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How common are violations of federal trucking regulations?

Commercial semi trucks are an important part of commerce in West Virginia. But these vehicles are extremely large and heavy compared to most passenger vehicles. Many are carrying hazardous materials. Thus, semi truck accidents are a major problem because they can cause severe injuries, death and tremendous damage to property.

For these reasons, federal trucking regulations aim to make trucking as safe as possible. But how are these regulations enforced, and how common are violations?

Roadside inspections are one means by which regulators check vehicles and their drivers for any safety violations. In 2015 alone, inspectors conducted more than 21,000 examinations of commercial vehicles in West Virginia. More than 12 percent of those safety checks resulted in violations that were so serious the inspector had to order the vehicle to be taken out of service until the truck company or driver could properly address the safety issue. In addition, more than four percent of the inspections uncovered serious violations that resulted in out-of-service orders for the truck driver.

Nobody can know for sure how many of these safety violations might have resulted in truck accidents if the inspectors had not caught the problems and ordered the driver or vehicle off the road. Likewise, it is impossible to know how many safety violations slipped through the cracks and are still threatening the safety of anyone who travels on West Virginia's roads and highways.

If a driver or truck company violates any regulations through negligent truck maintenance, by keeping incomplete trucking logs, or for any other reason, they are jeopardizing the safety of people who share the roads with those trucks. As the data shows, inspectors find many violations of trucking regulations, and if one of these results in an accident, the victims can hold the driver or trucking company legally responsible.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Summary of Roadside Inspections in West Virginia," Accessed on July 8, 2016

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