When I represent people who have been hurt in trucking wrecks, I don’t just look into the circumstances at the accident scene. I consider the requirement to inspect a big rig.
In trucking wreck cases, other factors may also be important that occurred before the wreck. One of the key questions is whether the driver looked over his truck as adequately as he or she should have done before getting on the road.
The Requirement to Inspect a Truck
Before starting a journey a driver is required by federal regulations to be “satisfied” that specific parts and equipment on the rig are in “good working order.”
The Commercial Driver License Manual sets out inspection steps and recommends a seven step process. The process is:
Perform an overview of the whole truck;
Inspect the engine compartment;
Start the engine and check out in the cab;
Turn off the engine and check the lights;
Do a walk-around inspection of the truck;
Check its signaling lights;
Start up the engine again and check.
As well as these checks, the driver must make sure the cargo is loaded properly. Although a driver may not have the specialist knowledge of a loading company, he or she needs to look for obvious problems.
The driver also must look at the previous driver’s inspection report and sign it if deficiencies were reported.
Before getting on the road, a truck driver must also document his hours of service. This is crucial because there are strict, federal hours of service requirements that must be complied with. When I am representing someone who has been injured or the family members of someone who has died in one of these wrecks, I will make sure there are no inconsistencies in the hours of service record, such as a record that indicates unsafe speed or other forms of unsafe behavior. We have seen many wrecks that are caused by tired truckers in Virginia.
Although driver’s error is the most significant cause of trucking wrecks, defects are another cause. If there is a problem with lights, tires or even brakes, a driver should pick up on the issue. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a trucker in Virginia or further afield, please contact me at (866) 455-6657.