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Broken Lights the Top Inspection Violations for Commercial Truck Drivers

Tractor trailer truck on highway

A Texas truck accident lawyer explains other common truck inspection violations

What’s the most common inspection violation for commercial truck drivers? Broken truck lights (headlights, taillights, etc.) tops the list of commercial truck inspection violations, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

“Obviously, lights are important. They can go out at any time,” Kerri Wirachowsky, director of the Roadside Inspection Program at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said in an interview with Transport Topics. “Some lights are critical, such as brake lights and taillights, and can cause a vehicle to be placed out of service.”

And while Wirachowsky added that some truck lights “are not” critical, many drivers realize that inoperable vehicle lamps, especially on tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks, can be extremely dangerous and result in serious truck accidents.

Law enforcement officials agreed. “Lamps such as brake lamps, headlamps, and turn signals prevent crashes, especially at night,” Lt. Bill Miller, public information officer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, said in an interview with Transport Topics. “Lighting provides visibility and assists in signaling the vehicle movements or driver intentions.”

Broken truck light violation statistics

Last year, the FMCSA conducted 243,159 inspections of commercial trucks operating in the United States. Of those inspections, “inoperable required-lamp violations” accounted for the most violations –  344,225 violations or 11.75 percent of all commercial truck inspection violations.

Such inspections involved commercial trucks from all three North American countries. Violations by country included:

  • U.S. trucks — 300,433 non-working truck light violations (11.78 percent of truck inspection violations) out of 212,256 inspections.
  • Mexican trucks — 40,235 violations (11.72 percent) out of 27,963 inspections.
  • Canadian trucks — 3,269 violations (9.57 percent) out of 2,768 inspections.

In particular, inoperable truck lamps were the number one truck inspection violation for commercial trucks last year from all three countries, according to Transport Topics. The second-highest truck inspection violation was for inoperable turn signals, followed by inoperable headlamps, inoperable brake lamps, and inoperable tail lamps, according to FMCSA data.

In addition, certain states had more truck inspection violations than other states as well. The top three states for truck inspection violations last year were California (282,453 truck inspection violations or 21 percent of all violations nationwide) followed by Texas (204,336 inspection violations or 15 percent of all violations) and New York (57,344 violations or 4 percent of all violations).

Other common truck inspection violations

While inoperable truck lights accounted for the most truck inspection violations in 2021, they weren’t the only violations discovered by FMCSA inspectors last year. Other common commercial truck inspection violations last year include:

  • Operating a CMV without proof of a periodic inspection – 166,382 violations (5.57 percent of all inspection violations last year)
  • Clamp or Roto type brake out-of-adjustment – 126,460 violations (4.3 percent of violations)
  • No/discharged/unsecured fire extinguisher – 116,365 violations (3.9 percent of violations)

These were just some of the most common truck inspection violations. Other common violations last year included:

  • Flat tires (3.4 percent of violations)
  • Inoperable or defective windshield wipers (2.5 percent)
  • Truck oil or gas leak (2.27 percent)

When to hire a truck accident lawyer

If the truck that caused your accident has a history of inspection violations, you might think you don’t need a lawyer to handle your truck accident claim. State or federal officials will likely conduct an official investigation into your truck accident. But it’s important to understand that they’re only interested in determining why your accident happened. Their investigation does not focus on whether you’re fairly compensated for your losses.

The legal team at John R. Solis, Attorney at Law in Laredo can demand the money you rightfully deserve for your medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost income, and other accident expenses. Learn more about your legal options. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with an experienced Laredo truck accident lawyer you can trust. We handle accident claims throughout Texas.

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