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Roadside inspections enforce federal trucking regulations


For Montana residents, large semi trucks are a familiar sight on our highways. For drivers of passenger cars and pickup trucks, sharing the road with these behemoths can sometimes be intimidating. In a collision, they can destroy a smaller vehicle and leave its occupants dead or seriously injured.

In order to promote semi truck safety, federal trucking regulations have been enacted to govern driver hours of service as well as truck maintenance, equipment and loading. To enforce these regulations federal and state authorities conduct regular roadside inspections of these vehicles. If inspectors find a serious violation, they can order a truck or driver out of service until the problem is corrected.

In fiscal year 2015 federal and state inspectors conducted a total of 41,234 roadside inspections in Montana. Of these, 4,544 were full inspections, 16,532 were walk-around inspections, 19,936 were driver-only inspections and 312 were inspections at carriers' terminal facilities. These inspections resulted in out-of-service orders being issued to 5.77 percent of drivers and 21.05 percent of trucks. Hazardous materials out-of-service orders were issued in 1.48 percent of inspections.

When someone is killed or seriously injured in a semi truck accident it is important to thoroughly investigate the inspection records and maintenance history of the truck involved. If the investigation shows the crash was caused by negligent truck maintenance, the truck company can be held liable in court. In a fatal accident, family members can recover damages for their loved one's wrongful death. Injured victims can sue for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Summary of Roadside Inspections in Montana," accessed July 29, 2016

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