Trucking companies and truck drivers are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to have regular inspections and maintenance performed on their vehicles. Despite this, over 5,000 people are killed each year in truck accidents involving tractor-trailers or 18-wheelers. An experienced Clayton County truck accident attorney can help truck accident victims.
A joint study of truck accidents by the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined a sample of accidents that had fatalities and injuries. The 967 sampled accidents each involved at least one commercial vehicle or truck and a passenger vehicle, had at least one fatality or injury and occurred in 17 states; there were a total of 251 fatalities and 1,408 injuries in the sampled accidents. The study found that problems in the trucks' braking systems were responsible for 30 percent of the accidents. By comparison, the cars' braking systems were responsible for less than 5 percent of the accidents. Additional accident causes revealed in the study included:
- Interrupted traffic/rear-end collisions: 25 percent;
- Road deficiencies (including potholes and debris): 16 percent;
- Inclement weather conditions (including rain and ice): 13 percent.
The FMCSA mandates that trucking companies perform routine truck maintenance. Inconsistent federal oversight has led to dangerous conditions when trucking companies or their drivers do not comply with maintenance requirements.
Included in the mandated truck maintenance checklist is the following:
- Inspection and repair of braking systems;
- Inspection of tire wear;
- Inspection of tire pressure;
- Inspection of steering and suspension systems;
- Maintaining adequate hydraulic fluid and oil levels;
- Maintaining secured loads.
The FMCSA regulations require that Georgia truck drivers must "systematically inspect, repair, and maintain" all vehicles under their control. All truck parts and accessories must be maintained in a "safe and proper operating condition at all times." Trucking companies are also required to retain maintenance records for a truck for at least one year while the truck is owned by the trucking company and for six months after the truck is sold or leaves the trucking company's control.
Evidence that a truck was not properly maintained and that this contributed to the accident could cause the truck driver, the trucking company and/or its insurance carrier to be found legally responsible for a victim's injuries and damages. This may include loss of wages, medical expenses and property damage.
If you or someone you know has been hurt by a distracted truck driver, meet with a truck accident lawyer at Shane Smith Law. We can assist you in every stage of your case including obtaining the available evidence.