The commercial trucking industry can be dangerous. A federal agency has been created (the FMCSA) to regulate the industry. There are many reasons why trucking is a risk to the public, including the greater size of commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers as well as the heavy cargo that they carry. When an accident happens, passengers and drivers of smaller passenger cars bear the brunt of the crash.
As a regulated industry, commercial truckers are routinely cited for safety violations. These will result in a Compliance, Safety, and Accountability score, or CSA. This score could prove useful in a lawsuit against a driver or trucking company.
A CSA is a little like the points that Texas drivers accumulate on their driving record. Each infraction carries a different number of points. However, unlike with a driver’s license, the government can’t suspend a driver’s CDL for violations. But the federal government will focus more attention on carriers with high CSA scores to improve compliance.
Points for Driving Violations
Different violations have different points. Consider the following:
- Speeding 15+ mph over the limit: 10 points
- Driver in possession of drugs: 10 points
- Reckless driving: 10 points
- Unqualified driver: 8 points
- Speeding 10-15 mph over the limit: 7 points
- Following too closely: 5 points
- Improper turns: 5 points
- Failing to yield: 5 points
- Speeding 6-10 mph over the limit: 4 points
- Driver lacks physical qualifications: 2 points
Drivers can also be assessed points for not having the right on-board computer or not completing paperwork properly.
Drivers can also earn points for violating the hours of service requirements. These rules are intended to ensure that drivers get sufficient rest, as drowsiness is a huge contributor to accidents. If a driver is behind the wheel too much, he or she can be cited. Violations can reach up to 10 points.
Can You Subpoena the Driver’s Score?
Finding out a driver’s CSA could be helpful for your lawsuit. For example, a history of violations could show that the driver should not be out on the road because he/she is a clear risk to the public. Also, finding out a trucking company’s CSA can help show that there is a history of problems with the way the company is run.
To obtain the CSA, your attorney will need to file of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FMCSA, which keeps the scores. This could be a time-consuming process but nevertheless can yield helpful information. Of course, you can still pursue a lawsuit without the CSA score, so it is not an essential part of a lawsuit.
Austin Truck Accident Attorneys Committed to Protecting the Public
Careless and dangerous truck drivers are a threat to everyone’s safety, and bringing a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident is a vital step to cleaning up this industry. If you have been injured, a lawsuit can help you receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A lawsuit can also help force the trucking industry to increase its safety performance in the future.
DC Law is proud to represent those injured in truck accidents, and you can speak to us by calling 512-220-1800. We offer a free initial consultation.