Essential Checks in a Truck Inspection
Before a truck driver begins to drive on a given day, they must inspect the 18-wheeler and ensure that the truck’s parts are in good working order. This includes:
- Service brakes
- Parking brakes
- Steering mechanism
- Lighting devices and reflectors
- Windshield wipers
- Rear vision mirrors
- Coupling devices
The 18-wheeler driver must also inspect all emergency equipment and ensure it is in good working order. The truck driver must prepare a written report of his/her inspection. This report must identify any defect that could affect the safe operation of the 18-wheeler. The driver must sign and submit the report to the trucking company.
The Impact of Neglecting Inspections
Unfortunately, many 18-wheeler trucking accidents occur because trucks are not properly inspected and maintained. The rules requiring inspection reports are designed to prevent accidents that lead to serious personal injury or wrongful death.
Commercial drivers face DOT roadside inspections, where even minor equipment failures can result in violations, fines, and potential downtime. Each of these can negatively impact a motor carrier’s DOT compliance record. Out of 59,000 roadside inspections performed during a three-day road safety campaign last year, 14,428 violations were issued for brake systems, tires, defective service brakes, lights and cargo securement.
Pre- and post-trip inspections, regulated by the Federal Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), are vital in avoiding such issues. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to do so, leading to severe consequences.
Reducing Violations: Best Practices
To reduce the odds of violations and ensure equipment is safe to operate, fleets can adopt best practices such as using a pre-trip inspection app, conducting regular training, promptly reporting and fixing issues, and maintaining comprehensive documentation.
Fleet managers should warn drivers of common equipment violations — brakes, lights, and tires. Beyond this, they should discuss how equipment violations affect the company, from additional inspections and potential loss of customers to increased insurance costs.
A solid understanding and implementation of truck inspection reports and the checks required are vital in ensuring road safety, preventing serious accidents, and avoiding costly legal complications.
If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler trucking wreck, learn about your legal rights from an experienced Louisiana truck accident attorney by contacting us at 844-943-7626 for a free, no-obligation case review.