Federal Trucking Regulations
Maryland Truck Accident Attorneys
In the aftermath of a serious trucking accident, the investigations that follow need to involve intense scrutiny of the circumstances that led up to the collision. Among the most important aspects to be reviewed at this time should be the federal regulations which govern truckers nationwide. If findings from the investigation suggest that the trucker or the trucking company was in violation of one or more federal laws, the violator(s) can be held legally responsible for the crash that resulted.
Unlike state-specific laws, federal trucking laws apply in every state throughout the U.S., if the truck is engaged in interstate commerce. These laws hold commercial truck drivers, who engage in interstate commerce to a high set of standards, all of which are strictly governed by the federal government. Accordingly, these federal regulations can play an integral role in determining who should be held responsible for the truck accident that resulted and caused personal injury and / or property damage. Some of these federal laws are as follows:
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
Truck drivers across the country must all obtain the proper licensing before they are legally permitted to operate a commercial vehicle. A CDL can only be obtained if the driver has completed special training and passed a demanding set of tests. By law, trucks and cargo loads that are believed to be more dangerous will require the driver to successfully complete more extensive training. Legal violations of any sort can result in the loss of a trucker’s CDL, and thus make him or her ineligible to continue in this line of work.
- Hours of Service (HOS)
The hours of service by which a trucker can legally operate his or her vehicle are heavily regulated by the federal government. By limiting the amount of time that a trucker can be on the road, the government can much more effectively prevent accidents that are caused by fatigue. Log books that include detailed entries of a truck driver’s time spent on the road are required as part of HOS regulations. Nonetheless, some trucking companies continue to demand unreasonable – and unsafe – schedules, forcing drivers to break the HOS rules by driving more than their allotted hours and falsifying their log book entries.
- Weight Limits
Large trucks that are driven on interstate highways can have no more than a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds. Cargo loads that exceed the federally implemented weight limits are considered to be dangerous and could result in a truck-tipping accident.
- Hiring Practices
Strict hiring practices are enforced for trucking companies in the U.S. According to federal law, only those drivers who carry a valid CDL and have passed the road test in a comparable vehicle can be legally selected for employment. Upon hire, the trucker will be subjected to an annual review of his or her driving record, as well as intermittent drug and alcohol tests. Inadequate hiring practices can lead to the employment of a driver who is not capable of handling the responsibility that comes with operating a commercial vehicle.
- Hazardous Materials
The transportation of hazardous materials calls for a special class of CDL. Only certain truckers can carry loads of hazardous materials, and these materials can only be transported along specified routes. If your accident involved collision with a truck that was carrying hazardous materials, the investigations that ensue will need to review the way in which the materials were secured, as well as the roads along which the truck was traveling.
Work with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C, our Maryland personal injury lawyers prioritize developing a one-on-one relationship with each of our clients. By doing so, we are able to ensure that each client’s case is assessed individually, thus allowing us to take a unique course of action depending on the circumstances of the case.
Before you settle with the insurance company, let a Maryland truck accident attorney at our office help you determine if a different approach could yield more favorable results for your case. Contact us today to learn more.