The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for the safety of the nation’s trucking industry. Earlier this year, it released the top commercial trucking company safety violations it uncovered in 2021.
There is new evidence not reflected in those violations, however, of the depth of another cause of commercial trucking accidents: defective truck brakes.
In March FMCSA announced the top safety regulation violations it issued trucking companies last year following federal audits. Only 5% of the trucking companies audited did not receive a violation. The remaining truck companies averaged six federal safety violations.
Commercial Trucking Company Safety Violations
The top trucking company safety violations were:
· Allowing a truck driver to operate with a suspended or revoked commercial driver’s license
· Allowing a truck driver with more than one commercial driver’s license to drive a commercial truck
· Not having a truck driver alcohol and/or drug testing program
The last one may be particularly alarming as commercial driver substance abuse test instances have spiked dramatically in recent years.
FMCSA in 2020 introduced a commercial truck driver Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. It is a database of commercial truck drivers who tested positive for drugs and alcohol, or refused to take a test. Trucking companies must check the database before hiring a new truck driver.
FMCSA publishes a monthly report of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse results. The latest monthly report is for April 2022. That month there were about 5,700 drug test violations, and another 117 alcohol test violations. Since January 6, 2020, there have been more than 135,000 drug or alcohol test violations among truckers.
Having a truck driver drug and alcohol testing program is a key responsibility for trucking companies, to comply with federal regulations and to help prevent fatal truck wrecks.
Failure to Properly Maintain or Repair Commercial Trucks
Another responsibility of trucking companies is to properly maintain their fleets, as mechanical issues have also caused serious trucking accidents.
Defective truck brakes are especially dangerous. And, according to a recently published report, there are an alarming number of commercial trucks on the road today with dangerous brakes.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is a not-for-profit group whose mission is to make commercial trucking safer. In June it announced the results of one of those efforts, its 2022 Brake Safety Day, held April 27.
Law enforcement conducted surprise roadside inspections of commercial trucks in the United States and Canada. Nearly 9,000 commercial trucks were inspected in the United Sates and 14% – 1,228 trucks in all – were found with brakes so dangerous they were given out-of-service violations. Only after their brakes were repaired were those trucks allowed back on the road.
Properly maintained trucks are vital to preventing catastrophic commercial truck crashes. Negligent trucking companies overlook maintenance schedules or ignore known mechanical issues that need repair. They may, then, have liability when these careless actions harm others.
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash with a commercial truck, speak with a commercial truck accident lawyer about holding all negligent parties responsible.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray Ritter Graham. Posted in Blog July 14, 2022.