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Semi-truck Accidents

The Most Common FMCSA Safety Violations

Who is the FMCSA?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Its responsibility is to enforce regulations to ensure commercial vehicle compliance with road safety. Sadly, even with strict safety mandates for commercial vehicles, including trucks and buses, there are still a large number of violations happening every day — putting motorists who share the road with commercial vehicles at risk of being in a severe accident.

According to the latest report from the FMCSA, the following are the most cited violations that occur each year:

FMCSA Most Cited Violations


While there is no excuse for speeding, truckers may feel intense pressure to get their deliveries done quickly when they are up against strict delivery guidelines. Speeding trucks can be more deadly due to their massive size should they collide at high speeds. The FMCSA mandates truckers to operate their trucks at proper speeds and use caution when driving in inclement weather conditions such as rain, snow, or traveling through heavy traffic and construction zones.


Tailgating is a bad driving habit and means that the truck is too close behind the vehicle traveling in front of them. If the driver in front of them stops short, it could cause a severe accident. In that case, the truck driver might not be able to break in time to avoid a severe collision. Tailgating can also be the cause of an override accident. An override accident happens when a truck crashes with a smaller vehicle, and the truck rolls on top of it.

Risky Lane Changes

Passing another car and changing lanes without using proper signals and cutting off other drivers is one way to get into a severe truck accident. Trucks have four blind spots: directly in the rear, directly in the front, the driver’s side next to the side mirror, and the passenger side mirrors. If you can’t see the driver in the rearview mirror, they can’t see you. So when they decide to make careless and risky lane changes, they could unknowingly cut off a vehicle in their blind spot and cause an accident.

Making Illegal Turns

Making illegal turns can be a very severe problem. Making left turns at intersections with visible signs that clearly state no left turn is one of the most common violations. Other common violations include:

  • Making turns at “no turn on red” signs
  • Illegal u-turns
  • Making turns from the wrong lane
  • Failing to use turn signals.

Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way

One of the leading causes of trucking accidents is failure to yield the right-of-way and puts every motorist on the road at risk, including the truck drivers when approaching a four-way intersection that does not have a traffic signal, and drivers must yield to the vehicles coming from the right

Railroad Crossing Violations

The FMCSA requires commercial vehicles to stop within 50 feet but not closer than 15 feet to railroad tracks. They are also required to look both ways to ensure no oncoming trains in either direction.

Failure to Obey Traffic Signs and Signals

Running red lights, not obeying stop signs, or speeding up when the yellow light is flashing to slow down is a recipe for a disastrous truck crash. This is, unfortunately, a far too common FMCSA violation that could cause a severe truck crash that can be fatal.

Reckless Driving Behaviors

Reckless driving can mean many different destructive driving behaviors, including speeding (as mentioned above) as well as cutting off motorists and tailgating. Other types of reckless driving behaviors that can cause a severe truck accident include driving across the median, driving the wrong way to avoid traffic jams, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Failure to Use a Seatbelt

Seat belts save lives, and sadly one of the most common violations the FMCSA finds is that commercial drivers are not using seat belts. Commercial drivers are mandated to be buckled up when driving their trucks. Passengers also must be wearing a seatbelt or restraint. All motor carriers are required to be equipped with seat belts to accommodate the number of passengers that the truck can hold.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving behaviors can include multiple things such as texting and talking on the phone when driving or any other handheld device, including GPS devices.

Failing to Conduct Pre-Trip Inspections

Conducting a pre-trip inspection is highly critical to traffic safety. Pre-trip inspections can identify any problems with vehicle equipment and its mechanical workings. It’s vital that every truck driver does a pre-trip inspection and ensure that they look at the following parts:

  • Brakes
  • Trailer brakes
  • Hand brakes
  • Truck frame suspension
  • Steering light reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Wipers
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Wheels and rims
  • Turn signals

It’s also critical to ensure that all emergency equipment required to be on board is present.

Failing to Use Warning Devices Properly

If a truck needs to pull off to the side of the road or if there’s some emergency, they are required to use warning signal flashers to prevent oncoming accident traffic so that they can see the truck easily FMCSA mandates that when drivers are stopped for emergencies, they must put their hazards and warning signal flashers on and keep them in the illuminated until the vehicle is cleared from the road.

Failing to Secure Vehicle Equipment and Loads

Trucks must secure the cargo or equipment appropriately. The following should be fastened before going out of the road :

  • Tailgate
  • Tailboard
  • Doors
  • Tarpaulins
  • Spare tires

All equipment should be checked inside the vehicle to ensure it does not pose an obstruction to the driver’s view or hinder their movement within the vehicle should they need to make a quick emergency maneuver.

How to Get Help After a Truck Accident

Truck accidents are one of the most dangerous types of crashes to be involved in. The large size of a semi-truck compared to a passenger vehicle can mean life-threatening injuries when a collision occurs. Knowing where to turn can give you peace of mind through a difficult time when you need help.

Serious injuries need strong attorneys. We are here to protect your rights. Our attorneys have the experience you need, and upholding your best interests is our priority. If you have suffered severe injuries due to another party’s negligence, let us be your advocate in getting you the maximum compensation that you deserve. We’ll fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the most successful outcome possible.

Contact today at (417) 887-4300. For complex legal matters, we are here for you every step of the way.

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