Part of the great responsibility of driving a commercial truck is adhering to various safety regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the governing body that regulates and enforces safety standards for commercial vehicles in the United States. FMCSA violations are serious offenses that can result in fines, license suspensions, or even criminal charges. The most common trucking violations that pose a danger to the driver and other motorists are as follows.
Table of Contents
Hours of Service Violations
Hours of Service (HOS) regulations govern the amount of time that commercial drivers can operate their vehicles without taking a break. The FMCSA has set specific guidelines to ensure that truck drivers are rested and remain alert while on the road. HOS regulations are one of the most commonly violated laws, often due to the pressure of meeting deadlines.
Driver Qualification Violations
To operate a truck, drivers must meet certain qualifications, including obtaining a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and having a clean driving record. Common violations of driver qualification standards include driving without a CDL, driving with a suspended license, or failing to disclose a prior conviction on a job application.
Vehicle Maintenance Violations
Commercial vehicles are subjected to rigorous maintenance standards to ensure they are safe to operate on the road. Regular inspections and maintenance checks are required to identify and address potential issues before they become a safety hazard. Vehicle maintenance violations can include things like malfunctioning brakes, defective lighting, or worn-out tires.
Overweight and Overloading Violations
Overweight and overloading violations can occur when the driver exceeds the vehicle’s weight limit or fails to distribute the weight of the cargo properly. Overloading a commercial vehicle can have severe consequences. It can cause damage to the vehicle, the driver to lose control, and cause a serious accident.
Commercial drivers are required to keep detailed records of their driving time, rest periods, and other important information in a logbook. These records are used to ensure compliance with HOS regulations and to track the driver’s activity. Logbook violations can include falsifying logbook entries, failing to maintain an accurate record of driving time, or failing to submit the logbook to the appropriate authorities.
Consequences for Trucking Violations
These trucking violations and others can have severe repercussions for the truck driver, the trucking company, and others on the road. As a result, truck drivers and/or trucking companies can face significant fines ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. Additionally, the truck driver’s CDL and/or the trucking company’s operating authority can be suspended or revoked.
Violating FMCSA regulations can also result in civil or criminal charges. Depending on the severity of the violation, trucking companies may face fines, lawsuits, or even imprisonment. If the truck driver or trucking company’s failure to comply with FMCSA regulations led to an accident, they may be considered negligent and responsible for damages—such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, pain and suffering, etc.
Truck accident cases involving FMSCA violations can be complex. If you or a loved one has suffered harm, speak to a Houston truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.