New Mexico Trucking Accident Lawyer Explains Common FMCSA Violations Which Cause 18 Wheeler Wrecks
Since trucking is an interstate business, meaning it takes place in multiple states, there are federal regulations which apply to truck drivers and trucking companies no matter what state the truck is from, going to, or presently in. These federal regulations are promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. While some of these regulations are ministerial in nature, many of the regulations are important safety guidelines to protect people from deadly 18 wheeler wrecks. Indeed, when truck drivers fail to comply with the FMCSA regulations it can lead to serious if not fatal New Mexico trucking accidents.
Here at the Mark Caruso, our experienced New Mexico trucking accident lawyer knows that violations of FMCSA regulations can be a vital and powerful tool in protecting the rights of an innocent victim injured by in an 18 wheeler wreck. Using these violations we can help establish liability and prevent a truck driver or trucking company from avoidable their obligations to all people on or around the roadways. Call to schedule a FREE appointment to learn how we can help you by dialing (505) 883-5000.
Common FMCSA Violations Which Result in Catastrophic or Fatal Injuries
FMCSA regulations are contained in an extensive matrix of rights and obligations. It can easily become overwhelming to use these regulations, even for regular auto accident lawyers who do not focus on trucking accidents like our firm. Yet, all truck drivers and trucking companies are required to understand how these regulations apply in any situation. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Thus, truck drivers who cause a serious New Mexico trucking accident due to a FMCSA violation could be responsible for victims.
The most common violations include the following:
Hours of Service Violations – The purpose of hours of service, or HOS, regulations is to ensure that a truck driver is not operating a commercial vehicle longer than is safe when considering the extreme fatigue that all driving causes, especially a large truck. The more fatigued a driver becomes, the higher the risk of a crash. Therefore, a truck driver is only allowed to operate a motor vehicle for the following time periods:
- On a 24 hour cycle of a maximum of 14 hours “on duty” and 10 hours “off duty”;
- 10 hour maximum drive time in a 14 our “on duty” shift;
- Consecutive 8 hours maximum of driving before a least a 30 minute break is required.
Inclement weather – When there are hazardous conditions on the roadway, all truck drivers must act appropriately and with “extreme caution.” These hazardous conditions could be caused by ice, rain, dust, smoke, or other conditions which could reduce visibility, reduce traction, or both. If the conditions are so dangerous that a truck cannot be safely operated, the truck driver must stop until it is safe to do so. A New Mexico trucking accident in inclement weather usually means that FMCSA has been violated.
Emergency Warning Signals and Cones – A stopped truck on a roadway must immediately put on its emergency flashers. When the truck has been stopped for 10 minutes or more, the truck must place warning cones 10 feet behind the truck and both 100 feet in front of and 100 feet behind the truck. These are to alert other vehicles of the hazard of a stopped vehicle. This is particularly true in dust storms which affect visibility or at night time.
No Alcohol or Drug Use – Obviously during a shift a truck driver cannot use drugs or alcohol. But even before a shift a truck driver cannot use alcohol within a four hour window before the shift starts. This is important because a truck driver can violate the FMCSA even before he or she touches the wheel. Drunk driving and drugged driving are huge problems throughout the country, and when a large commercial vehicle engages in this dangerous behavior it is simply devastating.
Injured in an 18 Wheeler Wreck? Call Us For Help
FMCSA happen more often than you may believe, and they are not necessarily obvious when they occur. If you or a loved one have been seriously or wrongfully killed in any trucking crash or wreck, please call the Mark Caruso by dialing (505) 883-5000 to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyers. We handle cases throughout New Mexico, including in Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Roswell, Farmington, Hobbs, Lordsburg, or anywhere else in the state, including Albuquerque where our law office is located. You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.