The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which enforces regulations pertaining to a variety of areas. One is commercial truck maintenance. Every truck company is responsible for maintaining its big rigs.
Examples of FMCSA Maintenance Regulations
The following are just some of the federal regulations pertaining to the maintenance of large trucks:
- recordkeeping of inspections, repairs and maintenance performed;
- correct any violations or defects noted on roadside inspection reports;
- post-trip inspection report at the end of each driving time; and
- periodic inspections to take place at least once every 12 months.
FMCSA Regulations for Inspectors
Certain types of inspections require that those conducting them meet special qualifications. One specific type is brake inspectors, who must have adequate training and experience. Truck companies must have evidence of that person’s qualifications, kept on file throughout employment and for an additional year after the employee leaves.
Although inspectors or others who are in charge of commercial truck maintenance could potentially be liable for injuries that are a result of poor maintenance, ultimately the truck company is responsible. So whenever there is a concern that poor truck maintenance was the cause of an accident, the motor carrier company is likely going to be named in a claim.
Important Equipment for Truck Safety
Certain types of equipment on a truck are especially important to keep properly maintained. In addition to brakes, it’s just as critical to keep in good condition:
- windshield wipers;
- steering mechanisms;
- emergency equipment;
- rearview mirrors; and
- coupling devices.
All inspection, repair and maintenance records are required to be kept by the truck company at the vehicle’s garage location, and six months after the vehicle is sold, scrapped, or otherwise handled. If it’s believed that poor truck maintenance was the cause of a crash, a truck company can be considered negligent and liable for any injuries suffered as a result.
Turn to Walker, Billingsley & Bair for help filing a claim, and check out our free eBook, The Legal Insider’s Guide to Iowa Car Accidents: 7 Secrets Not to Wreck Your Case.