Laws Applicable to Trucks to Help Protect Motorists
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the nation’s regulator of commercial vehicles across America’s roads, streets and highways. Trucking companies and truckers are required to abide by these regulations as a way to maximize safety for themselves and others who share the roads. These protocols cover every aspect of commercial trucking including:
- The maximum number of hours that truckers are allowed to drive each day and week.
- The truck’s weight and size limitations.
- Workplace testing and monitoring of alcohol and drug use and abuse.
Many trucking accidents are the result of a federal truck regulation violation. Truck companies and drivers can be held legally accountable when they fail to follow safety protocols and regulations.
The Federal Government Attempting to Keep the Road Safe for You
The FMCSA safety protocols, practices and regulations are enforced in an effort to eliminate the potential of catastrophic collisions that are often a result of vehicle accidents involving large commercial vehicles. A few of the key provisions truckers must abide include:
- Hours of Service – The daily and weekly hours of service a commercial trucker can drive their vehicle is greatly restricted. Referred to as “hours of service” these rules ensure that exhausted truckers remain off the roadway to avoid dangerous scenarios. Federal rules mandate:
- Truckers can drive no more than 11 hours every day and restrict total worktime to 14 hours every 24 hours. This includes both driving duties and non-driving work activities.
- Drivers are required to take at least 10 continuous hours off and away from work duties before returning to the roadway.
- Drugs and Alcohol – Truckers are held to a much higher standard than passenger vehicle motorists. This means that truckers with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.04 percent or more are in direct violation of federal DUI laws. Truck drivers are strictly prohibited from driving commercial vehicles until four hours after consuming alcohol and must follow all posted laws regarding prescription medication use. To ensure compliance:
- Truckers can be subjected to taking a random alcohol or drug test through their employer.
- Mandatory alcohol and drug testing is required after being involved in an accident involving injuries or fatalities.
- Weight and Size Limit – The federal government places strict weight limits on large commercial vehicles traveling on interstate highways. Most restrictions limit the maximum gross weight on the vehicle to 80,000 pounds. However, there are some exceptions. These restrictive weight limits on commercial vehicles are designed to protect America’s investment in the nation’s highways, roads and bridges.
- Maintenance and Repair – Regulations mandated by the federal government outline the minimum inspection standards on maintenance and repair that every commercial motor carrier is obligated to follow. Even so, many truck companies place profits over safety and routinely fail to perform safety inspections, provide safety inspection programs or adequately train drivers to detect any sign of trouble that could potentially cause a serious accident.
Involved in an Illinois Truck Accident Where You Suspect Safety Violations
If you, or a loved one, have suffered damages, injuries or losses caused by a regulation violation of a trucker or trucking company, you are likely entitled to file a claim for compensation. However, litigating commercial vehicle law violation claims are challenging and often requires the skills of competent Chicago truck injury lawyers.
The dedicated team of reputable truck accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can build a solid case for financial recompense by investigating the accident. Our law firm can determine if the trucker was careless and failed to follow rules, procedures and practices imposed by the federal government. Many of our successful cases were resolved by proving:
- The trucker drove the vehicle while fatigued due to driving past the legal hours of service limit.
- Shifting cargo cause the accident due to improper loading and securing.
- Improper equipment was used to store, secure or transport the cargo.
- The driver committed a log book violation.
- The trucker operated the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Our skilled Chicago truck injury attorneys are dedicated to our clients in assisting them in recovering fair and full recompense for their personal injury claims. We provide a free case evaluation to review the claim in charge no attorney fees until we successfully resolve the case through a negotiated settlement or winning a jury award at trial.