The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) are responsible for regulating the operation of all big commercial trucks if they weigh over 10,000 pounds or carry hazardous materials, and if they travel in interstate commerce.
Often, states have similar rules and regulations that govern local carriers involved only in intrastate commerce. The Code of Federal Regulations summarizes the rules that big rigs must follow. For anyone injured in a crash with a big-rig or tractor-trailer, it is important to understand the federal regulations of large trucks and how it may impact a case in Bloomington. A skilled attorney who has experience with these claims could work with an injured claimant to assess these regulations and establish liability for a claim.
The Federal Requirements for Truckers
The Code of Federal Regulations include requirements providing for the control of:
- Hours of service for commercial drivers license (CDL) drivers
- Keeping accurate driver logs
- Medical certification of CDL holders
- Administration of alcohol and other drug testing of CDL licensees
- Vehicle type-specific driver training
- Maximum load sizes and weights
- Proper securing of loads
- Regular service and maintenance with proper record keeping
The FMCSA conducts inspections and monitors whether drivers and trucking companies are abiding by all safety protocols and standards. The goal is to try and catch non-compliance before violations and/or unsafe driving leads to tragic accidents.
Non-Compliance of CDL Drivers
Unfortunately, FMCSA statistics indicate that non-compliance and/or CDL driver errors are often factors in fatal truck crashes. There are many ways in which negligence on the part of a truck driver or their trucking company can lead to devastating accidents with serious personal injuries, disability, or death. These include:
- Driving while distracted by devices
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Driving at excessive speeds
- Improper lane changes
- Failing to obey signals
- Careless or aggressive driving
- Failing to yield
- Overloading or improperly loading the truck
- Improper passing
- Operating without proper equipment or maintenance
The Regulation of Commercial Driver’s Hours of Operation
Nearly one in five truck accidents results from driver fatigue. To reduce the damages caused by tractor-trailer rigs and other heavy commercial trucks, the FMCSA federal regulations strictly limit how many hours truckers are allowed to drive without resting.
After a full 10 hours of rest, CDL drivers may not exceed 11 hours of driving. They must take a 30-minute break after any eight-hour period of continuous driving. If they drive the maximum hours allowed, they must take a day and a half (34 hours) off after driving 60 to 70 hours in any seven to eight-day period.
As one can see, they are permitted to work hard and drive long hours. However, in order to meet minimum safety standards, they must not drive more than permitted and they are required to keep logs of their driving hours and the hours that they rest. These logs can be checked at inspections. However, in order to meet schedules and make more money, truck drivers often find ways around these hours of service rules, such as modifying or not properly maintaining their driver logs.
Proving Commercial Truck Driver Negligence Using Federal Regulations
In spite of all the ways that truckers can be negligent, it is often very complicated and difficult to establish their liability and get justice for the victims of semi-crashes. Usually, 18-wheelers are heavily insured. This means there may be multiple insurance companies representing the various parties who share liability.
These insurers will be very aggressive in avoiding paying any claims, and in minimizing any compensation they do pay. They will have a team of aggressive truck accident investigators and an experienced legal team, all of whom will quickly look for all evidence that directs blame away from the trucker or trucking company and on to other vehicles or involved parties. Because of this, enlisting the help of a seasoned attorney in Bloomington who is familiar with the federal regulations placed on large trucks could be critical for proving liability.
Call a Bloomington Attorney to Discuss the Federal Regulation of Commercial Trucks
If you were injured in a crash with a tractor trailer, big-rig, or 18-wheeler, you are likely to be traumatized and overwhelmed. However, you have legal options and may be able to pursue a claim for compensation by relying on the federal regulation of large trucks in Bloomington.
To get justice and recover the compensation you may be owed for your losses, it might be helpful to retain a skilled and caring attorney to fight for you. Our firm could help you deal with all the obstacles to getting a settlement for your claim, including evaluating your case, explaining your options, gathering all the necessary information, and taking all necessary steps to help you make sure justice is done.
It is important that you contact us now so that we can evaluate your accident and its consequences, take immediate steps to preserve and gather the evidence, and develop the best strategy to get you the compensation you deserve. You pay nothing for this consultation, and, when you allow us to represent you, you pay us nothing unless we win your case for you. For a free case evaluation by a knowledgeable truck accident attorney contact us today.