Trucking companies should have maintenance records for all of their vehicles. These can demonstrate that maintenance was done on a certain schedule and that repairs were made when there were significant issues with the vehicle. It also shows that the company is taking an active role in ensuring that the vehicles are in proper condition.
There are many reasons why this can be helpful, but two of the main ones are noted below.
It is required by the FMCSA
First and foremost, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucking companies to have maintenance records. These need to go back over at least the previous year, or 12 months. This is true for vehicles that are in service. If a vehicle is out of service, then the company is required to have records for the last six months. Annual inspection reports also have to be kept, and they need to be maintained for a period of 14 months. So the first reason to keep these records is just to ensure that the FMCSA regulations are being met.
It can help if there is an injury lawsuit
That being said, many people say that it is best to have records that go back as far as possible. One potential issue that sometimes arises is that a truck driver will get involved in an accident and an injured party will attempt to sue the trucking company. They will say that the accident was the company’s fault because they didn’t maintain the vehicle and it was in dangerous condition, causing it to crash even though the driver was attempting to act safely. Maintenance and repair records go a long way toward showing that this was not the case and can help the company defend itself.
Lawsuits like this can get quite complicated, and it’s important for company owners to understand what steps to take.