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Commercial vehicle brakes must meet federal guidelines

An operator of a commercial vehicle fleet in Louisiana needs to adhere to brake safety regulations overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The required brake systems specified within Section 393.40 of the regulations should guide procedures for selecting vehicles and maintaining them.

For example, older vehicles might have different maintenance requirements than newer vehicles. A vehicle manufactured on or after Sept. 2, 1983, with hydraulic service brakes would fall under regulations detailed in FMVSS No. 105. Vehicles manufactured before that date must meet operational standards explained in Sections 393.42, 393.48, 393.49, 393.51, and 393.52. A manager of a fleet with vehicles within both categories would have to comply with multiple regulations.

Safety standards also dictate brake system design for the driver. An emergency brake system must be accessible by the driver while that person remains in the seat with a seat belt on. Regulations do allow for the emergency brake control to be combined with one other part of the braking system. However, all three brake components, parking, emergency and service, can not be designed within the same control.

A person injured in a commercial truck accident who questions the adequacy of the vehicle's maintenance might want to consult with an attorney. Vehicle maintenance records would need to be obtained to investigate the possibility that poor maintenance contributed to the accident. If evidence of negligence emerges from an investigation, an attorney may find it advisable to file a lawsuit against the trucking company seeking damages for medical expenses and other losses that have been sustained by the injured party.

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