Seeing your check-engine light illuminate may be enough to ruin your day. After all, car repairs can be both expensive and time-consuming. If you are lucky, you can drive for a few days without breaking down or experiencing serious problems. The same may not be true for commercial truckers, however.
Modern semitrucks are complex machines that require a high level of maintenance. Unfortunately, though, trucking companies sometimes focus more on profits than truck safety. That is, a trucker may only perform enough maintenance to pass an inspection without addressing problems that may put your life in danger.
Minimum maintenance requirements
For trucks that operate in the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets minimum maintenance requirements. To ensure that truckers comply with these requirements, trucks must undergo regular inspections. Regrettably, federal requirements do not account for how a trucker uses his or her vehicle. If an operator transports heavy or irregular loads, for example, the truck may require additional maintenance. A truck’s black box may indicate whether its driver properly maintained the vehicle.
The trucker’s obligations
Commercial truckers have an obligation to inspect their vehicles before driving them. If a driver notices signs of damage or wear and tear, he or she should not drive until the problem resolves. Of course, truckers are often under pressure to make tight deadlines. Meanwhile, they must comply with strict requirements about both driving time and resting. As such, a driver may think about delaying important repairs or routine maintenance in an effort to make a delivery on schedule. Clearly, though, if a trucker does not comply with his or her obligations, a catastrophic crash may be imminent.
Commercial truckers have a duty to keep their vehicles in a condition that allows them to operate safely. If a driver fails to do so, you may suffer life-altering injuries in a collision. If a trucker’s negligence or intentional conduct has results in a serious injury, acting quickly to pursue fair compensation is essential.