While most people will be quick to point the finger at the truck driver after a semi-truck crash, the liability usually lies with the trucking company. This isn’t only because they employ the potentially at-fault driver, it is because one of the leading causes of truck crashes is poor maintenance!
Truck drivers can be at fault for driving recklessly, distracted, tired, or under the influence. However, sometimes wrecks occur when the driver is doing everything right but the truck malfunctions due to their employer’s negligence in maintaining it.
Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, all “parts and accessories must be in safe and proper condition at all times.” When trucking companies don’t abide by this requirement, they can and should be held liable for any injuries caused when those trucks malfunction and crash.
How Often Do Commercial Trucks Need to Be Inspected?
Trucking companies are legally required to properly inspect, maintain, and repair their vehicles.
- Performing a driver inspection of the vehicle before and after every single drive, making any necessary repairs, and holding onto a copy of the inspection report for at least 3 months
- Performing a driver inspection of the cargo within the first 50 miles of a trip, and again at 150 miles or 3 hours, whichever comes first
- Stopping at designated weigh stations to ensure the vehicle does not exceed the federal maximum weight of 80,000 lbs. when loaded
- Inspecting push out windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights every 90 days
- Submitting to roadside inspections by FMCSA inspectors, verifying that all violations have been corrected within 15 days of the inspection, and holding onto a copy of the inspection report for at least 12 months
- Submitting to an annual inspection of the vehicle, and holding onto a copy of the inspection report for at least 14 months
These records, as well as the driver’s Hours of Service logs, can act as valuable evidence in determining whether driver negligence or trucking company negligence caused a crash.
What are the Most Common Truck Malfunctions that Cause Crashes?
The average person may drive between 10,000 and 15,000 miles in a year, and should get their vehicle serviced every six months to repair normal wear and tear. However, a semi-truck will likely add 100,000 miles or more to its odometer each year! That means long-haul trucks will experience a lot more wear and tear needing maintenance, and they will experience that wear and tear a lot faster than your own vehicle does.
Additionally, driving an overloaded or improperly loaded trailer can put more strain on the truck components and cause them to wear out even faster if they are not frequently repaired or replaced.
Some of the most common malfunctions caused by neglecting semi-truck maintenance include:
- Brake failure
- Steering equipment failure
- Tire blowouts and hub/wheel bearing separations
- Burnt out tail and brake lights
- Cracked windshield (impacting driver’s visibility)
- Trailer component malfunctions, such as defective couplings and trailer hitches
While trucking companies are required to perform inspections and fix any problems they see right away, it is an unfortunate truth that many don’t do this. Any time spent performing maintenance or repairs on their trucks is time those trucks are not transporting goods and earning the trucking company money.
Trucking companies have frequently made their profits a higher priority than the safety of other drivers, and this has resulted in many preventable injuries and deaths when these poorly maintained trucks crash.
Hurt in a Truck Wreck? Get Gary Bruce!
Trucking companies know how much money is at stake whenever one of their trucks is involved in a wreck, so they will get to the scene as fast as they can to try to defend themselves and hurt victims’ chances of getting the compensation they rightfully deserve.
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we know how to fight back, find and preserve evidence, and determine and demand the full compensation you are owed for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact us today for a free case consultation.