Driver’s and companies are responsible for inspecting their trucks, keeping their trucks in good repair, and maintaining their trucks. Oftentimes, drivers are so busy trying to get on the road or get to where they are going that they either neglect to fulfill this duty, or they simply forget. Sometimes such neglect can be disastrous.
How? Well, what if the driver does not inspect the brakes or tires? What if the brakes or tires fail? Can you imagine what happens when an 80,000 pound vehicle is out of control? Typically, death and destruction.
So, what are the responsibilities of the driver and company? Part 396 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations governs this area. Every company must require its drivers to prepare a report, in writing, at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated on that day. The report must cover the following:
• Service brakes including trailer brake connections
• Parking (hand) brake
• Steering mechanism
• Lighting devices and reflectors
• Windshield Wipers
• Rear vision mirrors
• Coupling devices
• Wheels and rims
• Emergency equipment
These records must be kept where the vehicle is either housed or maintained for a period of 1 year and for 6 months after the motor vehicle leaves the motor carrier’s control.