What You Should Know About Trucking Laws
Truck accidents are unlike other motor vehicle accidents and are often more likely to lead to catastrophic injuries and death due to their immense size and weight. As such, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets strict regulations for the trucking industry to follow to help prevent these terrible accidents from occurring. Unfortunately, rules and regulations are flouted and people get hurt. If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, the Shreveport legal team at The Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap is here to fight for your rights and provide knowledgeable and compassionate legal services to help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact Robert B. Dunlap today for a free consultation.
Regulations for Trucking Companies and Drivers
The trucking industry is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the FMCSA and, together, these federal agencies establish the standards trucking companies and drivers must follow. Additionally, each state has its own department of transportation to regulate intrastate commercial trucking.
It is important to understand these regulations and laws if you were involved in a truck accident since they can help determine who is liable for the accident and how many parties might be responsible for your injuries.
Commercial Driver License
Truck drivers and drivers of other commercial vehicles are required to have the proper licensing. If the at-fault truck driver involved in your accident lacks the requisite license for operating a commercial vehicle, this can play a major part in your case against them and the employer.
Hours of Service
Driver fatigue is a major problem in the trucking industry, which is why there are rules that dictate how long the operator of a commercial truck is permitted to drive without taking a break or resting. These regulations are known as the “hours of service.” Some of these rules include:
- Truck drivers can drive up to 11 hours, but no more than 14 hours within a duty period
- Truck drivers are required to take a mandatory half hour break by the eighth hour of their duty period
- A truck driver’s 14-hour duty period cannot be extended with off-duty time for breaks, meals, fuel stops, or any other necessary stops
- Truck drivers can restart the 7-day period once every 168-hour work week if they take at least 34 consecutive hours off with two consecutive periods of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
- A truck driver’s duty period must always begin with at least 10 hours off-duty
- Truck drivers are not allowed to work more than 60 hours on-duty within a span of 7 consecutive days
Drivers and their employers can face severe penalties for violating these rules, including fines, safety downgrades, and criminal penalties.
Commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers, are regulated in manufacturing and repairs to ensure safety. If the truck accident you were involved in occurred due to a defect in the truck or any of its components, you could have a claim against the manufacturer, supplier, or maintenance crew.
All trucks have a maximum allowable weight, which is determined by its size. Single axle trucks, for example, can carry up to 20,000 pounds, while two-axle trucks can carry up to 34,000 pounds. If the weight of the truck was a factor in your accident, this could be an important element in your case.
Truckers must follow safety regulations regarding the transportation of hazardous materials as dictated by the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS). If you were injured as a result of a trucker’s failure in following these guidelines, you can pursue a claim against the driver, the employer, and the company shipping the hazardous material.
Personal Injury Attorney Serving Shreveport, Louisiana
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, the Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap is here to serve as your fierce legal advocate. Mr. Dunlap is an experienced personal injury attorney in Shreveport who will work diligently to gather evidence to build your case and present it in court. A personal injury claim for a trucking accident often involves several damages, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and the emotional and physical pain and suffering often associated with such tragic accidents.
With the Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap, you can be confident you will receive the reliable legal services you need during this difficult time.
Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.