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What is the role of the FMCSA in preventing truck accidents?


Compared to car accidents in Pennsylvania, truck accidents are governed by a different set of rules and regulations in part because there are federal trucking guidelines that truck drivers must follow. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government agency that is responsible for making the policies and procedures that all commercial truck drivers must adhere to while operating a commercial vehicle.

The main purpose for the administration is to not only govern how trucks operate on the roadways, but also to make sure that they are operating in a safe manner. Since an accident involving an 18-wheeler or another large type of commercial vehicle has the potential to cause severe damage to all involved, the administration promotes and enforces strict safety guidelines during operation. The agency develops standards for commercial driver's licenses, enforces regulatory compliance, provides funding for safety programs and collects and analyzes safety-related data.

Even with the FMCSA and its many federal trucking regulations, it is still impossible to prevent every single truck collision. Being in any type of accident can have devastating results; however, the likelihood that an accident with a commercial vehicle will result in serious injury or fatality is almost guaranteed. The sheer size and weight of a truck coupled with the freight that may be on board at the time of the truck accident can be a recipe for disaster.

When in a truck accident that involves violation of FMCSA rules, it may be confusing for the victim in the accident to know what to do. Like many other vehicular accident cases, it is likely a negligence case which means that the victim will have to prove that the driver of the truck owed a duty to drive in a safe manner and did not live up to that duty. The victim would also have to show that by breaching that duty, the truck driver caused the accident and the resulting injuries. If the victim proves its case, then they may be able to sue for damages. Damages can be for lost wages, medical expenses and other costs incurred by the accident.

Source: FindLaw, "Truck accident overview," accessed April 14, 2015

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