What Are the Most Common Truck Accident Violations Truckers Make?
Did you know that truck accidents are extremely rare—almost unheard of?
What we mean is that truck “accidents” are extremely rare. Almost every truck crash that happens is preventable. It’s not an accident at all. It’s the consequence of negligence.
And one of the most common forms of negligence in the trucking industry is federal law violations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) creates and enforces a wide system of rules and regulations governing all aspects of the commercial trucking sector.
When even one of these laws is broken, lives are put at risk.
Examining data collected by the FMCSA, we’ll look at the most common truck accident violations truckers make. If one of these (or another) violation led to your crash and injuries, a skilled attorney from the Trucking Injury Law Group can represent you in holding the violator legally accountable.
The Most Common Trucking Violations CMV Operators Make
Operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must live up to high standards. Driving a 40-ton machine at 70 mph within mere feet of passenger vehicles is not a task that should be taken lightly. The rules a commercial trucker must follow are strict, as they should be.
But not all CMV operators respect their duty to uphold safety standards. Some drivers break the laws that are put in place to protect both them and us.
According to the FMCSA, these are the most common truck accident violations truckers make.
Federal regulations specify that every CMV “must be operated in accordance with the laws, ordinances, and regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is being operated.”
That means truckers have a duty to safely adhere to all local, state, and federal traffic laws. A moving violation is when the truck driver breaks a traffic rule that was put in place to keep motorists safe. The most common moving violations committed by CMV drivers are:
- Tailgating (following another vehicle too closely)
- Improper lane changes (such as failing to signal, cutting other vehicles off, or not checking blind spots before merging or changing lanes)
- Reckless driving
- Improper turns (including illegal turns, turning into traffic, or poorly-executed wide turns)
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Railroad crossing violations
- Failure to obey a traffic control device (such as a traffic light or stop sign)
Cell Phone Use Violations
CMV operators are banned from using hand-held mobile devices while operating a commercial truck. Yet, cell phone violations are consistently one of the most common violations truckers commit. The most frequent citations are:
- Texting while driving
- Using a hand-held phone to make calls, use social media, or for another purpose while driving
Cell phone use is a form of distracted driving—a behavior that causes visual, cognitive, and manual impairments. This means that the driver’s:
- Eyes are not on the road,
- Mind is not on the task of safe driving, and
- Hands are not on the wheel.
Reading even one text message at 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
When you consider that trucks can weigh 20 or more times the weight of a passenger car—and take twice as long to stop after braking—we don’t need to explain how outrageously dangerous it is for truckers to play on their phones while operating a CMV.
Controlled Substance Use Violations
Equally dangerous is the use of controlled substances behind the wheel. This includes alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs with side effects, and illicit drugs like amphetamines, cocaine, opioids, and PCP.
Two substance use-related violations rank among the most common regulations broken by truckers:
- Driving while in possession of a narcotic drug or amphetamine
- Possessing alcohol while on duty, driving under the influence of alcohol, or being in physical control of the vehicle while intoxicated
CMV drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing that may be random or administered after a collision, when hired, after returning to duty after a violation, and at other times as the company sees appropriate.
A company that fails in its duty to diligently test drivers or implement mandatory penalties for violations can also be found liable for negligence that allowed intoxicated employees to operate large commercial vehicles.
Driving a CMV is an intensive task that demands full attention. That’s why there are rules in place to limit the number of passengers allowed in the truck. Passenger violations are also classified among the most commonly broken laws, including:
- Having an unauthorized passenger on board the CMV
- Having passengers on board who are not properly restrained by seat belts
Other Miscellaneous Violations
Rounding out the list of the most common truck accident violations committed by truckers are:
- Failing to wear a seat belt while operating the vehicle
- Failing to use hazard warning signal flashers when stopped on the side of the highway
- Using a radar detector that can identify police radar guns (and allow the driver to speed while avoiding speeding tickets)
When a Trucker Breaks the Law, They Must Face the Consequences
You know what the consequences of violating trucking laws look like. You’re living with the consequences right now. Severe injuries, vehicle damage, financial impairment, and emotional anguish—these are the tragic outcomes of a trucker’s decision to break the law.
But you weren’t the one who violated a federal trucking rule. And there is no reason you should be the one left to deal with the consequences.
At Trucking Injury Law Group, we devote our careers to defending people like you. We firmly believe that wrongdoing must be addressed and justice must be pursued. Only in this way can we set wrongs right and look toward a future in which no one has to fear dangerous trucking practices that injure and claim lives.
If you or someone you love suffered harm because of a truck accident violation in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, or anywhere in the U.S. or across the West Coast, the compassionate Super Team at our law group is ready to stand by our side. Contact us to begin the conversation. A case evaluation is completely free to injured survivors and family members looking for legal guidance.