The Commercial Motor Vehicles Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA) was passed by Congress to regulate interstate trucking. The CMVSA aimed to improve highway safety by making sure that all truck and bus drivers on the road are qualified to operate those vehicles. Prior to the passing of the CMVSA there was not any uniform testing or licensing standards for bus or truck drivers.
In order to increase the safety of its highways Illinois adopted portions of the CMVSA. However, despite these measures trucking accidents continue to occur. After a trucking crash takes place it is imperative to investigate the accident to determine its cause. A key part of this investigation involves preserving information and evidence that could provide helpful clues in evaluating the occurrence.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) § 395.8 requires the driver to keep a complete record of his or her on/off-duty status at all times. And when a trucking accident has occurred, FMCSR § 395.8(k)(2) requires that truck drivers retain a copy of the on/off-duty status for the seven consecutive days prior to the accident.
In addition, the trucking companies are required by federal regulations to maintain all records and supporting documents regarding the status of each of its drivers for at least a six month period. In the case of an Illinois trucking accident these records can be obtained by making a written request.
After a trucking crash, it is important for those investigating the cause to visit the scene to document, photograph, and/or videotape the scene as near to the time of the accident as possible. It may also be valuable to document and interview all the witnesses who may have been at the trucking accident scene.
When our Chicago law firm takes on a trucking accident case we make sure that an inspection of the truck is done as soon as possible. During the vehicle inspection the entire truck is carefully examined, from the seats, glove box, sleeper units, truck trailer, tires, wheels, axles, and all other physical components of the vehicle. The same kind of complete investigation should also be done for any other vehicle involved in the trucking accident or crash.
And again, timing is essential in each trucking accident so the sooner these investigative steps are taken the better it is for all parties involved.