An accident involving a semi truck and a car or pickup can result in serious injury, permanent disability or death for the people in the smaller vehicle. To reduce the risk of such collisions, federal trucking regulations require trucks to meet certain minimum safety requirements. In Louisiana, these regulations are enforced in part through a system of roadside inspections. The inspections are funded in part by grants from the federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program.
When an MCSAP inspector finds a serious violation of safety rules, they can issue an Out-of-Service Order for the driver or for the truck. The driver or truck subject to the order cannot return to service until the problem is corrected.
In 2015, state and federal inspectors conducted 42,800 roadside inspections in Louisiana. These included 8,704 full inspections; 20,666 walk-around inspections; 13,319 inspections of the driver only; 110 inspections conducted at truck company terminals; and one inspection conducted as part of a special study. Inspectors issued Out-of-Service Orders to 6.78 percent of the drivers and 28.74 percent of the trucks. In addition, four percent of the inspections resulted in hazardous materials OOS orders.
Violations of federal truck safety regulations can be key evidence in a semi truck accident case. If a post-accident investigation reveals that truck driver fatigue, faulty brakes, unsafe tires or an improperly secured load contributed to the crash, the truck company can be held liable for any injuries or deaths that resulted. If there is evidence of a pattern of previous similar violations by the same company, it may be possible to recover punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.
Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Summary of Roadside Inspections in Louisiana,” accessed Aug. 6, 2016