Federal Regulations Requiring Maintenance and Repairs
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates interstate commercial trucking. This federal agency has created a comprehensive set of rules designed to ensure that all commercial vehicles are properly inspected and maintained.
For example, the FMCSA requires truckers to conduct a vehicle inspection before driving the truck on any trip. The FMCSA also requires the truck driver to also perform a post-trip inspection. These inspections are designed to identify most mechanical issues before they become a problem out on the road.
The FMCSA also requires truck owners and drivers to keep thorough records of all inspections, repairs, and maintenance work. It is important to contact an Atlanta commercial vehicle lawyer at Gilormo Injury Law immediately after a truck accident so that we can examine these records before they are altered, destroyed, or “lost.”
Trucking companies and commercial truck owners are required to keep these records for at least one year while the vehicle is in use, and for at least six months after a vehicle is sold or transferred. Failure to preserve these records may subject the owner to liability for any injuries or damage caused by the owner’s failure to inspect, maintain, or repair the vehicle.
Who is Responsible for Truck Maintenance?
Lack of communication over who is responsible for maintenance is one of the biggest reasons there are so many issues regarding improper maintenance. Truck drivers are in the best position to notice any problems because they drive the commercial truck for so many hours, but are usually not in the position to repair the problems on their own.
However, trucking companies have the ability to take a commercial truck off the road and have the facilities to provide proper maintenance and repairs, but typically do not have the ability to notice potential issues without being alerted by the drivers. Unfortunately, this type of teamwork results in less transport for the trucking company and fewer hours for the driver. Thus, all parties are financially incentivized to simply ignore a maintenance issue until it is too late.
Determining Fault in a Trucking Accident with the Help of an Atlanta Commercial Vehicle Lawyer
Determining liability for a commercial truck accident is more complex than it is for typical vehicle accidents because there are more parties potentially involved, including:
- The truck driver
- The truck owner
- The trucking company
- The person or entity that leased the truck from the owner
- The truck maintenance company
- The truck manufacturer
- The shipping or loading company
- The passenger vehicle driver
State and federal laws regulate not only vehicle maintenance and repairs, but also truck accidents. Along with any given state’s department of transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determine and enforce trucking laws and regulations.
Several federal regulations exist to aid in determining liability. Any company that owns a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents involving a truck that has its name displayed on the vehicle.