Truck Drivers Who Violate FMCSA Regulations Can Cause Accidents
Commercial truck accidents can happen for a wide variety of reasons, though the majority of accidents occur due to truck driver error. In an attempt to prevent accidents caused by negligent or reckless commercial drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)1 enacts and enforces numerous different regulations with which drivers must comply. If drivers violate FMCSA regulations, they risk discipline up to losing their commercial driver’s license (CDL) completely. The following are certain regulations meant to prevent accidents and injuries caused by commercial vehicles:
Impaired driving – The FMCSA has strict regulations regarding truck drivers and substance abuse. For example, while the legal limit for alcohol for regular drivers is 0.08 percent BAC (blood alcohol content), commercial truck drivers can be prosecuted for drunk driving at 0.04 percent BAC. Additionally, the trucking industry has strict policies against illegal drug use while driving. Unfortunately, many truck drivers report that they have used alcohol or controlled substance such as marijuana or amphetamines prior to driving their large trucks. Such substance abuse is usually due to boredom, depression, or in order to stay awake longer to drive. No matter what the reason behind impaired driving may be, it should never be tolerated since impaired drivers present an extreme risk of accidents and severe injuries to other innocent motorists.
Distracted driving – As previously mentioned, driving a truck all day by yourself can be understandably boring. For this reason, many truck drivers may be tempted to engage in activities that may be distracting while they are behind the wheel. Some distracting activities may include:
* Texting or messaging
* Browsing the internet on a mobile device
* Talking on a cell phone
* Eating or drinking
* Personal grooming
* Having passengers in the vehicle that may be distracting
The FMCSA has addressed the extreme dangers of distracted driving among truck drivers and has enacted regulations2 in response. For example, commercial drivers are completely banned from texting, messaging, or even pressing more than one button on a cell phone in order to make a call. When truck drivers violate these restrictions, they run the risk of causing catastrophic collisions.
Fatigued driving – “Hours of service” regulations3 are set out by the FMCSA to try to prevent accidents and injuries due to overly fatigued truck drivers. Driving a truck along the same monotonous highways for hours or days at a time alone can understandably become exhausting. However, truck drivers often push their limits when it comes to long driving shifts because they can earn more money if they make deliveries faster. In order to reduce the risk of a driver losing focus or even falling asleep at the wheel, hours of service violations require that truck drivers take rest breaks at regular intervals and limit the consecutive days that a driver can work. Despite these regulations, many drivers continue to violate hours of service limits and put other motorists at risk of fatigued driving accidents.
Violating traffic laws – Truck drivers are also bound by all traffic laws and regulations that regular drivers must obey. Unfortunately, many commercial drivers violate traffic laws in the following ways:
* Improper passing
* Failing to yield at intersections or while merging
* Other aggressive driving behaviors
* Failing to use proper signals
* Not using necessary headlights or taillights
* Failing to obey stop signs or other traffic signals
* Failing to stay in a lane
* Other reckless driving behaviors
Every time drivers violate a traffic law, they not only open themselves up to criminal consequences but also to the liability for any accidents or injuries they may cause.
Contact a truck accident attorney at the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater for help today
There is no excuse for truck drivers who violate laws or regulations and cause accidents and injuries. Victims of these accidents deserve to hold the responsible truck driver liable for all of their related losses. If you have suffered injury in an accident with a commercial truck, you should always consult with a lawyer who knows how to handle this type of case. At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, we know how to help victims of truck accidents recover. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756