Why violations of federal trucking regulations matter to victims

As this blog has mentioned, many truck drivers who travel through and around the Ponca City, Oklahoma, area have to follow federal trucking regulations given the nature of their business. Most of these regulations in some pertain to keeping both commercial vehicles drivers and other motorists safe.

When truck drivers or transportation companies ignore or just carelessly fail to follow these regulations, they can face fines and other penalties. In particularly serious cases, they can even have their privileges to transport good or people between the states revoked, basically making it illegal for them to continue in business.

What the federal government cannot do is force a trucker to pay compensation if the trucker violates a safety rule and causes a vehicle accident as a result. However, this does not mean that an injured Oklahoma accident victim should pay no attention to the fact that the trucker was in violation of a federal regulation at the time of the wreck.

The reason is that Oklahoma recognizes the concept of negligence per se. In general, an accident victim has to prove in court that a truck driver acted carelessly and caused an accident as a result before the victim can claim compensation for his or her injuries. The trick is that the distinction between what constitutes carelessness and what constitutes ordinary driving can be blurry.

Under the negligence per se doctrine, however, all a victim needs to prove is that a truck driver broke a law or regulation that was in place to protect other motorists on the highway. As with all cases, the victim will also have to show that the law violation contributed to the accident. If a victim can do this, then the court should find the truck driver negligent and thus liable to pay compensation without further ado.

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