Failure to Maintain Truck Accident Attorneys in OC
Trucking companies and their drivers are subject to federal regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and published in the Federal Register. These regulations cover everything from driver drug testing, to hours of service, to proper cargo loading, to vehicle maintenance. When truck drivers and trucking companies fail to maintain their vehicles pursuant to FMCSA regulations, it can lead to equipment failure and serious accidents.
FMCSA regulations General -- § 396.3(a) states in part:
- “Every motor carrier shall systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control.
- Parts and accessories must be in safe and proper condition at all times.”
Under Unsafe Operation -- §396.7, the regulation states:
- “Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an accident or a breakdown of the vehicle.”
Additionally, under Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports -- § 396.11:
- Truck drivers are required to complete a post-trip inspection report at the end of each driving day that identifies the vehicle and list any defects or deficiencies discovered by or reported to the driver that could affect safety of operation or result in mechanical breakdown.
- The trucking company or its agent must certify that any defect or deficiency listed in the driver’s report has been repaired, or that immediate repair is not necessary.
In the context of a commercial trucking accident, failure to maintain is the truck owner or operator’s failure to maintain the truck and trailer in accordance with state and federal safety standards, as required under the law. Most commonly, failure to maintain truck accident claims concerns one of the following.
Failure to Maintain Brakes
In the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and FMCSA, brake problems were the number one factor associated with large trucks and truck drivers involved in crashes, as stated in FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study Analysis Brief. Big rigs require more time and distance to stop than passenger vehicles, even under normal circumstances. When their brakes fail due to owner or operator negligence, it can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries to others on the roadways.
Failure to Maintain Tires
Blown out truck tires are a common sight on interstate highways. When truck tires blow out, they burst, suddenly and unexpectedly, often when the truck is traveling at a high rate of speed. A blowout can cause the driver to lose control of the truck. The big rig could hit other nearby vehicles, jackknife, or rollover after a tire blows out. Most truck tire blowouts could be prevented if owners and operators regularly inspected and repaired or replaced truck tires as needed.
Failure to Maintain Trailer
When the trailer is hooked up to the cab of a truck, it must be appropriately aligned and safely secured, as required under federal regulations. When truck drivers are in a hurry or merely negligent, they may fail to ensure the trailer is aligned correctly. If it is not aligned correctly, pressure on the tires will be increased, which can affect the driver’s ability to control the truck. Trailer misalignment can also cause uneven tire wear and lead to blowouts.
In a truck accident caused by failure to maintain the vehicle, there may be multiple responsible parties. Liability could lie with the truck driver, the trucking company, a company responsible for maintenance and repair of the tractor trailer, or other parties. When we investigate your truck accident to determine cause and liability, our Orange County personal injury attorneys will look at, among other things:
- Company records regarding inspection, repair, and maintenance.
- Driver records of inspection reports.
- State and federal regulations concerning all parts of the vehicle.
- Our firm was established in 1974, and we have more than 40 years of experience resolving personal injury cases.
- We have extensive experience in truck accident cases and are not afraid to stand up to large trucking companies and their insurers.
- We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and verdicts.
At Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, we won’t back down when it comes to protecting your rights after a serious Orange County truck accident. Call us at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
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