Given the extreme danger presented by semi-trucks on American roadways, it’s no wonder that safety improvements are a frequent topic when discussing the trucking industry. Trucking companies and their insurers have an interest in reducing liability. The government, along with the driving public, value steps taken to increase protection and safety for motorists. In fact, over time the government has found it necessary (and wise) to carefully regulate the trucking industry. These regulations address both trucks and drivers. While some trucking companies and their drivers are responsible, making every effort to follow the law and behave safely, there are also irresponsible companies and drivers who take shortcuts with safety. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of trucking regulations. We will also discuss how the law protects society by holding responsible those who violate these regulations.
Dangers of Semi-Trucks
Considering the massive size and weight of semi-trucks, a deep understanding of physics is not required to appreciate that a collision with a tractor-trailer truck can cause devastating property damage and personal injury. Given the large number of destructive crashes each year, both Oregon and the United States have truck crash reporting requirements. These reports help the government collect and analyze data and address important problems.
Regulation in the Trucking Industry
It’s certainly not surprising that the State of Oregon and the federal government have passed laws regulating the trucking industry. After all, even passenger automobiles, which are far less complex than trucks, are regulated to a certain extent. Nevertheless, many people are surprised to learn just how intensely the trucking industry is regulated. In this section, we’ll give just a few examples.
Semi-truck drivers must be properly licensed to drive the type of truck being driven. Moreover, special licenses are required to carry some cargoes, such as hazardous materials. Additionally, truck drivers must pass a physical examination and comply with a variety of requirements. For example, drivers must obey traffic laws and comply with hours of service requirements. This means, drivers must rest after driving a certain number of hours. Drivers must complete appropriate paperwork, which must be maintained by the trucking company.
Tractors and Trailers
Semi-trucks must meet numerous mechanical requirements. Some are obvious, such as properly functioning brakes. Some are not as obvious, but greatly affect public safety. In fact, some people are surprised at the detailed requirements affecting trucking equipment, including some items that might appear minor. For example, there are regulations affecting lubrication; oil and grease leaks; and parts and accessories, such as lamps, power supplies, and reflectors.
Violation of Regulations
Regulations can only protect the motoring public if they are followed. Unfortunately, the number of violations is sometimes staggering. In 2015, state and federal inspectors identified 1,041,642 driver violations and 3,803,517 vehicle violations. Fortunately, when these violations cause injury, injured victims can use proof of the violations as evidence in a lawsuit.
Call with Questions
At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we appreciate the efforts taken by both state and federal lawmakers to make our roads safer. We also appreciate the hard work of law-abiding trucking companies and their drivers. Unfortunately, some companies and drivers violate trucking regulations and cause tremendous harm to innocent victims. Those who choose to behave in such a way must be held accountable to society for their actions. After all, such accountability makes us all safer. If you have questions, please contact us for a free consultation. We are familiar with applicable statutes and regulations, and can help you investigate your case and evaluate your legal rights.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations
Oregon Motor Carrier Transportation Division: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/Pages/LawsandRules.aspx#Federal_Safety_Regulations
Oregon Motor Carrier Transportation Truck Safety Hotline (motorists may report truck safety issues) – (800) 248-6782. To report online, visit http://www.oregontruckingonline.com/cf/mchotform/