Commercial vehicles are heavily regulated under state and federal laws. Because of their weight and size, they have the potential to cause devastating injuries to large numbers of people, particularly if an accident involves a rollover or jackknifing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes numerous rules on truck drivers and trucking companies. However, not all drivers follow these rules, and the trucking companies that are supposed to ensure that drivers abide by the rules often look the other way in the interest of profits. If you are injured due to a violation of trucking regulations, Maryville truck accident lawyer Mark Hartsoe is ready to aggressively assert your right to compensation. He has an accident reconstruction team on-call 24/7 and can dispatch them to the scene of your crash to determine its cause.Holding Drivers and Companies Accountable for Violating Trucking Regulations
Commercial trucks often weigh 80,000 pounds. If they are engaged in interstate commerce, trucks of over 10,000 pounds need to be inspected each year for safety by a certified mechanic. The inspection is supposed to cover the brake systems, fuel systems, coupling device, steering, suspension, tires, wheels, lights, and other vehicle parts. An inspection sticker or report needs to be on the truck at all times.
Truck drivers need a commercial driver's license if they operate a vehicle that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of at least 26,001 pounds, a vehicle that needs to have placards for transporting hazardous materials, or a passenger-carrying vehicle that can seat 16 or more passengers, including a driver. They must also obtain a health card signed by a doctor that verifies their physical fitness to drive certain vehicles, such as vehicles with a GVWR of at least 10,001 pounds.
In order to avoid load shifting accidents or accidents involving falling debris, drivers are supposed to follow certain regulations related to loading and securing cargo. For example, trucks hauling loose materials need to have them fully covered by a tarpaulin, in an enclosed space, or secured to ensure that they are not blown off the truck.
Truck drivers who are engaged in interstate commerce or driving across state lines must keep log books that accurately state their hours of service. The trucking companies that hire them are supposed to make sure that the drivers do not violate the hours of service rules. A truck driver needs to be fully alert while operating heavy machinery and able to react appropriately to emergency situations.
Many truck accidents are preventable by following trucking regulations. A driver who violates a safety-related trucking regulation may be liable under a theory of negligence per se. This theory applies when a driver violates a safety regulation, and the violation of the regulation is the cause of an accident of the type that the regulation was designed to prevent. In some cases, a trucking company may also be held directly liable for an accident. For example, a trucking company that failed to review log books for accuracy or noticed a falsification but looked the other way may be liable for negligent supervision if that failure was found to be the cause of an accident. Trucking companies are liable for the negligence of their drivers. They may also be subject to punitive damages if their lack of supervision is reckless.Consult Maryville Lawyer Mark Hartsoe After a Truck Accident
Our firm has the experience to represent you after an accident arising from a violation of trucking regulations. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case with a motor vehicle collision attorney at no charge. Maryville truck accident attorney Mark Hartsoe represents people throughout East Tennessee, including in Knox, Blount, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.