Federal Trucking Regulations
Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers Based in Memphis
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) promulgates regulations that cover interstate truck drivers and trucking companies in order to reduce the number and severity of commercial truck crashes. All trucking companies are supposed to comply with the FMCSA regulations with regard to hours of service, record keeping, maintenance, hiring of drivers, inspections, and more. If you suspect that a truck driver or company broke a federal trucking regulation, and this caused your accident, you may be able to recover damages in Tennessee or neighboring Southern states. In most cases, however, trucking companies and their drivers put up a significant fight when asked to pay damages for an accident. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Memphis truck accident attorneys have a thorough understanding of the FMCSA regulations that truck drivers and companies are expected to follow, and we have experience in holding them accountable for victims’ injuries.
Federal Trucking Regulations
Numerous aspects of truck driving and truck operation are covered by FMCSA regulations. For example, truck drivers are restricted in their hours of service to ensure that they get adequate rest and are not fatigued while operating heavy machinery. They are expected to keep accurate logbooks rather than falsifying them. Trucking companies are supposed to make sure that these logbooks are accurate, and they must conduct background checks to make sure that their drivers are qualified and competent to drive commercial trucks. They must also ensure that trucks are properly maintained and inspected and that they are not carrying loads that make it more likely for the truck to jackknife or rollover while on the road.
Unfortunately, some trucking companies put profits ahead of safety and fail to follow federal trucking regulations. In some cases, you may hold a driver or trucking company liable under a theory of negligence per se. This theory applies when a driver violates a safety law or regulation, and the violation causes an accident of the type that the law or regulation was designed to prevent. For example, some trucking companies encourage drivers to break the hours of service rules. They may look the other way even when a logbook is clearly false.
Why do drivers fail to abide by the hours of service rules? Generally, drivers are paid by the mile so that the more that they drive, the more that they are paid. They are paid more for overtime. Trucking companies encourage this because they want drivers to meet or exceed delivery deadlines. Some drivers do not understand how important the logbook is, and they may not understand that they may be audited in the future in case of an accident.
It is a crime to falsify logbooks to suggest compliance with hours of service rules. It is important to choose an attorney who understands how to evaluate evidence from the black box and pay records to determine whether logbooks have been falsified and present that evidence to a jury to show driver and trucking company negligence or negligence per se.
When trucking companies intentionally and willfully put a driver who breaks FMCSA regulations back on the road, they may be held liable not only for compensatory damages but also for punitive damages, depending on how egregious their conduct was. Punitive damages are awarded to punish egregious misconduct by the defendant, rather than make up for a plaintiff’s tangible or intangible losses. The amount awarded varies depending on several different factors, including the financial condition of the defendant and the egregiousness of the behavior.
Hire a Memphis Attorney for Your Trucking Accident Case
If you are injured as a result of a federal trucking regulation violation in Tennessee or a nearby state, you may be able to recover your damages. In most cases, trucking companies have vast resources and may put those resources forward by fighting against your entitlement to damages. It is important to retain an attorney who can go head to head with trucking companies and their insurers. Our firm employs 33 experienced attorneys and over 120 staff members. We serve accident victims throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi, including in Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville, Caruthersville, Hayti, Oxford, Starkville, Grenada, Columbus, Tupelo, Meridian, Jackson, Little Rock, and Jonesboro. Call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 800-LAW-4004 or complete our online form for a free appointment with a motor vehicle collision lawyer.