Danville Truck Maintenance Safety Regulation Violation Lawyers
Since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has repeatedly, and in some cases permanently, rolled back key safety laws. These repeated rollbacks affect the trucking environment.
Truckers feel empowered to push the safety envelope, especially when it comes to maintenance issues, because they don’t think anyone is watching. At the same time, law enforcement officers don’t inspect vehicles as carefully. After all, if the feds don’t care about large truck safety, why should they feel any differently?
When regulators don’t protect public safety, the dedicated Danville truck maintenance safety violation lawyers at Patel Law pick up the slack. Simply stated, we force companies and drivers to put people before profits and take safety seriously, even if federal regulators and other officials don’t seem to care about it.
Common Mechanical Violations
Overweight violations are, by far, the most common mechanical violation among large trucks in Illinois. Faulty brakes are second.
In their defense, the aforementioned regulatory environment has created some confusion among truck drivers as to the allowable weight of a certain load. The government often issues blanket weight waivers for truckers hauling certain cargo, such as consumables like food, fuel, and building materials.
On average, a fully-loaded large truck weighs over 80,000 pounds. A little extra weight presses vehicles beyond their capabilities. Overweight trucks are more prone to jackknifing and other collisions. Additionally, in a crash, the excess force is more than any passenger vehicle can possibly absorb.
Faulty brakes have similar issues. Normally, the fault is very slight and almost imperceptible. But, if a truck must stop suddenly, bad brakes increase the stopping distance required. A normal-size truck continues moving forward for almost two football fields after a trucker applies the brakes at 65mph. Oversize trucks often don’t stop at all.
On a related note, the mechanical flaw could involve the truck driver. Illinois has very strict HOS (Hours of Service) restrictions. These rules include daily and weekly driving limits. Scientifically, a fatigued truck driver is as dangerous as a drunk truck driver.
Evidence in Truck Crash Cases
Until recently, truck mechanical violations were very difficult for a Danville truck maintenance safety violation lawyer to prove in court. Most truckers have driver’s licenses in several different states. If Jill was passing through Illinois when the brakes on her truck reached a critical point, it could be difficult or impossible to obtain another state’s mechanical violation records.
Things changed dramatically a few years ago when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rolled out the Safety Maintenance System. An SMS report is basically like a multistate driver’s license that records matters like:
- Traffic violations, like speeding, even in a personal vehicle,
- Substance abuse issues,
- HOS compliance,
- Maintenance violations, and
- Hazardous material violations.
Usually, the SMS report draws on law enforcement records. So, it’s much more accurate than a driving record.
Assume Jill received a fix-it ticket in California for defective brakes. If Jill addresses the problem before the deadline, the citation probably won’t appear on her driving record. However, the citation would appear on her SMS report.
Electronic evidence, such as a large truck’s Event Data Recorder, is also admissible in these cases. EDRs measure and record vehicle speed, steering angle, and other operational details. Most large trucks also have an Electronic Data Recorder. This gadget tracks HOS compliance issues.
Rely on an Experienced Vermilion County Lawyer
Injury victims are often entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced truck maintenance safety violation attorney in Danville, contact Patel Law, P.C. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.