The trucking industry in the United States is subject to an increasing network of laws and regulations designed to protect the safety of others on the roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have created a system which, while not perfect, greatly enhances safety. Maintenance and safety features for the vehicles, hours-of-service limits for drivers, weight and size limits for loads, and other rules all work together to protect the public.
Many drivers thus assume that trucks are largely safe, and that the companies and drivers and companies are largely following these rules and regulations. The unfortunate truth, however, is that trucking companies and drivers sometimes ignore these safety rules.
The result is unnecessary deaths and ruined lives. The experienced car accident attorneys of Passen & Powell know that overtired drivers and poorly maintained vehicles – all violations of federal law – contribute to the thousands of deaths and permanent injury each year on American roads.
Often, these violations lead to fines, suspensions, and other penalties under federal and state law.
But occasionally, a company goes so far past non-compliance that the FMCSA is driven to drastic action.
Earlier this month, the FMCSA completely shut down Gunthers Transport, LLC., a Maryland-based trucking company. The agency conducted a full review of the company’s operations. The review uncovered an ongoing pattern of violations, including both vehicle maintenance violations and hours-of-service violations.
These violations included permitting drivers to exceed the federal limit of 11 hours per day of driving, and encouraged drivers to falsify their hours-of-service records to reflect service hours within the legal limit. The company also permitted drivers to skip legally-required pre-trip safety checks for their vehicles – a risk compounded by the fact that the company operated many vehicles in extremely poor condition. The FMCSA concluded that these violations substantially increased the likelihood of serious public injuries or deaths.
As a result, the FMCSA declared the company an imminent hazard to public safety, and issued a hazard out-of-service order.
In announcing the order, Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, emphasized the Department’s commitment to safety, adding that “Commercial truck companies that recklessly disregard federal safety regulations will be shut down and removed from our roadways.”
Our top trucking accident attorneys are pleased to see federal regulators taking decisive action to correct a dangerous situation.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, talk to an experienced trucking attorney. Our lawyers are familiar with the federal requirements, and can help you to determine whether your accident should have been prevented by compliance with those laws.
If you have any questions about a serious trucking accident, please give us a call us at 312-527-4500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation. You can also learn more by following us on Twitter, reviewing our LinkedIn or Avvo.com pages, and by reviewing our website.