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Federal rules govern truck maintenance to avoid truck accidents

It does not take much imagination to picture what can happen when the tires or brakes on a semi truck fail on a busy Montana highway. To help prevent accidents caused by negligent truck maintenance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations include provisions governing truck maintenance.

The federal regulations apply to trucks in interstate service with a gross weight over 10,000 pounds. They also apply to trucks in intrastate service with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds, and trucks carrying specified quantities of hazardous materials.

The federal regulations require that drivers complete a vehicle inspection at the end of each work day and prepare a report of that inspection. This daily inspection report must cover parking and service brakes, lights, tires, mirrors, the steering mechanism, windshield wipers, coupling devices and emergency equipment. The driver must note any defect that might affect vehicle safety.

The truck company must repair any problems identified on the report, or certify in writing that repair is unnecessary, before the truck can return to service. The next driver must review the last inspection report before operating the truck.

In addition to these daily inspections, each truck must have a more thorough inspection every 12 months, covering a list of items set out in the federal regulations. This annual inspection must be performed by an inspector who is qualified by training or experience in commercial motor vehicle inspection. Brake inspectors require additional qualifications.

A large tractor-trailer can do a lot of damage in a collision. People in cars, SUVs or pickups do not stand much of a chance when they are hit by one of these behemoths. If negligent maintenance was a factor in a semi-truck accident, the truck company can be held liable for any resulting injuries or deaths.

Source:, "Getting Started," accessed on Nov. 5, 2016

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