As a driver in a crash between two passenger vehicles in Illinois, you would probably expect the insurance company of the at-fault driver to cover the expenses related to the accident. However, in a crash with a semitruck, who is at fault? It may be the truck driver, the trucking company, the loading dock workers, the truck manufacturer, another party, or a combination of many parties. However, at Clark Frost Williams Zucchi, we understand that trucking companies bear much of the responsibility for the safety of their vehicles.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, motor carriers should make sure that their drivers are properly trained so that they know how to maintain the vehicles they operate. The FMCSA uses a Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category to rank the safety of trucking companies based on the number of events such as violations, inspections or crashes that the company has.

Factors that might cause a low ranking include the following:

  • Operating a vehicle that is out of service
  • Operating a vehicle with mechanical defects such as inoperative brakes or lights
  • Improperly securing loads
  • Violating cargo retention requirements
  • Failing to make required repairs

Low safety compliance records may result in FMCSA investigations. An investigator may review documents such as the following:

  • Vehicle maintenance files
  • Equipment repair receipts
  • Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports
  • Records of driver load securement training
  • Roadside inspection records
  • Accident reports

Although a driver may be responsible for failing to conduct daily inspections or overloading a truck, the employer may also be responsible for failing to train the driver. More information about determining responsibility in trucking accidents is available on our webpage.