According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,986 people perished in large truck crashes in 2016. Out of that total, 66 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger-type vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), along with individual states, sets clear safety regulations for all commercial vehicles that must be followed in order for 18-wheelers to operate within each state. However, when commercial trucking companies choose to forgo proper protocols by ignoring or barely enforcing these safety regulations, the risk of serious motor vehicle accidents increases – meaning you may have to pay for it.
It is a serious concern that, unfortunately, we here at Cardone Law Firm deal with frequently. Our truck accident lawyers in New Orleans know the ins-and-outs of these safety procedures and have seen firsthand what happens when they are ignored. The good news is you don’t have to fight these negligent companies alone.
Here are the basic safety regulations that commercial trucking companies must follow in order to operate their vehicles. Review them to see if you have been the victim of negligence.
1. Truck Driver Requirements
It is standard protocol for all commercial truck drivers to carry a valid commercial driver’s license, or a CDL. Alongside this license, they must also pass and complete training specific to the type of vehicle they will be operating.
Each driver must also keep a current copy of their medical records within the truck cab at all times, showing that he or she is still physically able to operate their vehicle.
As is encouraged for all drivers, truck drivers should refrain from using their cell phone while driving or doing other things that are considered a distraction.
2. Driving Requirements
It is required that truck drivers log the number of hours and miles they have driven daily. Under federal regulation, truck drivers may work 10 hours of consecutive driving after eight hours off duty, or drive 14 consecutive hours after 10 hours off duty.
3. Truck Insurance Requirements
Interstate trucks, in general, must have at least $1 million in insurance coverage. Within the state of Louisiana, these interstate trucks must carry a minimum of $100,000 depending on the size of the vehicle. In short, larger trucks in Louisiana must carry more value in terms of insurance coverage.
4. Vehicle Requirements
There are plenty of specific requirements that each vehicle must pass in order to be operable. Each vehicle must have:
- A proper brake lighting system and reflector tape.
- Mirrors and vision assistance to cover blind spots.
- Underride protection bars.
- Warning stickers in all the appropriate places.
- Appropriate number of tires and mud flaps.
- Emergency equipment.
- Proper restraints to prevent cargo from shifting or falling, etc.
While this requirement may seem like a no-brainer, it is something that must be enforced to ensure the truck driver’s safety and passenger car safety.
5. Inspection Requirements
Did you know that truck drivers must perform routine inspections of their vehicle before they go out on the road? It’s true.
Commercial trucks must pass maintenance inspection and keep accurate logs of the process. If a truck driver ignored this crucial step, and is involved in an accident, this lack of documentation can be used to prove that they acted negligently.
6. Cargo Requirements
Exceeding weight restrictions on commercial vehicles can cause a number of issues on the axles and the brakes, should the driver come to an abrupt stop. Gross vehicle weight (GVW) ratings aren’t a recommendation, but a requirement to abide by. The GVW rating doesn’t just take the weight of the cargo into consideration but the entire weight of both the cargo and truck.
That is why it is imperative that drivers and loading crews take caution when loading cargo onto a trailer. Ignoring these safety standards can cause very serious accidents that can lead to a wrongful death.
Other regulations exist for the securement and transportation of dangerous substances and chemicals.
Have you been injured in an accident with a large commercial truck? You have rights and the Cardone Law Firm is here to protect them.
With over 40 years of experience, Cliff Cardone has taken negligent commercial trucking companies to court and won millions for those he has represented. With a bevy of experts and vast knowledge of truck accident law, your New Orleans truck accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm have the equipment necessary to bring those that did you wrong to justice.