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Federal regulators to change trucking audit protocols

As we have noted in a number of our posts, a large majority of car and truck accidents are attributable to human error. Sometimes this can be traced to distracted driving or misjudging turns, but sometimes an accident can be based on the failure to properly maintain a vehicle. When it comes to accidents involving semi-trucks, the potential for harm stemming from improper maintenance can be devastating.

Because of this, federal regulators are intent of imposing new rules that would make it easier to shut down trucking companies that do not adhere to safety requirements. According to a recent Wall Street Journal.com report, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) could make determinations that trucking companies are unfit to operate upon truck inspections alone.

Under current regulations, the FMCSA cannot shut down a trucking operator without going through a long auditing process that could take months. In the meantime, a rogue trucking company could cause a terrible accident. Given the number of trucking companies on Wisconsin roads and the number of investigations that take place, scores of unsafe trucking companies could continue driving even though they are subject to an investigation.

It remains to be seen when the new procedure will be implemented. In the meantime, a federal rules violation could be viewed as evidence that a trucking company failed to use reasonable care in maintaining its vehicles or training its drivers. This could lead to a company being held liable for an accident, which would give the injured parties the right to seek money damages through a lawsuit.

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