Truck Maintenance Failures That Cause Accidents
Commercial truck carriers are required to meet specific maintenance and repair standards that are established and regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). FMCSA requires that every carrier must “systematically inspect, repair, and maintain every vehicle under its control.” All truck parts and accessories must be in safe, working condition, and the carrier must keep up-to-date maintenance logs.
If a trucking company fails to maintain its fleet of vehicles in accordance with FMCSA regulations, and a severe injury or fatal accident occurs, the trucking company could be held liable for the crash.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a truck wreck, contact the Hollywood, Florida truck accident lawyers of Rosen & Ohr for help by phone or online today. We offer a free claim review and advice about your legal options.
Truck Maintenance Regulations in Florida
There are many different regulatory agencies with oversight on truck maintenance requirements in Florida, but the most important agencies are the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the FMCSA.
The Florida Department of Transportation worked with national guidelines and tailored them to create Florida’s specific laws. Florida’s maintenance regulations include:
- Identification of fuel standards
- Regular, full-length inspections at roadside weigh stations performed by inspection officials
In addition, the FMCSA requires a daily inspection for large, commercial trucks before the day’s driving. The responsibility for meeting this requirement falls on drivers to check daily and for companies to prevent drivers from operating the vehicle when there are maintenance issues.
What Happens If a Truck Is Poorly Maintained?
If a truck is not properly maintained, serious issues could arise, including:
- Tire wear and tear that leads to loss of traction and longer stopping distances
- Tire pressure issues that could cause blowouts
- Wheel and axle misalignment
- Brake failure
- Engine overheating
- Oil and other fluid leaks
- Malfunctioning lights
These are just a few examples of the many potential problems that occur if a truck is not properly maintained.
How Maintenance Problems Can Cause Truck Crashes
When drivers fail to perform daily inspections, maintenance problems could be overlooked. Eventually, these problems could lead to accidents caused by tire blowouts, braking problems, engine failure, and other issues.
While federal and state laws require companies to replace worn parts at specific intervals, some companies choose to adjust parts like brake shoes to last longer – past the point of efficacy – in order to save money. When companies neglect maintenance to save money in the short term, severe injury accidents could result.
Who Is Liable for an Accident Caused by Poor Truck Maintenance?
Federal regulations require truck drivers to perform their daily maintenance inspections pre and post trip. They must confirm in writing that they inspected the tires, brakes, mirrors, lights, horn, and other parts. If the driver does not believe the vehicle is safe to drive, they should not sign off on the report. Carriers are not allowed to force drivers to operate vehicles that have safety issues.
The company that owns the truck could bear liability if they neglect inspections, fail to maintain the vehicle, or require drivers to operate trucks with identified safety issues.
Third-party maintenance companies could also bear responsibility if they were negligent in performing repairs necessary to keep the trucks running safely.
How Can Rosen & Ohr Help Me?
Accidents caused by poor truck maintenance should have been prevented. At Rosen & Ohr, our South Florida truck accident attorneys can review inspection records, company compliance reports, and other documents to identify any lapses in required maintenance. Since trucking companies are only required to keep records for three months, be sure to contact us right away so that we can secure the records as soon as possible.
Our consultations are always free, so contact us by phone or online to schedule a consultation today.