Improper maintenance is a huge factor for truck accidents in the U.S. The trucking industry must work within a complex system of state and federal regulations, and even then maintenance issues can still come up.
By law, commercial truck drivers have to keep a log book recording their duty status for each 24-hour period. These logbooks must be kept in the truck for a week. Only the driver is allowed to make entries into this book. They record:
- the mileage driven each day
- off-duty hours
- hours spent in a sleeper berth
- non-driving on-duty hours
They must also state whether they're driving within a state or interstate.
Commercial truckers also have to maintain files that show all repairs made to each truck or trailer, all completed preventative maintenance, and a record of a truck and trailer’s annual inspection.
The annual inspection will typically include a careful assessment of the vehicle’s brakes, tires, power steering, visibility, suspension and lighting. On a daily basis, drivers must also do a “walk around” inspection of their vehicle to look for any mechanical defects or safety violations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation can and does conduct on-the-spot inspections at weigh stations and along interstate highways. In both Kansas and Missouri, slightly different — but no less stringent — regulations are applied to logging trucks and farming trucks. In Missouri alone, more than 100 commercial vehicle officers and inspectors work to enforce trucking laws.
So yes, there are a lot of regulations to make sure commercial trucks operate properly and are maintained well enough to prevent highway accidents.
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