The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates and oversees the American trucking industry. When commercial carriers and truck drivers violate FMCSA regulations, their negligence can lead to dangerous and possibly deadly truck accidents.
In this blog, we explore some of the most important federal trucking regulations in the U.S. and discuss how a violation of these regulations may have played a part in your New York truck accident case.
What Are Some Examples of Federal Trucking Regulations?
Here are some of the federal trucking regulations with the most far-reaching impacts on commercial drivers and trucking companies:
- Hours of service (HOS) limits– The FMCSA imposes HOS limits to discourage drivers from operating for dangerously long periods. HOS regulations include daily drive time limits, daily and weekly on-duty hours, and regular rest break requirements for commercial drivers.
- Cargo loading requirements– The FMCSA’s cargo loading and securement regulations aim to stabilize commercial loads and prevent collateral damage in truck accidents. Federal cargo loading regulations require cargo to be strongly secured or immobilized by tie-downs and other structures during transit. Specific regulations also apply to logs, pipes, and other specialized cargo.
- Truck inspection requirements– The FMCSA requires motor carriers and drivers to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain their vehicles and all component parts. Carriers are federally prohibited from operating commercial vehicles with known defects that could contribute to breakdowns or wrecks.
- Lower blood alcohol limits– The FMCSA imposes a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.04 percent for commercial drivers operating commercial vehicles, which is half the legal limit in most states. Commercial drivers with BAC levels above 0.04 percent may be subject to serious sanctions, including loss of license and possible disqualification from driving.
What Regulation Violations Could Lead to Accidents?
A violation of any of the federal regulations described above could contribute to a dangerous truck accident:
- HOS limit violations– When drivers violate federal hours of service limits, they may stay on the road for longer than it’s safe to drive. Unfortunately, the trucking industry’s pervasive “pay-per-mile” model can incentivize truck drivers to go as long as they can, increasing the risk of drowsy driving truck accidents.
- Cargo loading violations– Poorly-secured or overloaded cargo can shift during transit and greatly reduce traction, throwing off a truck’s center of gravity and increasing the likelihood of a loss-of-control crash. To make matters worse, unsecured cargo can sometimes pour out in cargo spill accidents that leave behind widespread wreckage.
- Inadequate inspections – When commercial carriers or drivers fail to regularly inspect, maintain, or repair their vehicles, components can break down in transit. If critical parts such as tires, brakes, or steering systems fail, drivers can lose control of their trucks and cause devastating accidents.
- Blood alcohol level violations – Although truck drivers should understand better than anyone the dangers of driving under the influence, studies suggest significant percentages of commercial operators exhibit harmful drinking behaviors, including “binge drinking” and “everyday drinking.” Catastrophic drunk driving truck accidents can occur when drivers exceed federal BAC limits.
Compensation for Injuries Suffered in a Truck Accident
If you were involved in a New York truck accident, you might be entitled to compensation through a personal injury action. Depending on the severity of your injuries and losses, you could receive money to compensate you for:
- Accident-related medical expenses, such as hospital bills and prescription costs
- Incidental costs, such as the costs of traveling to and from medical appointments
- The costs of repairing accident-related car damage or replacing a totaled vehicle
- Lost wages from missed time at work and losses in your future earning capacity
- The intangible costs of the pain and suffering you endured due to the accident
Contact a New York Truck Accident Lawyer
The New York truck accident attorneys of The Mandel Law Firm have extensive experience handling accidents involving truck regulation violations and holding the negligent parties accountable. Contact us today to discuss the details of your New York truck accident case in a free initial consultation.