Due to their size and weight, commercial trucks are subject to a number
of rules and regulations that normal motorists would not be required to
follow. Commercial trucks can cause an immense amount of damage, so in
order to increase safety and limit the chances of an accident, truck owners
and operators must adhere to hundreds of additional laws and regulations
set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
On this blog, we take a look at just a few of the major highlights of
federal trucking laws found in Title 49 of Federal Regulations.
All truck operators are required to have just one single driver’s
license, issued by their home state, but must be an appropriate class,
earned only upon passing knowledge and skills tests (sort of like you
would when you get your regular driver’s license). Extra certifications
are often required for drivers who wish to transport hazardous materials.
According to the FMCSA laws, drivers are required to pass a physical examination
every two years to ensure they are in proper health for long driving assignments.
Failing this test means they could no longer be eligible to drive.
Drivers are forbidden from reporting for duty if they have a blood alcohol
content of higher than 0.02%, significantly lower than the legal limit
of 0.08% for regular motorists. To obtain this, drivers are not allowed
to consume any drugs or alcohol with an eight-hour period before the start
of their shift. Drivers are also forbidden from carrying any alcohol with
them at all, unless the alcohol is part of their cargo.
Driver fatigue is a serious issue that the FMCSA has taken big steps to
eliminate. Driver are now limited to driving for 11 hours of a shift that
can last a maximum of 14 hours. This means drivers are required to take
at least three hours’ worth of breaks over the course of a day.
Once this shift is complete, drivers are required to take a minimum of
10 hours off duty before continuing to work. All of these hours must be
tracked with a driver’s logbook which will be regularly inspected
by law enforcement.
Securing cargo to minimize the chances of it popping loose and falling
off of a truck is not only a good practice to prevent an accident, but
is required by law of truck operators. In 2004, the laws were changed
to enforce better provisions for tying down cargo, including using better
securing devices. If a truck is carrying hazardous materials, the truck
must carry marking indicating their presence with their USDOT number.
Trucks are also required to adhere to strict weight limits to prevent mechanical
failure and limit the possibility of a
If you or a loved one are injured in a trucking accident, the truck operator
may be responsible if they are in violation of one or more of the laws
listed here. Attorney Lauri J. Goldstein of
Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC has extensive experience standing for the rights of those who have been
injured in a trucking accident. She understands how difficult it can be
having to deal with the repercussions of negligence on behalf of a truck
owner or operator, and is not afraid to stand up to big insurance companies
on your behalf. This will allow you to focus on your recovery without
having to worry about the financial consequences of someone else’s
lack of care.
To speak with an attorney regarding your legal options,
contact Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC today by dialing 866-675-4427.