Q: I keep reading about truck safety violations—what are the violations in question?
When you read about trucks and trucking companies receiving safety violations, it is difficult to know what this would entail unless you have an extensive knowledge of the industry. Does it mean that the truck is inherently dangerous? Possibly. Trucks are taken out of service often at inspection stations—usually for about 10 hours, or a driver’s entire shift—in order to fix violations. Other times, it is a simple fix that a driver can do right away before hitting the road once again.
What Are the Most Common Violations Safety Inspectors Find?
It should come as no surprise that the safety violations Department of Transportation safety inspectors find are also some of the most common contributors to truck accidents. These violations include:
- Brake wear issues
- Lighting problems
- Tire wear and repair
- Cargo load tie-downs, securement, and lashings
- Driver, truck, trailer, and/or cargo paperwork discrepancies
Unlike our own personal vehicles, which we often drive around well beyond a scheduled or suggested maintenance, commercial trucks are bound by strict regulations on the maintenance of their rigs. Brakes must have sufficient stopping power, tires must have proper traction, and lights must be fully functional to help drivers see, be seen, and avoid trouble.
Secured cargo is another top priority, and it is very common for a driver to be asked to better secure his or her load. Drivers may not have been responsible for loading the truck, but they are responsible for ensuring that the proper configuration and lashings were used, as well as stopping at designated times to check and secure the load throughout the trip.
The Importance of the Paper Trail
Paperwork, while seemingly mundane, ensures several things: that the driver is within legal service limits, that he or she has met the requirements to drive that day, that the cargo is properly documented, that maintenance and rest breaks have been logged. A multitude of paperwork is behind each leg for a driver, and if there is a single mistake, inspectors will make note. Paper may not drive the truck, but it certainly is responsible for tracking every movement made by the driver.
The next time you see a truck being inspected on the side of the road or at a weigh station, know that inspectors and drivers alike are doing what is necessary to keep you safe. Some drivers knowingly avoid these inspection stations in order to drive uninterrupted. If you have been hurt in a truck accident, it is important to have an attorney investigate when the driver’s last safety inspection occurred—if it was some time ago, the driver may have something to hide. Contact truck accident lawyer Steve Lee today to learn more about your rights!