When Are Trucking Companies Liable?

Posted in Truck Accidents on January 25, 2022

To keep everyone safe on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted several rules and regulations for commercial truck drivers. Trucking companies and their drivers have a responsibility to follow these laws, which include hours-of-service rules, weight limits, and training requirements.

Unfortunately, some trucking companies ignore these laws and commit illegal acts, putting all motorists at risk of a dangerous accidents. If you are injured in an accident and believe that a trucking company’s negligence is responsible, you may be eligible for legal action. A McAllen personal injury attorney can help you determine liability in your case.

Common Types of FMCSA Violations

FMCSA regulations fall into four general categories: hiring rules, loading rules, hours-of-service regulations, and maintenance rules. These laws are in place to ensure that companies keep their vehicles in safe condition, hire properly trained drivers, and follow best practices for day-to-day operations. If a trucking company violates any of these rules, serious accidents can occur.

Poor Maintenance

Trucking companies have a duty to regularly inspect their vehicles and perform routine maintenance. If an issue with a truck is defected, the company has a responsibility to repair the vehicle. Unfortunately, some trucking companies fail to maintain their vehicles, allowing trucks to fall into disrepair. Poorly maintained vehicles can malfunction or break down, leading to an accident.

Negligent Hiring Practices

People who drive commercial trucks must hold the proper commercial driver’s license. The trucking company must ensure that the people they hire are properly licensed and have the right training to safely drive a vehicle. In some cases, trucking companies fail to screen their drivers and hire improperly trained or unlicensed employees.

Improper Cargo Loading

According to FMCSA rules, commercial trucks must weigh 80,000 pounds or less if they cross state lines. However, some trucking companies fail to follow these regulations and load more cargo than allowed.  

If a truck is carrying more cargo than allowed, it can be too heavy for the driver to stop safely or maneuver on the road. The added weight could also put too much pressure on the truck’s components, heightening the risk of an accident. Additionally, improperly secured cargo could fall out of the vehicle onto the road, leading to a collision.

Hours-of-Service Violations

Fatigued driving is very dangerous, and truck drivers who travel long distances can sometimes fall asleep at the wheel. In order to avoid these types of collisions, the FMCSA sets limits on the number of hours that a trucker can drive. 

For example, driver who carry property can drive for up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. After coming on duty, drivers must take a 30-minute break for every 8 consecutive hours that they drive. They may not drive after 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty.

In some cases, trucking companies force their drivers to follow tight schedules and drive for a very long time without a break. As a result, drivers have to violate hours-of-service regulations to meet their employers’ requirements.

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Legal Options for Texas Truck Accident Victims

If you are injured in a truck accident and believe that a trucking company’s negligence is responsible, you have the right to pursue legal action. You could file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the company as well as the driver.

In these situations, you need a lawyer who can represent your case and help you recover the compensation that you deserve. As soon as possible following your accident, contact a McAllen truck accident lawyer to discuss your next steps.