There are hundreds of federal trucking regulations and rules that owners and operators must adhere to at all times not only for their safety, but for the safety of those around them. If a violation of one of these regulation causes them to become involved in an accident, then they could potentially be held liable for any of the damages that result. If you have recently been involved in an accident with a truck, you may not know where to begin your search in the federal trucking regulations, but a Lynchburg truck accident attorney can help you demonstrate negligence using the laws, which may not be all that uncommon. Let’s take a look at five of the more common regulations now.
1. Drug & Alcohol Policies
Most drivers are well aware of the 0.08% blood alcohol content limit that they must adhere to in order to legally operate their cars. However, truck drivers are held to a much higher standard. Drivers are prohibited from driving with any concentration of blood alcohol at all for the entire duration of their shift, or if they’ve consume alcohol within four hours of their shift beginning. Drivers are also prohibited from being under the influence of any drugs that would hinder them from safely operating their big rig.
2. Mandatory Rest Periods
Whereas those driving a regular car are not required by law to stop and rest after any period of driving, truck drivers may not drive for more than 11 hours after a minimum of 10 hours off duty. In total, a driver is not allowed to drive for more than 60 hours over a seven-day period. Drivers are also required to log these hours on a very specific form that will be regularly checked at inspection points and weigh stations.
3. Licensing Requirements
In order to legally operate a vehicle as large and heavy as a semi-truck, drivers are governed by a few additional rules. Semi-truck drivers must obtain a special commercial vehicle class license current at all times, which requires a rigorous written and operation exam. Drivers can lose this license if they are convicted of a criminal act or drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Trucking companies are required to ensure that all of their drivers remain eligible to drive on an annual basis.
4. Regular Inspections & Services
Before the start of each shift, drivers are required to thoroughly inspect their vehicle’s equipment, including brakes, tires, horn, windshield wipers, mirrors, and coupling devices for any perceived damage or defects. If any damage is found, drivers are prohibited from beginning their trip, and may only drive their truck to the nearest facility for repairs
5. Securing Cargo
Lost cargo can be a serious issue, and as such the requirements for securing cargo are stringent. In addition only using cargo securing devices that have been approved, drivers are required to inspect that all cargo is secure before setting off, and then re-checking the cargo within the first 50 miles of a trip to make any adjustments. After that, a truck driver must once again stop and re-examine their cargo every three hours, 150 miles, or whenever the driver changes duty. All stops and cargo inspections should be logged for reference.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, don’t hesitate to retain an attorney who can help you defend your legal rights. At Randall J. Trost, P.C. we are well-versed in the rules and regulations governing truck drivers, and can work to put these rules on your side if you have been injured in an accident. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, and we are not afraid to take your case as far as we need to in order to get you the fair and justified compensation that you deserve.Call Randall J. Trost, P.C. today at 434.738.2300 and let us review your legal options with you today!