It is merely a few of the more common problems that can lead to a serious injury accident. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, contact a Missouri trucking accident attorney as soon as possible to make sure your rights are protected and companies are held accountable for any negligent practices.