Vehicle maintenance is an important part of being the owner of a car, truck or other motor vehicle. You probably routinely change your vehicle’s tires, replace your headlights and get your vehicle’s oil changed. Commercial carriers also have a duty to perform routine maintenance on their large trucks and other vehicles to ensure they are safe for the road.
Many may assume such basic, routine tasks required for safe operations would rarely be overlooked. Unfortunately, however, many commercial carriers and operators fail to properly maintain their trucks. This can lead to devastating truck accidents, injuries and deaths. In order to prevent these accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has specific regulations about truck maintenance, and violating these rules carries a variety of penalties.
Certain truck maintenance violations are more frequently found during roadside inspections. These include:
- Tire violations: a tire depth under 2/32 of an inch at any spot
- Lighting and lamp violations: broken head or tail lamps, broken turn signals, defective or missing lighting like reflective striping or rotating beacons for oversized loads
- Inspection and repair violations: defective parts or other repairs uncovered during inspections, but not reported by the drivers
- Oil/grease leaks violations: fleets failing to notice or correct oil and/or grease leak problems
Brake violations are another relatively common violation and very serious. Such violations can lead to severe consequences.
The FMCSA has almost 200 different violations, all with assigned point values that commercial carriers can be cited for during an inspection. Many of them are five points or more, and the more points, the more penalties the driver, carrier or both could face. Examples of penalties include FMCSA warnings, audits, orders to fix the items that were found to be in violation and fines.
The common maintenance problems that inspectors frequently cite drivers and carriers for are entirely preventable if trucks are maintained on a routine basis. Better maintained trucks mean fewer semi accidents and safer roads.
If You Are Injured in a Truck Accident
If you or your loved one was recently the victim of a truck accident, contact an experienced truck accident attorney. A personal injury lawyer with experience investigating truck crashes can help to determine if there were any maintenance issues with the vehicle at the time of the collision, or if the accident was due to other negligent actions on the part of the truck driver or commercial carrier.