Which Safety Regulations Will Affect My Virginia Truck Accident Case?

Truck operators and freight companies are required to abide by local, state, and federal trucking regulations designed to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, the unreasonable expectations placed on truck operators, such as long driving hours prompted by unreasonable delivery schedules often lead to violations of safety regulations that, in turn, lead to serious accidents.

What rule violation caused my Virginia truck accident?

If you were injured in a commercial truck accident, you need to find out what regulations were violated and how they impact your case. The qualified Virginia truck accident lawyers at the personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can thoroughly investigate your accident, figure out which safety regulations were violated, and what effect this will have on your claim. Call our law offices today to schedule your free consultation. 

Federal Regulations

Some of the more essential regulations that truck operators and freight companies are expected to abide by include:  

Hours of Service

Federal guidelines restrict the total number of hours a truck operator is permitted to drive in a single day and between rest breaks. Different sets of rules apply to drivers hauling freight and drivers carrying passengers. These rules were enacted in an attempt to reduce the number of trucking accidents associated with fatigued driving, which happen often due to truck operators being pushed to drive extra miles in order to meet delivery deadlines.

  • Passenger-carrying trucks: Truck operators transporting passengers can drive no more than 10 hours after a full eight hours off duty.
  • Cargo-carrying trucks: Truck operators transporting cargo can drive no more than hours after a full 10 hours off duty.

Truck Maintenance 

Freight companies are required to ensure that their fleet is safe to be on the road and is not a threat to other drivers. They have to keep thorough records of all inspections and any maintenance performed on their vehicles. 

Driver Training Requirements

Freight companies are also obligated to make sure that their truck drivers are fully and properly trained in all safe driving practices and that they hold a current, valid commercial driver’s license.

Alcohol and Drug Testing

Federal guidelines require truck operators to be tested for drugs and/or alcohol at specified times, such as: 

  • Prior to an offer of employment
  • Following an accident
  • Randomly throughout the duration of their employment
  • When suspected of being under the influence
  • To return to work following a violation
  • As a condition of any substance abuse program

There are also regulations governing managers and supervisors who are trained to identify impairment caused by alcohol or drugs. 

Truck Accidents Caused by Regulation Violations

Any violation of a local, state, or federal regulation is considered negligence. The most common types of truck accidents caused by negligence in Virginia are:  

  • Fatigued driving: Being on the road for long hours, particularly at night, increases the odds of a truck operator being involved in an accident caused by sleep deprivation. 
  • Distracted driving: Spending a lot of time on the road gets tedious and can tempt truck operators to amuse themselves with their cell phones behind the wheel or engage in other forms of distracted driving.
  • Incorrectly loaded freight: If freight is not properly loaded and tied down, it can shift suddenly and even fall off a truck, becoming a dangerous roadway obstacle or even crashing into other vehicles. 
  • Inadequate driver training: Due mainly to the recent nationwide truck driver shortage, many freight companies are hiring people who apply to be drivers without doing their due diligence, such as background checks, and without bothering to ensure they a properly trained before they are sent out on the road.  

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help

An experienced truck accident attorney will be familiar with the numerous safety regulations that could affect your truck accident claim. They can identify potential violations and explain how they could influence your case. They can also preserve vital evidence that will help you prove liability.

If you would like to speak with an experienced Virginia commercial truck accident attorney regarding your potential injury claim, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp at (833) 997-1774.  

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