There are a number of federal regulations in place to ensure that the trucking industry operates in a safe fashion. These regulations address everything from the hours that truckers can drive, truck maintenance, and how rigs should be operated. Although the federal government regularly monitors compliance with these regulations, the truth of the matter is that these regulations are commonly violated. That might not seem like a big deal at first blush, but a trucking violation can increase the risk of a serious truck accident that leaves victims with overwhelming and undeserved damages.
So what kinds of violations are common in the trucking industry? Here is a look at some of the violation citations that have been issued with the most frequency in 2020:
- Red light running
- False reporting of driving record
- Failing to abide by other traffic signals
- Operating a truck without the proper license
- Lack of proper medical certification
- Violation of lane restrictions
- Cellphone use while driving
You might think that trucking violations are relatively rare, but you’d be mistaken. In fact, in the 2020 fiscal year more than 500,000 violations were discovered.
The dangers associated with some of these violations are self-apparent. Failing to abide by lane restrictions, for example, can cause a truck to veer into another vehicle, thereby causing a serious truck accident. But the dangers of other types of violations aren’t as obvious.
Take driving without proper medical certification. Under federal regulations, truckers cannot operate their vehicles if they possess a medical condition that affects their ability to drive their truck in a safe fashion. If a trucker is diagnosed with a medical condition, then he or she is required to provide documentation showing that they are receiving adequate treatment and have been medically cleared to drive.
This can be critically important for truckers who suffer from medical conditions like sleep apnea. This condition causes sleep disruptions where the sufferer is jolted awake because he or she temporarily stops breathing. It is only by waking up that their breathing resumes. Sleep apnea sufferers can wake up as often as 400 times a night, which leads to tired, fatigued, and easily distracted truckers taking to the road. So, truckers who have an untreated medical condition and who have not been medically cleared to drive can pose a significant threat to others on the roadway.
What do these violations mean for you? Well, if you have been injured in a truck accident, it means that you should try to gather evidence to see if you can use a federal trucking violation to support a legal claim against the trucker who harmed you, as well as his or her employer.
You might be able to gather this evidence in a number of ways. One way is to conduct depositions that help you gather evidence and lock the errant driver and his employer into a certain position. This way you can further explore their testimony and attack their credibility if their story later changes. The second way is to simply gather documentation that demonstrates that a violation has occurred. This might require issuing subpoenas for an employer’s records.
If a trucking violation has occurred, you’ll probably still have to do some leg work to show that it is directly related to the accident in question, but you might be able to do this with a strong legal strategy that is based on applicable law.
Delving into these matters might seem relatively easy, but they can be quite complicated given the nuances contained within the law and trial practice. For this reason, many people who are injured in truck accidents find it beneficial to seek assistance from a legal team that knows how to go toe-to-toe with negligent truckers and their employers.