In 2014, over 2.5 million tractor-trailers were registered in the United States. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucks travel billions of miles every year and carry tons of cargo to destinations all across the country. With such heavy use, it is not surprising that commercial vehicles require frequent maintenance. In fact, the FMCSA requires drivers and owners to routinely inspect and maintain trucks to promote safety on the road. However, these mandates are often ignored, leaving worn-out and damaged trucks sharing the road.
FMCSA Rules Require Periodic Inspection and Maintenance
Federal regulations set forth by the FMCSA state that commercial vehicle “parts and accessories shall be in safe and proper operating condition at all times.” To meet this requirement, regulations also require that truck owners and operators “systematically inspect, repair, and maintain” all vehicles in their fleet. The FMCSA does not state specific time frames for these tasks, as different types of vehicles need maintenance at different intervals. Drivers are also required to keep a log of their inspections and make proper repairs.
Roadside Inspections Reveal Many Common Mechanical Issues
Not every carrier and driver adhere to these rules as they should. Whether to save money or time, owners and operators too often fail to perform these tasks. In roadside inspections, hundreds of thousands of mechanical violations are noted every year. Some of the most common issues include:
- Damaged brakes
- Worn tires
- Steering problems
- Inoperative turn signals
- Inoperative lights and headlamps
- Inoperative or ineffective windshield wipers
Additionally, drivers were cited for failing to perform proper inspections or failing to repair parts and accessories more than 312,000 times in 2015.
Many Common Accidents Can Be Prevented by Proper Maintenance
When mechanical issues are not addressed, a truck cannot perform properly, and the driver may not have as much control as necessary. This poses a risk to all those who share the road, and it is a well-documented fact that truck accidents are especially dangerous due to their large size and heavy weight. Not only is it important to identify potential mechanical problems but to also repair them appropriately. In some cases, repairs are done quickly or cheaply. This may not fully address the problem or can even lead to further issues. Taking the time and effort to properly maintain a commercial vehicle can reduce the instances of many common accidents, including those that involve:
- Tire blow-outs
- Brake failure
- T-bone crashes
- Underride crashes
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a truck crash, improper maintenance may be to blame. Victims have rights that can be protected when owners and operators disregard safety obligations. Call the experienced truck wreck lawyers at Holton Law Office today to learn more about your legal options, and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.