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Regulations help Establish Fault in Connecticut Trucking Accidents

Day after day we hear horror stories about truck accidents in Connecticut that lead to someones wrongful injury or death. These massive vehicles weighing as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded are on our highways and backroads, and can cause much more damage than a passenger car.

In January of 2000, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) was established to help address and prevent these often deadly accidents. The FMCSR is an agency within the Department of Transportation that regulates the trucking industry and has set minimum safety standards for both trucking companies and their employees in order to reduce trucking accidents, injuries and fatalities. These minimum standards address driver skill and training, trip time, cargo, maintenance of vehicles, and much more. Through the FMCSR truck drivers and trucking companies are held to higher driving standards than passenger vehicles.

Although these rules are in place to prevent dangerous driving these vehicles continue to pose a serious driving hazard. The NHTSA states that for every 100 million miles driven on U.S. road ways, there are 2.3 deaths and 60.5 injuries caused by big rigs, and about 130,000 individuals are injured each year in truck collisions.

Speaking with a member of the Connecticut State police assigned to the State Police Commercial Enforcement Team, it was apparent that certain FMCSR rules are repeatedly violated and are the focus of numerous court cases. These include;

*Requirement to properly load and secure cargo; We have seen this here in Connecticut. A tractor trailer was carrying tires that were not secured properly and rolled off the flatbed on to the highway. One tire bounced on the 84 East, then on the grass median, and again onto 84 West where it caused a terrible car accident.

* Requirement to make a pre-trip inspection; The FMCSR states that no commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that all of the working parts and emergency equipment are in good working order. One Connecticut truck driver gave me a straight answer on this requirement, he said "I have a job, and I need to get paid!" "I have to drive!"

*Requirement for the trucking company to adequately hire, train, and supervise its drivers; In order for a driver to be qualified the motor carrier must establish that the driver "can by reason of experience, training, or both, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she operates."

* Requirement of the trucking company to schedule deliveries in such a manner that does not encourage its drivers to speed or exceed the maximum hours of consecutive driving time. Drivers are restricted to 11 hours of driving and then the driver must stop. He/she may start driving 10 hours later. All driving hours and rest hours must be recorded in a log book and made available to law enforcement officials if asked.

Even with the support of the state and federal Department of Transportation, the FMCSR, and local state troopers assigned to Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement, truck accidents are still taking place in Connecticut. These accidents frequently result in severe injuries and even death, and because the law can be confusing, it is a good idea to contact an experienced Hartford personal injury attorney to help you sort through your options.

 Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims involved in these accidents.

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