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Truck accidents and FMCSA requirements

Drivers of commercial trucks have a lot of responsibilities. Due to a commercial tractor trailer's size and weight, truck accidents are particularly dangerous and often result in serious injuries or death. In response to several recent high-profile truck accidents, the federal agency tasked with regulating the safety and use of commercial tractor trailers and smaller trucks is stepping up safety inspection efforts.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established a set of safety guidelines by which all operating commercial vehicle owners and drivers must abide. Failure to follow FMCSA safety regulations can result in stiff fines, loss of a business or driver's license, and even civil or criminal charges.

Regulations established by the FMCSA include specific "Hours of Service" or "HoS" requirements. HoS requirements limit the number of consecutive hours truck drivers can operate a motor vehicle. These same requirements also dictate that drivers must be allowed to sleep a certain number of hours prior to returning to active service.

FMCSA regulations also dictate that commercial vehicle operators and companies keep accurate records related to vehicle inspection and repair services. Drivers are also required to undergo routine testing for controlled substances, including drugs and alcohol.

Some within the commercial trucking industry complain that current FMCSA regulations are too strict and severely limit the industry's ability to be profitable. Others, however, contend the regulations are necessary and that even more oversight is needed to ensure trucking companies and individual drivers are compliant.

Pennsylvania residents who have been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle would be wise to consult with a legal professional to review potential options. In many cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate in helping recover compensation related to medical expenses, injuries and pain and suffering. If you have been involved in an accident with a negligent truck driver, call the Pittsburgh truck accidents lawyers at Goodrich & Geist today for a free consultation at 412-766-1455.

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