Frequently Ignored Safety Regulations for Tractor-Trailers in West Virginia
In 2000, the United States federal government instituted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in an effort to help supervise America’s tractor-trailer-based shipping industry and to advance the safety of these commercial shipping carriers throughout the country. A good portion of tractor-trailer drivers and the trucking companies that hire them, however, regularly forego these safety methods in an attempt to cut corners and protect their overall profit. Sadly, neglecting to abide by these safety directives will only increase the odds of seeing a higher annual amount of disastrous and fatal truck accidents.
Some of the more commonly violated trucking ordinances throughout the state of West Virginia are:
Drug and Alcohol Use
Beholden to the same laws as the operators of non-commercial vehicles, truck drivers are absolutely not permitted to be behind the wheel of their rig if they are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Imposing a mandatory drug test to potential new employees as a regular part of the hiring process and forcing additional random drug tests are widely considered to be the main factor in limiting this kind of conduct and securing some consistent degree of safety to other drivers on the road. If a commercial driver has submitted a dirty drug screen, however, and proceeded to remain employed as an active driver, then both the trucking company and the trucker could be deemed responsible for any property damage, deaths, or injuries that stem from an incident.
Hours of Service Violations
Listed in that same set of safety ordinances, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) asserts that any truckers who are on the road for a period exceeding eight consecutive hours are lawfully obligated to take a minimum of a half-hour rest. In the event that a driver is on the road for 14 consecutive hours, then he would be obligated to take a rest period of no less than 10 hours before he could legally drive his rig again.
Additionally, truck drivers are prevented from driving for any length of time that exceeds 11 total hours in a 14-hour stretch. They are also disallowed from being on the road for any greater length of time than 60 total hours in seven continuous days or for more than 70 cumulative hours in any eight working day period. Unfortunately, the majority of trucking companies push their employees to remain on the roads for an unreasonable length of time and some of these companies will even take such extreme and unlawful measures as forging a driver’s records in an effort to hide their hours of service violations.
This complete disregard for the safety dictates of the FMCSRs, more often than not, causes overworked, exhausted truck drivers to be behind the wheel. Several research studies have shown that driving any vehicle while overly tired is not unlike driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and could quickly result in a disastrous collision.
One of the single most valuable services that a tractor-trailer accident attorney can perform for you is to ensure that someone who is familiar with the current laws is protecting your rights. The attorneys here at Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner, PLLC put everything they have into defending their clients. We can ensure that you or your loved one do not blindly accept a settlement offer that appears equitable but, in reality, is very unfair.
We are here to make sure that you receive full financial compensation for any damages that you have sustained. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident in West Virginia and you would like to take advantage of our free consultation regarding your personal injury case, then please reach out to our experienced attorneys by calling 304-431-4050 today.