On behalf of Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers on Thursday, May 16, 2013.
In order to keep our roads and highways as safe as possible, the trucking industry is required to follow a number of safety regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reduce 18 wheeler accidents. Conscientious trucking companies that followed the rules and regulations could ensure that their vehicles are regularly maintained and that their drivers were properly trained.Changes Within The Trucking IndustryIn 1995, Congress took steps to encourage safe driving by limiting the amount of time that truck drivers could be behind the wheel of their vehicles. However, the governing body was unable to successfully introduce the appropriate legislation because of resistance from the trucking industry. In 1999, the FMCSA was born so that Congress could enact the policies that legislators deemed necessary.The result was that truck drivers’ driving hours were to be limited, and their hours on the job were to be electronically monitored rather than recorded by hand. However, these good intentions were interrupted in 2003 when the FMCSA decided to increase the number of hours that truck drivers could operate their vehicles. The regulating body also decided not to implement electronic monitoring.In a bid to increase driver training, the FMCSA began to require that trucking companies train their drivers for at least 10 hours before they are allowed onto the roads. However, the FMCSA never stated that any of this training needed to take place on the highways. Although an appeals court ruled that the trucking industry needed to subject drivers to more training, the FMCSA has yet to write new driver training requirements into law.How The Truck Must Be MaintainedThe FMCSA also set rules and regulations governing how the vehicle must be maintained before it can be taken onto the roads. The vehicle must be subjected to regular inspections and maintenance, and it must receive repairs when necessary. Every part and accessory of the vehicle is required to be in proper working order at all times, and this includes the wheels, rims, steering systems, brakes and axles. Furthermore, operators must maintain a log of when the inspections, maintenance and repairs are performed.A Relaxation Of The RegulationsThe rules and regulations that the FMCSA attempted to implement were meant to increase highway safety. However, the trucking industry has cited NAFTA as the reason that the new laws are unwarranted. Because of increased scrutiny by the government, the trucking industry believed that it was under an unfair disadvantage. The trucking industry was able to successfully lobby Congress to reduce the restrictions, and drivers can now operate their vehicles for longer periods of time.Regulations relating to vehicle maintenance have also seen changes. This means that several different companies may be required to perform some portion of the inspection, maintenance and repairs as described above. With this being the case, the matter can become extremely complicated if an accident occurs that results in injuries. More than one company may be held liable for the truck’s failure to operate properly.Hiring A Truck Accident Lawyer If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler, you will need to be represented by an experienced truck accident lawyer. It can be difficult for you to find out who is responsible for the accident, but an experienced truck accident attorney knows exactly where to look to find the guilty parties. An accident attorney also understands the laws governing the trucking industry and why relaxing the industry’s standards is the reason that more accidents are occurring on our nation’s roads.Contact a lawyer today to learn how an 18 wheel accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation that you rightfully deserve. Truck accident attorneys know what tends to cause accidents between trucks and other vehicles, and they can identify the rules and regulations that have been violated.