Top Violations Linked to Truck Crashes in North Carolina
Investigating FMCSA violations that lead to commercial truck crashes
Because commercial trucks, traveling at highway speeds, have such destructive potential, the federal government regulates many phases of their operations, mandating standards for workers and equipment maintenance. Unfortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been unable to enforce the regulations effectively, so carriers get away with negligent performance until devastating accidents occur. At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we represent victims of trucking accidents across North Carolina. We have firsthand experience investigating accidents where unreported violations led directly to tragedy. If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, we promise to thoroughly investigate the circumstances to uncover any regulatory violations and will fight to hold all wrongdoers accountable.
The five violations most often linked to truck accidents
According to the Highway Safety Research Center of the University of North Carolina, accidents involving large commercial trucks killed 117 people in North Carolina in 2014, and the number of fatalities increased to 126 in 2015. That year, commercial truck accidents killed nine people in Charlotte and four in Raleigh. Not every truck accident is the fault of the truck driver or the company, but accidents commonly result from these violations:
- Hours of service — The FMCSA regulates the number of hour a driver can operate a big-rig on a given day and in a given week. However, drivers and their supervisors often ignore prohibitions meant to keep fatigued drivers off the road. When sleep-deprived operators get behind the wheel, the likelihood of accidents increases dramatically.
- DUI — The legal limit for blood alcohol content for a commercial truck driver is 0.04 percent, half that of a standard DUI for an adult driver. Illicit drugs (and, increasingly, prescription opioids) can also impair a driver’s performance.
- Improperly loaded cargo — Unbalanced loads can cause a rig to tip and roll over, especially on tight curves. Cargo that shifts unexpectedly can make a trailer impossible to control. Exceeding federal weight limits also makes a tractor-trailer much more dangerous to operate.
- Neglected maintenance — The FMCSA requires regularly scheduled maintenance, but equipment is too often put back into service without so much as a look, even after drivers have raised concerns about steering and brake systems. It is not uncommon to learn that the brakes of a truck involved in a crash had recently flunked inspection.
- Negligent hiring and supervision — Truck companies have a duty to the public to hire qualified drivers to operate heavy equipment. Unfortunately, many companies do not vet new hires or closely supervise their fleet drivers, which should include periodic drug and alcohol testing.
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to prove liability for your truck accident. We have fulltime investigators on staff who examine physical evidence and search for potential witnesses. We consult with accident reconstruction experts, and we use the discovery process to access vital truck company records to uncover any violations that may have led to your crash. We leave no stone unturned as we search for the evidence necessary to win your case.
Contact our dedicated truck accident lawyers in North Carolina
Commercial truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. When the stakes are high for you and your family, you can trust Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban to pursue justice aggressively. Schedule a free consultation and case evaluation today by calling us at (888) 351-1038 or contacting our office online.