Under FMCSA regulations, trucking companies and truckers must inspect and maintain their trucks. Violation of these duties may have caused your truck accident.

Did the Trucking Company’s Failure to Properly Maintain Its Truck Cause Your Crash?

In many truck accidents, trucker negligence, such as distracted driving, speeding, or driving longer than allowed under hours of service regulations, is the cause of the collision. However, in some cases, the problem is lack of maintenance and inspections of the truck that results in a key component—such as the brakes, tires, or steering—failing and causing the trucker to lose control of the truck. The fault can lie with the truck driver, trucking company, maintenance facility—or all of them.

FMCSA Requirements for Inspection and Maintenance

Many trucking companies contract with a repair facility to perform maintenance and repair of their commercial fleet. Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, trucking companies and their maintenance facilities are required to systematically inspect, maintain, and repair their trucks. The regulations prohibit a truck from being driven if it is likely to break down or cause an accident due to its condition. Some of the components that should be inspected and repaired if necessary include the brakes, tires, lights, battery, steering, transmission, and belts.

Truck Driver Inspection Requirements

Truck drivers also have duties to inspect the truck that they are driving under FMCSA rules. Some of these required inspections include:

  • Pre-trip inspection. Truckers are required to conduct a pre-trip inspection to ensure that the truck is in working order and the load is secured properly. This includes reviewing the last driver’s inspection report at the end of his trip and making sure that any noted problems have been corrected.
  • Post-trip inspection. At the end of the trip, a truck driver is required to conduct a post-trip inspection and to list any repair problems on a report that is provided to the trucking company. These maintenance issues must be addressed before the truck is taken on the road again.
  • Daily inspections. An inspection of the truck and daily trip report should be completed by the truck driver at the end of each work day. This report should list any maintenance issues and must be provided to the trucking company. The truck should not be driven until needed repairs are made, but unfortunately this does not always happen.

What Records Are Trucking Companies Required to Keep?

Under FMCSA rules, trucking companies are required to keep maintenance records for their trucks for one year or for six months if the truck is no longer in their control. Truck driver inspection reports must be kept for three months.

Proving that lack of inspection and maintenance of the truck caused your accident will not be easy, and you will need the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney to obtain the inspection and maintenance records from the trucking company. He can quickly send them a spoliation letter advising them of your claim and ordering them not to destroy these and other important documents that will help you prove your case. To discuss your legal options with one of our skilled lawyers, fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.