How the FMCSA Protects Victims of Trucking Accidents

Dallas Trucking Accident AttorneyAnyone who lives in a  large metropolitan area, like Dallas or Fort Worth, knows that large trucks are an everyday occurrence.  A car accident is bad enough.  But when a large truck is involved, the stakes are much higher.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), approximately 415,000 crashes involved large trucks in 2015.  Of those trucking accidents, over 3,500 resulted in a fatality.  Those are sobering statistics.  Fortunately, the FMCSA has provided rules and restrictions designed to keep drivers safe on the roads and protect those who unfortunately injured in a trucking accident.

Fatigued Truck Drivers

Have you ever been on the road and seen a large truck swerve from side to side?  It’s probably fair to assume that the driver may be sleepy or otherwise fatigued. Fatigued truck drivers can quickly lead to life-threatening accidents on the road.  This is why the FMCSA has enacted regulations that specifically to avoid fatigued driving.  These include limits on work shifts and required rest breaks for all truck drivers.

For instance, a commercial driver cannot exceed 14 hours of consecutive driving hours during any shift. Once the driver has completed a shift, they are not allowed to resume driving for 10 consecutive hours. There are also restrictions that prohibit driving certain commercial vehicles for more than 70 hours in any consecutive 8 day period.

These regulations are intended to keep truckers and fellow motorists safe.  However, they also allow an experienced Dallas accident attorney to properly investigate cases for victims of trucking accidents.  The goal, of course, is to hold negligent truck drivers and their companies responsible for regulatory violations that directly cause an accident.

Electronic Logging Device (ELD)

Other provisions of the FMCSA provide for the mandatory use of “electronic logging devices” (“ELD”s) in commercial motor vehicles. These devices are designed to automatically create an electronic record that logs a truck driver’s driving times and service hours. The record generated by an ELD provides a documented log of status updates, service hours and shift times. According to Part B §395.8 (“Driver’s Record of Duty Status”), the record of duty status must be recorded for each 24-hour period in which those recordings are required.

No motor carrier or driver is permitted to disable, deactivate, or otherwise interrupt an ELD’s operation. Additionally, the truck driver is required to keep their own log and make certain entries throughout their shift.  The information from these ELDs and driver’s log can provide substantial data and information regarding any potential rule violations.

How Can the FMCSA Code Help Victims of Trucking Accidents?

The purpose of the FMCSA is to make sure commercial trucks are being operated in a safe and responsible manner. If these rule are violated, it could lead to disaster.

The regulations enforced by the FMCSA can provide the information necessary to determine if a truck driver is liable for an accident.  Therefore, an experienced trucking accident attorney is your best bet if you are the victim of an irresponsible truck driver.  Your attorney will first obtain the available information on the driver’s status.  Then, your attorney will use the information to get you the recovery you deserve.

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