Semi-truck drivers are professional drivers. Their job is to operate these mammoth vehicles and transport the goods we need across the country. However, like most workplaces, the trucking industry is heavily regulated, and for a good reason. When regulations are violated, people can get hurt. Lives may even be on the line.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate that 72 percent of people killed in collisions with large trucks are the occupants of the other vehicle. Semi-trucks can cause catastrophic damage, which is why the trucking industry is highly regulated.
At Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC, we want Michigan drivers to be aware of these regulations, so they can better recognize when a truck driver may be in violation. Not only are there stiff penalties for drivers and trucking companies who violate federal safety standards, but if you end up the victim of a crash, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
Who Regulates the Trucking Industry?
Like any workplace, a trucking company can set its own rules and policy guidelines that govern the scope of a driver’s job. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government agency that develops trucking industry standards and regulates safety policy.
The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 paved the way for the formation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The purpose of the agency is to help prevent commercial vehicle-related accidents and fatalities by standardizing safety regulations and protocols for the trucking industry. While the agency’s mission is to strengthen operating standards, increase safety awareness, and improve commercial safety systems, the organization can also enact and enforce federal regulations. It can also target high-risk carriers and drivers for potential removal from U.S. roadways.
Trucking Industry Regulations
The FMCSA regulates everything from the number of hours a truck driver can drive without a break to how cargo is tied down and secured onto a truck. The agency has an extensive database that includes a list of all applicable regulations and safety requirements all drivers and trucking companies must follow. Examples of FMCSA regulations include:
These regulations have been put in place, in part, because research conducted by the FMCSA demonstrates just how devastating truck accidents can be. Drivers who are fatigued from overwork, distracted by electronic devices, or under the influence of alcohol are potential threats to anyone that shares the road with them.
Penalties for FMCSA Regulation Violations
Drivers and trucking companies who violate federal regulations can be in significant trouble with the FMCSA. While penalties can vary depending on the nature and severity of the violation, drivers and trucking companies can be hit with steep fines for regulation violations. Fines can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. In some cases, a driver can lose their CDL (commercial drivers’ license) and ability to work in the trucking industry.
Penalties levied by the FMCSA aren’t the only consequences negligent truck drivers and their employers may have to face. People injured in truck accidents caused by the negligent actions of the driver or trucking company can also seek financial compensation. Injured parties can recover compensation by pursuing a claim with the trucking company’s insurer or filing a personal injury lawsuit.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident, Contact Our Michigan Legal Team Today
If you were injured in an accident with a negligent truck driver, contact the legal team at Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC for help. Call us at (586) 776-1700. We want to get you the compensation you deserve.