Catastrophic truck accidents can occur without warning, especially in the event that improperly loaded cargo or tires fly off of a semi-truck and slam into other vehicles. Missouri and Illinois families who lose loved ones in this type of truck accident often find themselves seeking answers – as well as justice. Both truck drivers and the trucking companies for which they drive have certain duties when it comes to keeping truck inspection records, along with repairing and maintaining their vehicles in a safe fashion. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) govern the standards that these truck drivers and companies must meet. In the event that they fail in this duty and a fatal truck accident is the result, surviving relatives may have the right to consult a St. Louis personal injury attorney in order to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
One such fatal truck accident took place on March 11, leading to the death of an Illinois truck driver. The accident reportedly occurred because a tire detached from another tractor-trailer and smashed into the first truck, a 2014 Western Star truck. The Western Star truck burst into immediate flames, at which point it careened off of the road and into a tree. The Gallatin County Coroner pronounced the 61-year-old driver of that tractor-trailer dead soon after.
The driver of the other truck, a 2006 International semi-truck, did not agree to any treatment at the scene. That driver, 42-year-old Thomas E. Woodworth, is also from Illinois. Initial reports did not indicate which, if any, trucking company might have been employing him at the time of the fatal collision. Illinois State Police are still investigating the accident, which will likely include an attempt to determine why the tire flew off of the 2006 International semi and struck the 2014 Western Star truck.
Truck inspection records required under the FMCSR
Regardless of what that investigation ultimately shows, the FMCSR sets clear guidelines for truck drivers and trucking companies to inspect, repair, and maintain their trucks and tractors which are being hauled. Specifically, these individuals and businesses must ensure that they keep their vehicles in good working order. To that end, they must also maintain inspection reports, repair records, and regular driver reports. These driver reports must be kept by a driver on each day that he or she is driving a specific vehicle. Drivers and companies must also make sure that their vehicles are periodically inspected.
These safety inspections must extend from the trucks and tractors themselves to include the cargo which is loaded for carrying. In other words, truck companies and drivers have a duty to ensure that no cargo will fall from a vehicle, something that could seriously injure or even kill innocent victims who share the road with these behemoth vehicles. In the event that someone is harmed or killed due to an improperly secured load, then drivers, carriers, and/or shippers can be held liable for the damages that are caused in this type of truck accident.
Drivers have certain truck inspection records duties
Under FMCSR 392.9, which discusses the duties for safe loading of commercial vehicles, drivers must ensure the following items:
- That their vehicle’s “tailgate, tailboard, doors, tarpaulins, spare tire and other equipment used in its operation, and the means of fastening the commercial motor vehicle’s cargo are secured.”
- That they examine their loads within the first 50 miles after the start of a trip and regularly reexamine their vehicles and loads in order to make any needed adjustments any time that they make a change of duty status or have driven the vehicle 150 miles or for 3 hours – whichever of these instances first takes place.
If an Illinois or Missouri resident loses a loved one in a fatal truck accident like the one which occurred in Gallatin County, that individual may wish to consult with a St. Louis personal injury attorney in order to find out their rights under the law. Wrongful death lawsuits filed in a civil court are one method of obtaining justice for a slain family member. A successfully litigated claim can also help pay off any final medical or funeral expenses, not to mention help provide for dependent family members who may now be left without their primary means of financial support.
Please consider contacting my personal injury law firm at 888-586-7041 today to discuss your case. Obtaining truck inspection records as soon as possible can be critical in strengthening a truck accident case because state and federal laws only require them to be maintained for a relatively short period time – in some cases for only six months after an accident. The sooner that you act to preserve this evidence, the better chance you will have to successfully pursue your personal injury or wrongful death claim. Consulting with me will cost you nothing, and you only pay fees in the event that my law firm obtains a financial settlement on your behalf.
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