family vehicle totaled by a commercial truck in MassachusettsIn our great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, heavy commercial trucking continues to pose a threat to everyday commuter traffic despite their essential function in our economy.  We shouldn’t be complaining – if it were not for our dedicated truck drivers, we’d have empty store shelves. However, the risk of serious injury or wrongful death from a large truck accident requires additional regulations.  

The trucking industry today has never been more regulated, yet truck accident and injury rates in the State remain high. Massachusetts, to keep drivers safe on our roads and highways, have adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations. This will require local businesses that only operate in Massachusetts to comply with essentially all federal regulations of the FMCSA.

Large Trucks Still Pose a Danger on Massachusetts Roads

Although the trucking industry is highly regulated, data and statistics demonstrate traffic fatalities climb year after year from trucking crashes. In 2021, it was reported that these numbers increased by 63 deaths for a total of 390 traffic fatalities.

It not hard to understand why trucking accidents happen. When traveling secondary roads in Town’s like Holliston and Hopkinton, where there are basically two-lane roads that wind through the landscape, the failure of a commercial truck to safely navigate these roads can cause crashes with other vehicles or pedestrians, which typically result in serious, catastrophic injuries.

In the City of Framingham, the auto auction located in the old General Motors manufacturing plant, results in an incredible amount of truck traffic downtown. Framingham’s growing industry also brings in hundreds of commercial trucks daily. Both cars and pedestrians are affected by this increased traffic.   

With the increase in truck traffic and rising injury and fatality statistics, Massachusetts is working toward making our roads and highways safer.

Summary of the FMCSA Regulations Adopted by Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (“Mass DOT”) has adopted the Federal regulations relating to commercial trucking as set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The Federal regulations adopted by Massachusetts are designed to address matters concerning driver safety, special safety equipment, medical certifications for drivers, and hours of service among many others. 

For example, FMCSA Regulations Title 49, Parts 350 to 399 govern all commercial vehicles engaged in interstate traffic.  By Massachusetts adopting these Federal regulations, now commercial vehicles owned in Massachusetts and operating strictly within Massachusetts are affected.  You don’t have to cross state lines to be impacted by or in compliance with these regulations. Thus, now, even vehicles owned by Massachusetts businesses that operate primarily in Massachusetts, depending on their type and size, must meet stringent requirements to be out on the roads.

Additionally, there are now established programs to address and test for alcohol and controlled substances (§382); to help reduce or prevent truck and bus accident and fatalities (§383), voluminous regulations regarding compliance by commercial drivers (§384), regulations regarding equipment necessary for safe operation (§393), hours of operation (§395), inspection repair and maintenance (§396), health and safety (§399), and so on.

These Federal Regulations May Assist Trucking Accident Victims

What does the adoption of Federal regulations mean for you?  If you’ve been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident with a commercial trucking vehicle, the general laws of negligence and fault apply. In order to pursue the financial compensation you deserve for the injuries and losses you suffered after being seriously injured in a trucking crash in Massachusetts, you must first prove that the truck driver or trucking company was negligent. The adoption of these FMCSA Regulations allows trucking accident victims additional factors to demonstrate the truck driver's or company's negligence. For instance, a violation or noncompliance with one or more of these adopted regulations may substantiate an accident victim’s burden of proof and place the blame clearly on the part of the commercial truck driver for the accident.

The adoption of the FMCSA Regulations in Massachusetts will require many important and critical components to be investigated and/or addressed in a commercial trucking accident.  To an inexperienced attorney, who has not represented an injured person in a commercial truck accident, it may seem overwhelming. You need experienced and tested trucking accident attorneys on your side should you find yourself injured in a commercial vehicle accident.

Working With Experienced Injury Lawyers and Trucking Accident Attorneys

Our Framingham truck accident lawyers have represented many injured clients in commercial vehicle accidents on the Massachusetts Turnpike, Interstate 95 and Interstate 495. In each case we demonstrated to the opposing side knowledge of the relevant regulations and law and our commitment to ensuring our client get the compensation they deserve. Call us today at 508-879-3500 for a consultation on your injury case and all damages.

Joseph M. Mahaney
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Injury lawyer serving car, truck, and motorcycle accident victims in Webster and Framingham, Massachusetts.
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