When it comes to commercial vehicles, all truck drivers in each state must
comply with the rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier
Association (FMCSA), and this includes South Carolina. The FMCSA was established
in January of 2000, and is an agency within the Department of Transportation.
The FMCSA’s number one mission is to prevent injuries and fatalities
associated with the commercial trucking industry. The FMCSA’s activities
are aimed at improving the safety in commercial motor carrier operations,
and it accomplishes this by strictly enforcing safety regulations, increasing
safety awareness, and targeting high-risk carriers.
To illustrate, on December 31, 2013, the United States Department of Transportation
issued a press release entitled, “FMCSA Declares South Carolina
Trucking Companies and Commercial Driver to be Imminent Hazards to Public
Safety.” In this press release, two S.C.-based trucking companies
underwent a federal shut-down after the FMCSA discovered that they were
violating federal regulations.
In one of the cases, a truck driver was operating a tractor-trailer when
he lost control of the truck, crossed the center lane, and collided with
a passenger vehicle, killing the driver.
After the crash investigation, the truck driver was charged with numerous
violations, including driving without a driver’s license, reckless
driving, possessing alcohol, operating a commercial vehicle while disqualified.
Further, the FMCSA’s safety investigators found that the trucking
company failed to:
- Qualify its drivers
- Comply with the federal hours of service (HOS) requirements
- Comply with the drug and alcohol testing regulations
- Routinely inspect, maintain and repair its vehicles
As you can imagine, this truck company was a ticking time bomb, and it
was only a matter of time before one of the drivers was involved in a
crash whether such cause was due to driver negligence or a physical problem
with an improperly maintained truck.
Federal Trucking Regulations
Commercial truck drivers in South Carolina and nationwide are required
by federal law to abide by the federal trucking regulations, which address
critical safety issues concerning medical qualifications, drug and alcohol
testing, hazardous materials, cargo securement and hours of service (HOS).
The federal regulations are absolutely essential to having a safe trucking
industry, however, as described in the example above, not all trucking
companies and truck drivers adhere to these rules. When egregious violations
cause undue injuries or fatalities, the negligent truck driver or trucking
company may be held liable for the victim’s damages, plus they face
monetary fines and other penalties imposed by the FMCSA.
To learn more about state and federal truck safety regulations, contact the
Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC to arrange a free case evaluation. With a
10.0 Superb Avvo Rating and accreditation with the
Better Business Bureau, you can be rest assured that your truck accident case is in very good hands.