Trucking Companies Should Follow the Rules

Trucking Companies Should Follow the Rules

Every truck driver and trucking company must follow a set of trucking regulations in order to be in compliance with the law. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the agency in charge of regulating the nation’s commercial trucking industry. All trucking laws have been created with the goal of keeping our roads safe. When a large truck causes an accident, there are many contributing factors, and often, the truck driver or the trucking company has failed to adhere to the federal rules. Some of the most important trucking industry laws and regulations are:Personal Injury lawyersMore information here

Hours of Service
Alcohol and Drug Testing
Maintenance and Repair
Truck Height and Weight Limits
Transportation of Hazardous Materials
Hours of Service

According to a Department of Motor Vehicles study, driver behavior is ten times more likely to be the cause of a large commercial truck accident than any other factor. Driver fatigue and inattention are leading causes of truck accidents, so federal law limits the number of hours that commercial truck drivers can spend on the road between rest breaks. Under federal law:

Drivers may drive up to 11 hours in a 14-hour workday. After they go off-duty, drivers must not work for 10 or more consecutive hours.
The 14-hour on-duty window may not be extended with off-duty time for meal and fuel stops, etc.
Drivers may not be on duty for a total of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days, but they may “restart” the 7/8 day period anytime they have spent 34 consecutive hours off duty.
Drivers using a sleeper berth in their trucks must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.personal injury truck accident attorneys

All hours and miles driven must be documented in a driver’s log.

Alcohol and Drug Testing
Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. While non-commercial drivers can legally operate their vehicles with a blood-alcohol content of less than .08 percent, commercial drivers in most states may not legally drive with a blood-alcohol content of .04 percent. FMCSA regulations also require that commercial truck drivers undergo periodic alcohol and drug testing. Trucking companies are responsible for conducting random, unannounced tests, and a positive drug test should result in removal from duty. The tougher rules for driving a commercial truck under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a reflection of the increased danger the larger, heavier vehicles pose on the roads.

Maintenance and Repair
Making sure that trucks are fit for the road is a major responsibility for the trucking company and the truck driver. There is a monetary incentive to rush through safety checks or to delay repairs. A trucking company’s priority is speed over safety. Those maintenance delays can become deadly. FMCSA regulations provide minimum inspections standards for commercial motor carriers. Trucking companies must establish training programs and implement standards for their truck drivers. Trucks should be maintained and regularly inspected for damage. All routine safety inspections and all repairs should be well documented.

Truck Height and Weight Limits
Overweight trucks are one of the top causes of truck collisions. FMCSA assigns weight and height limits for trucks to protect roadways and the people who use them. Weigh station checkpoints are placed on highways for law enforcement officials to check each truck’s compliance. Truck drivers and trucking companies try to cut costs by overloading their trucks and try to avoid checkpoints. Trucks that are too heavy or too tall can cause serious damage to roads, are harder to control, and increases the risk of rollovers and collisions with other vehicles.

Transportation of Hazardous Materials

The FMCSA and other government agencies regulate the transport of hazardous materials with the hope of reducing harm to the public and the environment. Laws for drivers and commercial trucks that transport gasoline, radioactive waste and other hazardous materials on the roads require a certain level of safety in their operations that may include specific permits and special handling, including:

No smoking within 25 feet of designated vehicles
No parking of the vehicle within 300 feet of open flames
Driver must maintain control over the vehicle during stops, including for fueling
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