In the world of commercial trucking, safety is paramount. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plays a crucial role in regulating and enforcing safety standards for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and their drivers.
Despite these regulations, trucking accidents still occur, often resulting in catastrophic consequences. Understanding the most common FMCSA violations leading to trucking accidents in South Carolina is vital for both accident victims and trucking companies. Let’s go over some of the most common violations.
Hours of Service (HOS) Violations
One of the most prevalent FMCSA violations involves the Hours of Service regulations. These rules are in place to prevent fatigued driving among truck drivers. Violations typically include exceeding daily driving limits, inadequate rest breaks, or not accurately recording driving hours in a logbook. Fatigued driving is a major contributor to truck accidents, as drowsy drivers have slower reaction times and impaired decision-making abilities.
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Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance
FMCSA regulations require that commercial vehicles undergo regular inspections and maintenance to ensure their safe operation. Violations in this category encompass issues like brake failures, tire blowouts, malfunctioning lights, and more. When a trucking company neglects maintenance, it significantly increases the risk of mechanical failure, leading to accidents on South Carolina’s highways.
Improper Loading and Cargo Securement
Proper cargo loading and securement are essential for the safe operation of CMVs. FMCSA regulations stipulate the correct methods for loading and securing cargo to prevent shifting or falling during transit.
Violations include overloading, improper weight distribution, and inadequate cargo securement. When cargo isn’t properly loaded or secured, it can lead to rollovers, spills, and accidents, endangering other motorists on the road.
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Negligent Hiring and Training Practices
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers are properly trained and qualified. Violations in this category can involve hiring drivers without the required qualifications, inadequate training, or employing drivers with a history of accidents or traffic violations. Negligent hiring and training practices can result in drivers who lack the skills or knowledge necessary to operate a CMV safely.
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Distracted and Reckless Driving
Distracted and reckless driving behaviors among truck drivers contribute to numerous accidents. Violations may involve the use of handheld devices, texting while driving, speeding, aggressive driving, or failing to yield the right of way. These dangerous behaviors put both truck drivers and other road users at risk.
Substance abuse is another serious issue affecting the commercial trucking industry, with as many as 23.4% of drivers reporting the use of amphetamines or cocaine while driving, according to American Addiction Centers. Likewise, alcohol abuse continues to be a pervasive issue within the US trucking industry, with over 72,000 truck drivers being taken off of the road for failed drug tests between January 2021 and November 2021. Despite many rigorous US DOT and FMCSA laws, substance use violations still persist among many commercial truck drivers.
Trucking records are logs that document driver activities like drive times, schedules, and disciplinary actions. Sometimes, however, these records may be poorly maintained or, in some cases, altered or erased in order to escape blame after a trucking accident occurs. A good lawyer will ensure any type of record falsification is uncovered during the discovery process.
Driver’s License Violations
Another fairly common violation of FMCSA laws includes truck drivers driving without the proper licensure. Drivers who do not have the proper CDL, an expired license, or a revoked or suspended license are some of the most common offenders in this category.
Licenses are an essential aspect of any truck driver because they ensure the driver has the capability, knowledge, and skills needed to drive safely on the road. Someone without a proper license may not have the skills necessary to operate a truck, which can pose a threat to the safety of other drivers.
Understanding the most common FMCSA violations leading to trucking accidents in South Carolina is crucial for identifying liability in the event of a collision. Whether you’re a victim of a trucking accident or a trucking company looking to improve safety practices, addressing these violations is vital for preventing future accidents and ensuring the safety of all road users.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a trucking accident, it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal complexities and seek appropriate compensation. Hammack Law Firm is here to help. Our lawyers have years of experience navigating the complexities of truck accident cases and will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Ready to receive a free case evaluation? Contact us today.