The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that issues federal trucking regulations that apply to commercial trucking nationwide. FMCSA enforces rules that apply to trucking companies, commercial truck drivers, and others in the trucking industry.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, a major part of establishing the liability of the truck driver or company is showing whether there were any violations of FMCSA regulations. Bhatt Law Group has experienced attorneys who know these regulations, and can help you gather evidence to prove whether there were any violations involved in your accident. Contact our Jersey City truck accident lawyers at (201) 798-8000 for a free initial consultation.
Major FMCSA Regulations on Hours of Work
Rules issued by FMCSA determine the limits of how long commercial truck companies can require their drivers to work. The commercial trucking industry is very competitive, and the rising demand for fast shipments from one coast to the other may cause companies to impose unreasonable requirements on their truck drivers to drive longer than what is safe.
Rules prohibit drivers from operating a truck more than 11 consecutive hours without resting for a minimum of 10 hours. Additionally, FMCSA’s trucking regulations require truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after the first 8 hours of a shift. FMCSA issued these rules based on studies that showed the risk of truck accidents doubles between a driver’s eighth and tenth hour of driving. The risk increases again between a driver’s tenth and the eleventh hour of driving.
When drivers fail to follow these rules, they can become fatigued and fail to operate their vehicles properly. That’s when accidents occur. Our knowledgeable attorneys know how to scrutinize truck driver log books to determine whether they were complying with FMCSA regulations while operating large trucks.
Rules for Screening and Hiring Truck Drivers
FMCSA’s regulations also contain requirements for companies in hiring and retaining truck drivers. These requirements include checking a driver’s motor vehicle record, performing complete background checks, and contacting prior employers. Additionally, the regulations also authorize the FMCSA to run a pre-employment screening program that permits motor carriers, drivers, and truck industry service providers to have access to truck drivers’ safety records. These records contain five years of a driver’s most recent crash data and three years of a driver’s most recent roadside inspection data from the FMCSA database.
FMCSA also requires trucking companies to maintain a driver qualification record. In this record, companies are required to review and document a truck applicant’s prior driver’s licenses, experience, and accidents during the last three years. The record must contain any injuries caused by the applicant’s prior accidents, all traffic tickets for the last three years, all prior suspensions, and all prior employers for the previous three years along with the driver’s reason for leaving employment.
Trucking companies are responsible for their drivers’ performance, which includes ensuring that they are appropriately pre-screened before hiring them, are consistently evaluated for any performance issues, and ensuring that they do not operate trucks while fatigued. Failure to follow these regulations may be a basis to hold a truck company liable if one of their drivers causes an accident.
Contact a Jersey City Truck Accident Lawyer After an Accident
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, an experienced attorney can help discover any FMCSA regulation violations that may have caused your accident. We will investigate the accident, review witness statements, and evaluate your entire claim. Our goal is to help you obtain the maximum compensation possible in your case.
Bhatt Law Group has been helping people in New Jersey since 2006, and with our collective years of experience, we can help you navigate the complex FMCSA regulations involved in establishing a truck company’s liability for your accident. We will work closely with you every step of the way. Contact us today at (201) 798-8000 to speak with one of our Jersey City truck accident attorneys.