As this blog has previously discussed, semi truck accidents can be devastating for a West Virginia family. Because semi trucks are large vehicles, they tend to inflict a lot of damage whenever they strike a private passenger car, meaning that serious and debilitating injuries or a real possibility in truck accidents.
While these types of accidents can be caused by the negligence of the truck driver, negligent truck maintenance can also contribute to a serious accident. For example, if a trucking company does not ensure that its vehicles' brakes are checked regularly, a truck driver may find herself experiencing a brake failure and be unable to prevent an accident.
With respect to truck maintenance, the United States Department of Transportation regulates how thoroughly and how often commercial vehicles, including large trucks, need to be checked to be sure that they are in proper working order.
While a vehicle must undergo and pass "annual" inspection each year in order to remain in service, in fact a driver has the duty to check over her truck every day she drives it. She must check the condition of brakes, tires and the vehicle's safety equipment like its horn and headlights, before she can leave on a trip. She also must report on the condition of this equipment at the end of her trip.
A company must maintain careful documentation of the inspections it conducts of its vehicles and must also record any and all maintenance that the company performs on its vehicle. Aside from being federal law, this documentation is very important for ensuring that large trucks are safe to drive on West Virginia's roads.