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undefinedEveryone knows how vital truck maintenance is to cut fuel costs, but many don’t understand the relationship between good maintenance and the prevention of CMV accidents.

Of course, it’s clear that maintaining your tires and brakes can assist in stopping, but maintaining the truck’s lights, blinkers and reflectors can be just as important. If the driver cannot effectively communicate their intentions to other drivers on the road, it could result in another driver not knowing the truck is about to stop. 

Likewise, the trucker operating without underride rails on the back of their truck could wind up causing the death of a driver who didn’t know the truck was stopping and drove up under the truck. Although federal law requires it, the fleet manager might send the driver out with a new truck that hasn’t had one installed. 

Although many personal injury lawyers point to driver negligence when a CMV is involved in an accident, it is often poor maintenance to blame. A roadside inspection is not the place to discover that your CMV has not received the correct truck maintenance you reported on your driver’s vehicle inspection report.

The driver can only do so much. Once they point out a shortcoming on their CMV, it is up to fleet maintenance to correct or sign off on the repair as not needed.  

Truck Maintenance: Brake Systems on Your CMV

A CMV’s braking system is much more complex than those on passenger cars. The most common passenger car uses pads that are pressed up against the rotor, which are hooked to the axle to stop. CMVs use compressed air to stop it.

Compressed air is more effective for stopping larger vehicles, but periodic maintenance and adjustments are more complicated than passenger cars. If you knew how to conduct maintenance on your car’s brake by yourself. Even checking the adjustment on a CMV is not easily done by one person.

Unfortunately, brake failure caused by poor or incorrect maintenance is the leading cause of CMV accidents and one of the leading causes of Out of Service (OOS) orders at roadside inspections.

Truck Maintenance: Lights, Blinkers & Reflectors on Your CMV

There are dozens of lights, blinkers and reflectors on a CMV. Drivers must carry spare bulbs and fuses in their emergency repair kit, which is an inspectable item. Although a burnt-out light or dirty reflector is only assessed one Compatibility, Safety and Accountability (CSA) severity point during inspections, you can rack up points quickly on a CMV.

Typically, you could find a blown-out lightbulb or dirty reflector during a pre-trip inspection. However, when these inspections aren’t completed, or the lights are replaced, it could cause an accident.   

Truck Maintenance: Check and Replace Tires on Your CMV

Tires wear down quickly on a CMV; however, they usually won’t wear down enough to get you a ticket or CSA severity points at a roadside inspection if you checked them before you left the yard. When the tread depth gets thin, it is easy for a CMV tire to fail. If you’ve ever had a blowout in your car, you know how difficult it is to maintain your course when it happens—especially when it is a steering tire on the front.

Truck Maintenance: Install Underride Rails on Your CMV

When you buy or lease a new or used tractor-trailer to use as a commercial vehicle, ensure the underride rails are within DOT FMCSA standards or install a new system. 

When an abrupt stop is necessary in your CMV because you were cut off or another vehicle or animal is in the road ahead, it could lead to a smaller vehicle following you to ride up under the rear of your trailer. Therefore, under-ride collisions are among the deadliest CMV accidents due to incorrect truck maintenance.

NOTS Points and CSA Points Due to Truck Maintenance   

When you are ticketed or found at fault during an accident investigation, the worst thing you can do is ignore the ticket or investigation results. These can lead to NOTS or CSA points for the driver and the fleet.

If you believe the investigator incorrectly assessed your fault in an accident or your ticket for brakes out of adjustment should have been given to your fleet manager instead of you because you noted it on your DVIR and they ignored it, you should consult a CA traffic attorney to determine your recourse.  

Consult a CMV Attorney for Tickets or Roadside Inspection Tickets in Roseville, CA 

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300 when a roadside inspection or investigator of a CMV accident puts you at fault.

We are CA traffic attorneys who regularly appear in Roseville Traffic Court to resolve traffic tickets for commercial vehicle drivers and pursue alternate outcomes from accident investigators.  


Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The 2019-2021 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The DOT FMCSA 49 CFR Part 396.9, 5.2.2 Vehicle Roadside Inspections

The articleA Guide to CSA Point Values and Transportation.
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