Commercial Truck Drivers are Required to Conduct a Pre-Trip Inspection

Conducting a pre-trip inspection is one of the most important things the driver of a tractor trailer, 18-wheeler or any other commercial truck should do. This ensures road safety and protects others from coming to harm. Pre-trip inspections involve checking the brakes, tires, lights and other systems for avoiding unexpected accidents. It is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and leaves the trucker open to severe liability if not performed.

Pre-Trip Inspections is Necessary to Keep Up with Regulations

A list of rules and regulations are mentioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to keep both truckers and other motorists on the roadways safe. Trucking companies and truck drives have the responsibility to monitor government agencies and official publications about changes.

Truck accident attorneys while pursuing an accident case will always look at pre-trip inspection report. The lawyer will determine whether an inspection took place and was completed satisfactorily. They will also determine whether any defects were discovered at the time of the accident. In some cases, a commercial truck is driven even when the drivers take note of the defect.

Pre-trip inspections should be performed for reasons other than federal regulations. They can save truck drivers from unwanted downtime by preventing accidents, missed deadlines, and repair costs. Motorists, trucking companies, owners, and drivers all benefit from ensuring pre-trip inspections.

Trucking companies and drivers place countless people at risk when they cut corners or ignore issues that are discovered. 1 out of 5 trucks are estimated to be out of service by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. This means the mechanical violations are so serious that the truck is illegal to drive.

Requirement for Pre-trip Inspection

Truckers cannot simply get into their cabins and take off for their destination unlike the average passenger car motorist. Truckers are required by the federal law to perform a pre-trip inspection that ensures their vehicles are in good condition.

Trucking companies need to demand their workers to perform pre-trip inspections. This is supposed to be done right before their haul and once every 24 hours while on the road. Completing these inspections keeps the trucking company and other motorists safe on the road.

Generally, pre-trip inspections take 30 – 50 minutes to perform as per the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). These include checking the following:

  • Gauges
  • Fluid levels
  • Lights
  • Kingpins
  • Shock absorbers
  • Ball joints
  • Tire pressure
  • Clutch
  • Fifth wheel

The truckers are also required to check for leaking valves or any other leaks and record the inspection results in a well-maintained logbook.

Unfortunately, truck drivers are often in a hurry to get going and are tempted to cut corners by not performing the necessary inspections. DOT inspectors and law enforcement officers usually stop truckers for this reason.

Tractor trailers can be rendered out of service if they are unable to produce updated vehicle inspection records. Truckers may end up with fines, warnings, and suspension or revocation of their CDL (commercial driver’s license) if inspectors discover that they did not perform or record an inspection. They may even get taken into police custody depending on the severity of the infraction.

Danger of Being Complacent In Truck Inspections

Pre-trip inspections ensure that a truck is fit to be on the road. Tires, brakes, lights, leaks and gauges are a few things that need to be checked during the pre-trip inspection. These inspections generally take around 30 minutes, which is vital for the safety of everyone on the road.

Truck driving is considered to be the 7th most dangerous job in the United States. Faulty brakes alone can result in a fatal accident and involve multiple cars. The number of fatalities because of truck accidents increased by 6.6% between 2016 and 2018 as per the Department of Labor. The failure to perform daily vehicle inspections is a major cause for these fatal accidents. Pre-trip inspections allow truck drivers to keep everyone protected.

Skipping out on a truck inspection or simply going through the motions may result in a deadly decision. Pre-trip inspections are vital for ensuring that commercial trucks are prepared for the wear and tear expected on the trip. Truck drivers and trucking companies should never take chances that place the lives of other roadway users at risk.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Truck accidents involving personal injury are rarely straightforward cases. Everything from identifying the injuries, circumstances leading to the accident, and determining the potential defendants requires an in-depth understanding of the law. You may end up settling for less than what you rightfully deserve if you don’t retain the services of a capable attorney.

The experienced legal team at the law firm of Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp can review your case, gather necessary evidence, and advise you on the best way forward to prepare a strong claim. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case. Give us a call at 800-752-0042 or contact us online.