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Federal Trucking Regulations
Federal Trucking Regulations
There are over four million commercial driver licenses (CDL) issued in the United States. Each of these drivers are subject to regulation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which was established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act. The agency’s main mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The agency attempts to accomplish these goals with a set of rules called Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) which set standards for the operation of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.
What is regulated under the FMCSA?
Some of the things regulated by the FMCSA are:
- Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations: HOS regulations govern the maximum number of hours a commercial truck driver can operate their vehicle within a specific timeframe. These regulations aim to prevent driver fatigue, a leading cause of trucking accidents. Key provisions include limits on daily driving hours, mandatory rest breaks, and weekly maximum driving limits. Compliance with HOS regulations is crucial to ensure drivers are well-rested and alert while operating their vehicles.
- Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate: The ELD mandate requires commercial truck drivers to use electronic logging devices to record their hours of service accurately. These devices replace traditional paper logbooks and provide a more accurate and tamper-proof method of tracking drivers’ hours. ELDs help enforce HOS regulations, prevent falsification of records, and promote compliance with safety standards.
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Requirements: To operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), drivers must hold a valid CDL. The FMCSA sets standards for obtaining a CDL, including written and practical exams, medical requirements, and background checks. CDL requirements ensure that drivers possess the necessary skills and knowledge to safely operate large trucks.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing: Federal regulations mandate drug and alcohol testing for commercial truck drivers. These tests are conducted pre-employment, randomly, after accidents, and upon reasonable suspicion. The goal is to identify and remove impaired drivers from the roads, promoting safety for all. Strict penalties are imposed on drivers who fail drug or alcohol tests, including suspension or revocation of their CDL.
- Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection: Trucking companies must adhere to federal regulations regarding vehicle maintenance and inspection. These regulations include regular inspections, proper maintenance records, and adherence to safety standards for brakes, tires, lights, and other essential components. Ensuring that trucks are in good working condition helps prevent accidents caused by mechanical failures.
- Hazardous Materials Transportation: Transporting hazardous materials requires compliance with specific federal regulations. These regulations cover proper labeling, packaging, handling, and documentation of hazardous materials. They also include driver training requirements to ensure that drivers are aware of the risks associated with transporting these materials and know how to handle them safely.
- Carrier Safety Ratings: The FMCSA assigns safety ratings to trucking companies based on their compliance with federal regulations and their safety performance. These ratings help shippers and consumers make informed decisions when selecting carriers. Carriers with poor safety ratings may face increased scrutiny, interventions, or even suspension of their operations.
Federal trucking regulations are essential for promoting safety and preventing accidents in the trucking industry. Compliance with these regulations helps ensure that drivers are well-rested, vehicles are properly maintained, and hazardous materials are transported safely. By understanding and adhering to these regulations, trucking companies and drivers contribute to safer roads for everyone. However, when these regulations are not properly followed, all drivers on the road are put at risk.
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How Are These Regulations Important to Your Case?
To be entitled to compensation, you are required to prove negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company. Violations of the FMCSA can be used to demonstrate fault.
How Are Violations of FMCSA Proven?
An experienced Truck Accident Lawyer is familiar with the regulations that apply to holders of CDLs and the owners of commercial vehicles. This understanding allows them to properly review the evidence such as maintenance records, driver logs, employment records, etc. to be sure that all applicable regulations were followed and, if not, that the proper parties are held responsible for their breach of the regulations.
Why Do You Need an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer?
An experienced attorney can take steps to ensure all applicable records are secured and not destroyed or altered. This may be done by written agreement with representatives of the truck driver, the trucking company, or their insurers, or by filing for an immediate protective order to protect all applicable records. They may also seek a court order strictly limiting access or movement of the vehicle until it can be inspected by the attorney or by experts hired by the attorney. Experts may also be retained to review and interpret these records.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, the lawyers of VanDerGinst Law can help you get the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today at 800-797-5391 for a FREE consultation. There is never a fee on your case unless we win.
The Importance of Legal Representation
If you are injured in a truck accident, you deserve fair and just compensation. Though money won’t take away your pain, it can help you get the care you need, or assist family for any loss they suffer due to the accident victim’s injuries or death.
Truck accidents are complex and may involve multiple parties subject to different rules and regulations. An experienced personal injury attorney can fight for your rights and make sure that all parties are held responsible. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident involving a drunk driver or a driver under the influence of drug, the truck accident lawyers of VanDerGinst Law can help. Call 800-960-8529 or click here for a FREE, no obligation consultation.
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