Federal Trucking Regulations
Holding Trucking Companies Accountable for Safety Violations
The trucking industry is an estimated $700 billion industry, per the American Trucking Association. With billions of trucks on the road transporting a variety of goods, products, and materials, it's no wonder the industry has hit a high point. But with so much truck traffic, there must be regulations, rules, and laws in place. So who is in charge of enforcing these regulations? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, they have the power to regulate both truck drivers and their vehicles.
Truckers and shipping companies must meet strict FMSCA regulations governing:
- Commercial driving licenses (CDL)
- Hours of service
- Weight and size restrictions
- Drug and alcohol use (even when not on the clock)
Unfortunately, these federal and state regulations are routinely ignored. As a result, thousands of fatal truck accidents occur every year on the web of highways connecting states and major cities across the United States. Failure to observe trucking regulations can put others at risk. If you were hurt in an accident involving a commercial truck, there is a chance that one or more broken regulations played a role in the collision.
What Are Trucking Regulations?
Established in 2000, the FMCSA's sole role is to regulate this crucial industry and employs more than 1,000 people to help it do so. Although there are countless law passed to increase the safety of not only the truck drivers, but also passengers and every other driver. Some examples of trucking regulations include those that apply to:
- Maintenance of the vehicle
- Proper loading techniques, cargo securement requirements, and weight limits
- Requirements for rest breaks
- Zero use of drugs and / or alcohol while on the job
- Physical wellness requirements for truck drivers
- Training requirements for truck drivers
- Special testing for hazardous material carriers
Commercial trucking regulations were written to protect the safety of all who use the nation's highways. A company that operates trucks creates records to back up its compliance with these regulations. These records often provide the evidence that a lawyer needs to prove a case. Whether an individual driver caused a truck accident or the collision was caused by the negligence of the trucking company, a truck maintenance provider, or some other responsible party, documentation of compliance with trucking regulations can help truck accident lawyers discover the facts of the case. A good attorney can examine these records and look for discrepancies or other insights as to what may have caused the accident.
What Power Do Individual States Have?
In addition to the FMCSA and Federal Highway Administration, each state has its own regulatory bodies that can enforce various traffic laws including licensing, registration, and other state-specific laws. While some states only enforce laws that affect drivers within their boarders, others have the power to enforce interstate regulations. In most states, the Department of Motor Vehicles will have regulatory power for matters like vehicle registration.
Commercial Trucking Maintenance & Repair Requirements
Federal regulations provide minimum inspection standards for commercial motor carriers. However, too many trucking companies skimp on routine safety inspection programs and fail to train drivers to recognize signs of trouble before they cause an accident. An experienced truck accident attorney will investigate whether the trucking company has established standards for placing vehicles out of service and whether they have an adequate record keeping system to document the maintenance and repairs. The lack of well-documented inspections and maintenance can provide persuasive evidence of negligence contributing to a serious crash.
Why You Should Speak with a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer
When representing you in a serious injury or wrongful death claim following a truck accident with an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck, our Houston trucking accident lawyers double as detectives. Working with industry experts, the lawyers at Arnold & Itkin endeavor to uncover what really happened to cause the accident. Our goal is to build a strong and persuasive case as quickly as possible so we can secure justice for our clients.
You can trust that the personal injury lawyer who you work with is prepared to take every step necessary in fighting for the compensation you deserve. This includes closely examining truck driver logs, trucking company records, and other safety reports that may have been filed with regulatory agencies. Our Houston truck accident attorneys know how to look for evidence of drug or alcohol abuse by the truck driver, as well as inconsistencies in the record, which signify that documents may have been falsified or completed after the fact.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation: (888) 493-1629
The sooner you receive a free consultation regarding your case, the better your chances of obtaining the results you desire. Our team at Arnold & Itkin can answer your questions and provide an evaluation of your case free of charge, so you can know what your options are and what to expect. We have recovered billions of dollars for our clients in successful verdicts and settlements. As a team, we understand how to fight for the rights and the interests of our clients, and we're prepared to stand up for you and make a difference in the outcome of your case.
For more information, or to arrange your free case evaluation, call Arnold & Itkin today at (888) 493-1629!