In the United States we depend heavily on the trucking industry to move merchandise across the country. Day and night, 365 days a year, tractor-trailers can be seen moving supplies along the nation's highways and byways. For anyone sharing the roadway with a semi-trailer the odds of being involved in a serious injury accident increase due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles. For a motorist who has been injured in a trucking accident some obvious questions come to mind. For example, are trucking companies regulated by the federal government? If so, does a violation of those regulations mean the truck was at fault in the accident? How does a victim prove a violation of a federal regulation?
Because of the increased risk large trucks create on the nation's roadways, the industry is heavily regulated by the federal government. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration, or FMCA, is the federal agency within the Department of Transportation, or DOT, that is responsible for promulgating and enforcing safety regulations for large trucks and busses in the U.S. The FMCA regulations cover everything from truck inspections to driver tests following a crash. "Hours of Service" rules are also within the FMCA's purview. These are the rules that determine how long a truck driver may remain behind the wheel without a rest period as well as how many hours a driver may drive, cumulatively, each week.
A truck driver and/or trucking company faces heavy fines for violating FMCA rules and regulations. A truck and/or driver can even be taken out of service if the violation is severe enough. Whether or not a violation of the FMCA rules and regulations means that a truck is responsible for a collision, however, is an entirely different question. A violation does not automatically mean the truck was responsible for an accident; however, a violation of a safety rule could be used as evidence of negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company.
Records pertaining to a trucking company's violations of federal regulations can usually be accessed by an experienced trucking accident attorney. Those records may then be used to help prove negligence, or fault, in a trucking accident case. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, contact the experienced trucking accident attorneys at Simon & Gilman, LLP right away to determine what legal options you may have.
Unfortunately, these mammoths of the roadway are also involved in a significant percentage of collisions every year in the U.S.