The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking business and requires that trucks are inspected and records are maintained on a regular, continuous basis. This requirement is for good reason: safety to prevent accidents. When a semi-truck is fully loaded, it can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. This weight is significant when speed and road conditions are added to the mix. Passenger cars do not stand much of a chance against a semi if the two are involved in an accident. Regulations imposed by the FMCSA are important because accidents between trucks and passenger cars are some of the deadliest auto accidents that occur on New Mexico roads.
The trucking business, however, is laden with deadlines and pressure for profits. When maintenance steps are overlooked, intentionally or not, accidents occur. If you are in an accident caused by a truck driver, you need legal counsel from someone who knows the trucking business as much as the law. Attorneys at Revo Smith Law Firm are experienced and resourceful and can help you when you've been injured by a truck.
The FMCSA & Maintenance Requirements
The FMCSA requires certain pre- and post-trip safety inspections to be conducted so that any parts that became worn out during a trip are replaced and that all equipment is properly functioning before a new trip. Failure to inspect and repair faulty equipment is a major cause for trucks malfunctioning on the road and causing accidents.
Examples of Proper Truck Maintenance
- Replacement of engine fluids
- Alignment of front and back end of the truck
- Inspection of the fuel tank for drain water and sediment
- Inspection and rotation of tires and rims
- Inspection of emergency equipment
- Inspection of hoses, service brakes, parking brakes, steering wheel, lights, horn, windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors.
In addition to inspecting and maintaining the truck, FMCSA Regulation §396.11 requires truck companies to keep accurate and detailed inspection reports for each truck on a daily basis.
Who is Responsible?
Inspection and maintenance of a truck is the responsibility of the driver and the owner of the truck. Sometimes that is the same person and sometimes it is not. If one or both fails to inspect and maintain the truck, an accident occurs and injuries are sustained, then liability falls on the driver and/or owner if it is found that the cause of the accident was a result of the truck malfunctioning and that the malfunction could have been prevented but for proper inspection and maintenance, .
The truck driver and/or owner must inspect and maintain the truck in accordance with the law. If they neglect their duties, then they are responsible if an accident occurs due to their negligence. In some cases, the trucking company can also be held liable, but it depends on the relationship and specific circumstances of the truck driver, truck owner, and trucking company.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Trucking companies are armed with their own attorneys. They are prepared to fight any claim or lawsuit. You cannot go up against these attorneys alone and unarmed. You require an experienced attorney who knows the trucking business, the technical issues that could be involved, and the ways to strategically engage the trucking industry's attorneys. At Revo Smith Law Firm, we have the knowledge and the resources to represent our clients thoroughly and successfully.
If you've been in an accident caused by a truck driver and sustained serious injuries, you need to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney who knows both the law and the process. For an initial, free consultation, call Revo Smith Law today at (505) 293-8888.