Semi-trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo. For this reason, large trucks pose a serious risk to others on the road who are driving much smaller, standard-sized vehicles. In recognition of the dangers of truck accidents, both federal and state laws regulate the trucking industry.
Under federal law, trucking companies and drivers are required to meet certain standards regarding:
- Maximum driving time;
- How to properly load or unload cargo;
- The amount of weight that a truck can safely carry;
- Proper truck maintenance and repair;
- How to carefully operate large trucks when turning, making lane changes etc.;
- When and how to conduct regular safety inspections; and
- Driver qualifications.
Furthermore, truck drivers are prohibited from operating a truck if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 or more, which is much lower than the nationwide standard for non-commercial drivers of 0.08 BAC. To ensure that drivers are complying with these laws, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also requires drivers to keep accurate logbooks that include specific information, such as:
- Each day’s date;
- The number of miles driven each day;
- The truck’s vehicle number;
- The carrier’s name;
- The driver’s signature;
- The names of any co-drivers;
- Shipping document numbers;
- A grid tracking travel in one-hour increments;
- Notations describing when the driver was on duty, on duty but not driving, and off duty;
- Detailed notes of when and where rest breaks were taken; and
- Explanations of any violations.
Commercial trucking companies must retain copies of these logbooks for at least six months. Drivers are also required to carry a copy of their duty status records for the previous week and produce them for inspection when requested by officials. Finally, truck drivers must give their completed logbooks to their employer within 13 days of completing them.
The information contained in these records can be critical to an accident victim’s ability to demonstrate the negligence of an individual truck driver or a trucking company. For instance, a driver’s records will most likely reflect whether he or she violated the hours of service rule to meet a deadline and so skipped necessary rest breaks and later fell asleep at the wheel. Finally, truck drivers can face criminal penalties for falsifying their logbook records.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
At our firm, we understand that being involved in a truck accident can be a life-changing event, resulting in painful and often deadly injuries, and leaving victims feeling helpless and financially burdened by medical expenses. Fortunately, injured parties do have legal recourse and can hold the responsible parties accountable, so if you were injured in an accident involving a large truck, please call our legal team at U.S. Truck Accident Attorneys today at 313-438-4357 or complete one of our brief contact forms and we’ll help you set up a free one-on-one consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can explain your legal options.