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.