A Virginia Truck Wreck Lawyer Discusses How Important It Is for a Truck Driver to Do a Safety Inspection Before Hitting the Road | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Before getting behind the wheel of their trucks, commercial truck drivers are legally required to perform safety inspections of their vehicles. Requiring a pretrip vehicle inspection helps ensure that before a driver turns the key in the ignition, he or she has taken reasonable precautions to identify and, presumably, have repaired any equipment, mechanical or electrical problems that put them or other people on the road at risk for injuries or death.

A commercial truck pretrip inspection is designed to help the driver detect problems before the big rig gets on a busy highway like Interstate 64 (I-64), Interstate 264 (I-264), or Interstate 664 (I-664). Brakes (including caliper settings), mirrors, tire pressure, windshield wipers, lights and a long checklist of other truck parts and mechanisms must be confirmed to be in proper working order.

Other safety precautions truckers should take include getting adequate sleep and rest in accordance with federal laws and making sure any load is properly balanced and secured.

If a driver fails to adequately inspect his or her big rig, we are all put at risk. Why? Because if something goes wrong and the truck driver causes a major wreck, the other vehicle almost always takes the brunt of the damage. Commercial trucks are usually massive in size and can decimate smaller vehicles like sedans and SUVs in accidents.

The preinspection requirement applies to all interstate truck drivers, and failing to make a pretrip inspection of a commercial vehicle often leaves uncorrected a problem that leads to a truck accident with serious injuries. Safety inspections are required for

  • Most 18-wheelers, big rigs, flatbeds and tractor-trailer combinations.
  • Tanker trucks, oilfield trucks, pipe haulers and hazardous chemical trucks.
  • Slow-moving log trucks, dump trucks, cement trucks and construction trucks, bulldozers, paving trucks and trucks transporting wide and oversized loads, either alone or in convoys.
  • Delivery and moving vans such as those operated and rented by UPS, DHL, Fed-Ex, U-Haul and Mayflower.
  • Shuttle buses, charter buses, tour buses, Greyhound buses and other large passenger vehicles used as common carriers.

If you were seriously hurt in an accident involving a commercial truck, our truck accident injury lawyers will examine the event data recorder, or “black box,” most commercial big rigs now carry, maintenance logs and driver hour sheets to determine if all applicable federal trucking laws were followed.