Regulatory Violations and Trucking Accidents in Oklahoma

The state and federal government has developed and implemented several trucking regulations to help large semi-trucks and cars share the roads and highways as safely as possible. These regulations typically control how long truckers can drive on the roads, how much weight their cargo can carry, what types of qualifications they must possess, and more.

As a result of these trucking regulations, there are fewer trucking accidents, injuries, and deaths than in the past. However, some truck drivers and trucking companies still insist on ignoring the regulations that are in place, putting others at risk.

What types of trucking regulations exist?

There are many different trucking regulations created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations are used to govern certain behaviors and actions, which helps create a safer environment for truck drivers, automobile drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone else sharing the roads. Some of the various types of trucking regulations that exist includes:

  • Cargo weight and truck size limits
  • Licensing requirements
  • Hours of Service limits
  • Alcohol and drug testing
  • Driver qualifications
  • Maintenance and inspection requirements
  • Hazardous materials requirements

What happens if a truck driver or trucking company violates a regulation?

If a truck driver or trucking company violates a regulation put in place, they are disobeying the law. As a result, the truck driver or trucking company is considered negligent and can be held liable for any accidents caused as well as any injuries that arise from the violations. When a truck driver or trucking company is found liable for accidents and injuries, they may be required to pay compensation to the victim for their losses.

According to the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Progress Report, the FMCSA sent out 26,702 warning letters for trucking violations across the United States in 2022, which was around 4,000 more than 2021. In addition, there were almost 9,000 critical violations and over 57,000 non-critical violations reported for trucking violations in 2022.

Examples of how trucking regulations are violated in Oklahoma City

In Oklahoma City and other parts of the state, some truckers choose to disobey the rules and regulations implemented by the state and local government, leading to traumatic and devastating accidents. Here are a few different examples of common ways these regulations are violated:

  • Speeding: Speeding is a very common violation for truck drivers. The reason behind this is usually because truckers have deadlines or time limits that they are trying to beat, and their companies put a lot of pressure on them to make it to their destinations to deliver the products on time. However, speeding in a large truck that weighs up to 80,000 pounds is extremely dangerous for small automobile drivers traveling nearby. When a truck driver is driving too fast, their reaction times can be severely delayed. In addition, due to the weight of large trucks, truck drivers cannot stop or slow down quickly enough. Therefore, if a vehicle slams on its brakes in front of them while the trucker is speeding, the truck will most likely collide into the vehicle’s rear end.
  • Lying about hours: Lying about hours is another common violation committed by truck drivers. Big rigs come with log books that keep track of the trucker’s hours of service. This ensures that they are following the federal regulations that limit how long truckers can drive each shift. The goal of this regulation is to protect truck drivers and ensure that their employers are giving them adequate breaks and rest times. However, many truckers still try to get around the system and lie about their hours. As a result, they become tired and drowsy behind the wheel, putting themselves and other drivers at risk of serious and life-threatening injuries.
  • Failing to comply with size and weight limits: Many truck drivers or their employers overlook, ignore, or simply fail to comply with the size and weight limits implemented for everyone’s safety. Trucks become overloaded by cargo crews, and either the truck drivers or trucking companies fail to inspect and ensure that the trailer loads meet the required size and weight limits. As a result, the truckers drive off with the large loads and eventually lose control of their trucks. This can lead to the trucks veering into other lanes, running off the roads, or even rolling over into oncoming traffic.
  • Driving without a license: Most truck drivers are required to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before they get behind the wheel of a semi-truck. Oklahoma requires anyone who plans to drive “specialized types of vehicles such as buses, heavy oversized vehicles, or vehicles that carry multiple passengers” to obtain a CDL. However, some companies may become desperate enough to allow drivers to get behind the wheel before they have obtained their license. This is a trucking regulation violation that carries serious consequences.

Determining liability for regulatory violations in Oklahoma City

While most people may assume that it is always the truck driver’s fault when a trucking regulation is violated, this is not always the case. In fact, there can be a variety of different parties who share liability for the losses caused by violations. Some of the liable parties may include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking companies
  • Truck manufacturers
  • Cargo loaders
  • Truck maintenance crews
  • Inspectors
  • Truck leasing companies

Evidence is very important when it comes to establishing liability for regulatory violations. Therefore, you and your truck accident attorney will work together to collect strong and convincing evidence that successfully shows the trucking regulation was violated and by the specific parties. These are a few evidence pieces that may be essential to proving this:

  • Driving logs
  • Inspection records
  • Maintenance reports
  • Photos
  • Videos, video surveillance footage, dashcam footage
  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness testimonies
  • Expert witness statements

If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident in Oklahoma City, the truck accident lawyers at Cunningham & Mears are ready and available to assist you. It can be very challenging to determine whether a violation of one or more trucking regulations caused your accident. However, our attorneys have a strong knowledge and understanding of each regulation, giving us an advantage when it comes to strengthening your legal case and proving that regulator violations were involved. This will not only help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation, but it can also help hold the truck driver or other liable parties accountable for their negligent actions and ensure that other individuals do not become victims to the same violators. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free case review today.