Understanding Trucking Regulations
Because of the size and weight differences between large trucks and passenger vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) promulgates and enforces numerous trucking regulations. These rules are meant to prevent catastrophic accidents between large trucks and passenger vehicles and reduce the risk of serious injuries and fatalities. The following trucking regulations might play a role in your accident claim.
1. Hours-of-Service Rules
The FMCSA has several hours-of-service rules that restrict how long and when truck drivers can drive large trucks. For trucks transporting cargo, these rules include the following:
- Drive no more than 11 hours after having 10 hours off
- Can’t be on duty for more than 14 hours with driving and other work combined
- Must take a 30-minute rest break after driving for eight hours
- Can’t drive after 60 or 70 hours in seven or eight consecutive days and must then have 34 hours off before returning to work
The hours-of-service rules are meant to reduce the risk of drowsy driving by truck drivers. If the truck driver violated these rules, these regulations will be important in your truck accident claim.
2. Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate
Combined with the hours-of-service rules, the FMCSA’s ELD mandate might also be important in your case. This rule requires all trucks to have electronic logging devices installed. These devices capture data about when a driver is operating the truck, and the data can be used to show that a driver violated the hours-of-service rules.
3. Driver Qualifications
Trucking carriers must ensure the drivers they hire are qualified under the FMCSA’s standards. They must pass the health and fitness test, a Department of Transportation (DOT) drug screen, and meet the minimum training requirements for truck drivers. Carriers must also ensure their drivers have the right types of licenses and endorsements for the trucks they drive and the cargo they transport. If the truck driver didn’t have the proper qualifications and training, this regulation will be important in your case.
4. Drug and Alcohol Laws
Under FMCSA rules, truck drivers are prohibited from drinking alcohol or being under the influence within four hours of operating trucks. They are also prohibited from driving large trucks when they have any measurable level of alcohol or drugs in their systems. CDL truck drivers in Missouri can also be charged with a DUI when they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent within two hours of driving even though the state’s threshold for non-CDL drivers is 0.08 percent. If the driver involved in your accident had any measurable level of alcohol or drugs in their system, the state’s law and the FMCSA’s regulation will be important in your case.
5. Maintenance Rules
The FMCSA regulations also mandate that trucking carriers regularly inspect, repair, and maintain their fleets. Appropriate maintenance and repairs are critical for preventing accidents because failed parts can result in the loss of control of trucks. Your attorney might get copies of the maintenance and repair records to determine whether these types of failures contributed to your collision.
Schedule a Consultation with the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
In addition to the regulations discussed above, many others could be important in your case. The experienced truck collision attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave can evaluate your case and determine whether any regulations or laws might have been violated. To learn more about your case and the remedies that might be available, call us today for a free consultation by calling 417-322-2222 (Springfield) or 417-624-4258 (Joplin) or sending us a message online.