If you have been involved in a semi truck accident, the big rig driver and the trucking company may very well have violated safety rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Violations of FMCSA regulations are direct factors in most collisions caused by semi truck drivers.
Not all trucking companies and truck drivers are unsafe and negligent. Unfortunately, some semi truck drivers and companies break the rules. Other drivers on the roadway then fall victim to these rule violations, unsafe practices, and negligence. If this happens, Paoli Law Firm can help you. Trucking companies often boast about their dedication to getting shipments and packages to their destinations by strict deadlines. For example, a FedEx Ground full page ad in USA Today on November 28, 2014 showed a photo of a pleasant-looking gentleman in a FedEx uniform. The ad said, “We’d like to thank our 300,000 team members for being there every step of the way this holiday season.” This ad came just months after a FedEx truck crashed into a tour bus in Southern California filled with high school students, leaving 10 dead and 30 injured. The ad came just 8 days after a bicyclist died after a collision with a FedEx truck in Oregon. On FedEx’s busiest shipping day of the year (December 15), a FedEx truck overturned in New Jersey after the driver lost control of the double-trailer. (FedEx officials say company crews got to the scene shortly after the crash and quickly reloaded packages to help reduce possible delivery delays.) On December 16 another FedEx truck driver hauling double trailers lost control after his second trailer became loose. His truck veered across the interstate and hit the median. Both of the December crashes reportedly resulted in injuries. If you’ve driven on the interstate or highways you’ve likely seen first hand that there are some truck drivers and trucking companies whose dedication to meeting deadlines can scary and incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, to save time and money, these drivers and trucking companies overlook or deliberately ignore the rules and the safety of other drivers on the roadway to get their cargo to its destination as quickly and cheaply as possible. This fixation on the bottom line too often results in trucking companies hiring drivers who are not adequately trained or qualified, and then working them on tight deadlines in unsafe truck and trailer combinations. The semi drivers are under pressure to meet these unrealistic deadlines and often lack proper training or knowledge of the FMCSA regulations. This is a recipe for disaster. Some of the most common FMCSA violations include driver fatigue (exceeding hours of service), speeding, operating unsafe vehicles, driving recklessly in dangerous weather, distracted driving, and defective or worn tires and brakes. If you or a loved one were involved in a collision caused by a semi-truck driver you have very likely suffered significant injuries and damages. The semi truck driver and trucking company’s actions (or lack thereof) may be part of an ongoing pattern of safety violations. We can find out for you whether the trucking company has a history of safety violations. Information we can gather about the trucking company that caused your injuries includes:
- Whether any safety audits have been conducted
- Safety ratings
- Critical or acute violations for the company
- Any factors rated conditional or unsatisfactory for the company
- Out of Service records for the company
- Data reported to the FMCSA through requirements of State and Federal programs
- BASICs Safety Information including Unsafe Driving, Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances and Alcohol, and Vehicle Maintenance Percentiles for two years prior to requesting the information
- A 4-year summary of crashes including fatalities, injuries, and tow-aways
- Detailed information for each crash including date, location, and sequence of events
- Inspections Summary including number of driver and vehicle inspections and resulting out of service inspections, violations, and specific types of violations for two years prior to request
- Detailed information for each inspection including date, time, location, VIN number, license plate number, and unit type
- Class, carrier type, and carrier operation
- Number of drivers, power units and trucks
- Type of cargo carried
- Yearly reported mileage
- Insurance requirements.
Most of this information is available for two years from the time of the request. This means the sooner you request it or have us request it for you, the better! At Paoli Law Firm, we will also review the semi-truck driver’s social media activity, the trucking company’s website, and check for news about the semi-truck driver and the trucking company. This information may all be important to your case as it moves forward. If you were in a collision involving a semi tractor-trailer combination, you have enough to worry about. Let us put our experience to work for you in dealing with the trucking company and its very skilled insurance company and lawyers. We have experience with small to extremely large trucking companies and have achieved successful resolution for our clients against these companies. In addition to this preliminary investigative work, contact us at 406-542-3330 to discuss your claim and how our experience and knowledge can help you.