The trucking industry is heavily regulated to ensure the safety of both truck drivers and everyone else they share Virginia’s roads with. These regulations play a significant role in personal injury claims related to truck accidents. Understanding these regulations is crucial when pursuing a personal injury claim involving a commercial truck. The following is a brief overview of some of those regulations. For more detailed information, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for legal assistance.
Hours of Service Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established hours of service (HOS) regulations to prevent truck driver fatigue, a common cause of truck accidents. These regulations limit the number of hours a commercial truck driver can operate the vehicle within a specific period. Violations of HOS regulations, such as driving beyond the maximum allowed hours or failing to take required rest breaks, can significantly impact a personal injury claim by establishing negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
The FMCSA requires commercial truck drivers to undergo regular drug and alcohol testing to ensure they are not impaired while operating their vehicles. If a truck driver involved in an accident tests positive for drugs or alcohol, it can strengthen a personal injury claim by demonstrating negligence on the part of the driver and potentially the trucking company.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Requirements
To operate a commercial truck, drivers must obtain a CDL and meet specific qualifications and training requirements. If a truck driver involved in an accident does not possess a valid CDL or fails to meet the necessary qualifications, it can be used as evidence of negligence and potentially strengthen a personal injury claim.
Vehicle Maintenance and Inspections
The FMCSA mandates regular vehicle inspections and maintenance to ensure commercial trucks are in proper working condition. Trucking companies and drivers are responsible for adhering to these regulations and maintaining records of inspections and maintenance. If poor vehicle maintenance or inadequate inspections contribute to an accident, it can support a personal injury claim by establishing negligence on the part of the trucking company or driver.
Electronic Logging Device Mandate
The FMCSA has implemented the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) to track and record a truck driver’s hours of service electronically. ELDs replace traditional paper logbooks and provide more accurate data regarding a driver’s compliance with HOS regulations. If a truck driver involved in an accident has manipulated or falsified the data recorded by the ELD, it can serve as evidence of negligence and impact a personal injury claim.
It is important to note that violations of these regulations do not automatically establish liability in a personal injury claim. However, they can serve as evidence of negligence, demonstrating that the truck driver or trucking company failed to adhere to industry standards and regulations, thereby contributing to the accident and resulting in injuries.
Contact Our Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm
When pursuing a personal injury claim involving a trucking accident, it is crucial to work with an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney who understands the trucking industry regulations and their impact on the case. They can gather the necessary evidence, including records of violations and non-compliance, to support your claim and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our dedicated Virginia truck accident lawyers and find out what legal recourse you may have.