Trucks fuel our economy. They haul equipment, transport materials, and deliver goods to the businesses we patronize. To ensure trucks travel the roads and deliver goods and services safely, the federal government has established an extensive set of trucking regulations that vehicle operators, employers, and carrier companies must uphold.
Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to fines and other penalties for the offending parties but also puts others on the road in danger should the failure cause an accident. If you are injured in a trucking accident, be sure to connect with an Elk Grove truck accident lawyer from Triumph Law, P.C. Your attorney will work to hold the negligent party accountable and secure compensation for your losses.
Regulations for Truck Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the “lead federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs),” and its mission is to promote safety by reducing large-truck-involved crashes, injuries, and fatalities. The basic FMCSA requirements for commercial vehicle drivers (CVDs) are to get a commercial driver’s license and a physical to confirm the potential driver meets FMCSA medical standards. After securing these initial approvals and getting behind the wheel, drivers must comply with additional regulations.
Drivers cannot consume or be under the influence of alcohol within four hours of driving their vehicle. When “on duty, or operating, or in physical control” of a truck, drivers are prohibited from using or having any “measured alcohol concentration.” Similarly, drivers cannot use or be under the influence of any drugs, with the exception of prescribed drugs that do not impair driving ability.
To ensure drivers are well rested and do not endanger themselves or others because of fatigue, the FMCSA has strict rules for hours of service. The rules specify allowable driving hours, consecutive days of driving, and mandatory rest periods. Drivers must log hours of rest and service on an electronic logging device (ELD).
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Trucking Company and Employer Regulations
Employers or carrier companies must take care to hire drivers with clean driving records and who meet minimum requirements. The FMCSA has created a Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) to support this effort. If you have an accident with a driver who was not hired through the PSP, a truck accident attorney may be able to claim the company did not do its due diligence and contributed to your accident.
Drivers must abide by drug and alcohol standards, but employers share responsibilities in this area as well. Employers must provide training on alcohol and substance use and comply with testing regulations. Should drivers fail drug or alcohol tests, employers must report the violation to Medical Review Officers (MRO).
The employers or companies who own the trucks must ensure all trucks are properly registered and insured. They are also responsible for conducting an annual review of driver records. While the carrier company may hire a third party to conduct the evaluations, the company is still accountable for verifying accuracy.
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Even the most conscientious drivers can have accidents if the vehicles they operate are not safe. Trucks comprise complex systems and have many, many parts. FMCSA regulations account for every part of the truck, including but not limited to:
- Seat belts
- Safety equipment
- Emergency equipment
- Sleeper berths
To ensure every component of the truck is in proper working order, there are regulations governing inspections and maintenance. Drivers must conduct daily inspections of their vehicles, completing and signing written inspection reports. Truck companies or providers must conduct systematic inspections, maintenance, and repair work on vehicles under their purview.
Semi-trucks and 18-wheelers haul massive cargo loads, and there are specific rules for loading and securing cargo. Overloaded or shifting cargo can cause trucks to become unbalanced and jackknife or tip over as the driver loses control. When cargo includes hazardous materials, additional laws apply.
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Road Safety Regulations
All drivers owe every other driver or pedestrian on the road a legal obligation to practice safe driving behaviors and avoid dangerous ones. Because trucks are so massive, should a driver fail in this duty, the outcomes are especially devastating. The FMCSA offers tips for truckers to follow, which include:
- Checking blind spots
- Being aware of required stopping distances
- Making wide turns carefully
While tips are useful, regulations are mandatory, and truckers must:
- Comply with speed limits
- Obey all traffic laws
- Take the vehicle off the road in extreme weather conditions
- Stop before crossing railroad tracks
- Refrain from texting or using hand-held mobile devices
- Refrain from following other vehicles too closely
A Truck Accident Attorney in Elk Grove Will Fight to Hold Violators Accountable
If an FMCSA regulation violation or other form of negligence caused your accident, you deserve compensation. Connect with an Elk Grove truck accident attorney from Triumph Law, P.C., as soon as possible after your accident. Your attorney will investigate your accident carefully and, with extensive knowledge of federal trucking industry regulations, will recognize the failure that caused your accident and work to hold the negligent party accountable.
Truck accidents often leave victims seriously wounded. The injuries bring high medical costs, income loss, and other expenses, creating an uncertain and unstable financial future. Your attorney will evaluate your financial, physical, and emotional losses and calculate a fair settlement demand.
After making the demand, your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party, working to secure the highest settlement possible. If the other side refuses to make a fair offer, your attorney will present you with all options, and you may decide to go to court. The team at Triumph Law, P.C. is comfortable in the courtroom and will put up a fierce fight on your behalf at every trial proceeding.
Violators Must Be Held Accountable
FMCSA regulations exist to keep you safe. However, those regulations only work if the drivers, employers, and other responsible parties uphold them. If those parties fail and you suffer the consequences, Triumph Law, P.C. is here to help. Call or send a message to connect with a truck accident lawyer in Elk Grove who will fight to get you the compensation you need to recover.