A common misconception that many clients have is that all motor vehicle
crashes are the same. To be sure, crashes involving commercial trucks
are often more devastating, more complicated and more difficult to litigate
than a crash involving an automobile. Also, the laws that apply to trucks
are different, as are the rules and regulations governing truck drivers
and trucking companies. If you have been injured in a truck crash, it
is important to discuss your potential claim with a personal injury attorney.
The federal agencies that regulate the trucking industry
The federal government has established several laws and regulations that
govern the trucking industry. This is a good thing, in light of the inherent
risk of catastrophic injury in crashes involving trucks. There are three
federal agencies responsible for overseeing trucking company regulations.
United States Customs oversees the importation of foreign goods. The Federal
Maritime Commission administers the regulations relating to overseas shipping.
Finally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division
of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the primary entity that regulates
both the trucks and the truck drivers, setting and enforcing safety regulations.
Relevant regulations governing the trucking industry
The FMCSA provides regulatory oversight and guidance on many issues related
to the trucking industry, including medical requirements for truck drivers,
drug and alcohol testing, the transportation of hazardous materials, and
the properly securing truck cargo. One of the most important and well-known
regulations is the “hours of service” regulation, which very
often comes into play after a crash involving a commercial truck.
“Hours of service” regulations
These regulations set strict limitations on the number of hours a truck
driver can drive and how many hours of rest are required before a driver
can return to driving. The goal of these regulations is to reduce or eliminate
driver fatigue. The rules limit truck drivers to an 11-hour daily driving
limit and a 70-hour workweek. Truck drivers can only resume driving if
they rest for 34 consecutive hours. Truck drivers are also required to
take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift. Truck
drivers are also required to keep a driving log recording their driving hours.
If you have questions regarding a personal injury matter,
contact us online or by calling the Law Office of Cody R. Wix, LLC at (205) 381-4787.