Contrary to the popular belief, the trucking industry is not just about carrying cargo from point A to point B. The trucking industry in the United States is governed by numerous federal safety regulations designed to protect the rights of truck drivers or other parties involved in a truck accident, and ensure safe operation and maintenance of commercial trucks, among other things.
Our Los Angeles truck accident attorney from Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg explains that all those federal, state and local safety regulations that exist for the trucking industry may be confusing, but knowing each of them is paramount to determine fault and get compensated after a truck crash.
When do these federal trucking regulations apply?
These regulations can affect your personal injury claim after a truck accident a lot. The federal regulations, also known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, apply to:
- interstate commercial vehicles weighing at least 10,000 pounds;
- trucks that transport hazardous materials; and
- vehicles that transport more than eight passengers.
While it may seem that these trucking regulations apply only to truck drivers, it is not actually true. In reality, these safety regulations also apply to trucking companies that hire and train truck drivers as well as ensure proper inspection and maintenance of vehicles.
Federal safety regulations for commercial trucks in the U.S.
“So what aspects are covered by these federal trucking safety regulations?” you may be wondering. Our experienced truck accident attorney in Los Angeles has outlined some of the key safety issues encompassed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations:
- Hours of service. In California and all across the U.S., truck drivers are not permitted to drive for more than 11 consecutive hours without rest. To ensure that their compliance with the hours of service regulations can be checked any time, truck drivers are required to keep an electronic logbook that records their driving hours for 12 months.
- Truck’s inspection and maintenance. Since commercial trucks are so huge in size and can carry hazardous materials, it only makes sense that adequate inspection and maintenance of these vehicles would be regulated by federal law. To ensure safe operation, any inspections and routine maintenance of trucks must be recorded in logs and kept for 12 months.
- Weight limits. There is a limit to everything, and cargo carried by commercial trucks is no exception. Under federal law, the maximum load a truck is legally allowed to carry should not exceed 20,000 pounds on any one axle. In addition to that, the total weight for any one wheel supported by one axle cannot be greater than 10,500 pounds.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Since many truck accidents in Los Angeles and all across California occur due to truckers consuming alcohol and/or using drugs before or during their driving shifts, there are quite a few federal regulations that make it illegal for truck drivers to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Generally, trucking companies can be held liable for failure to prevent their drivers from operating a commercial truck while intoxicated.
- Hiring and training of truck drivers. As you may or may not know, trucking companies are legally required to perform adequate background checks and even conduct drug testing before employing a trucker. After the hiring, each driver is required to be properly trained in accordance to federal safety regulations and the trucking company’s existing policies.
- Driver’s health and medical conditions. During those background checks in the hiring process, trucking companies are required to check each applicant’s medical history to determine whether or not there are any injuries or illnesses that would have a negative effect on their performance and safe operation of the truck. Consult with a Los Angeles truck accident attorney to find out which medical conditions pose safety risks, and which disabilities and conditions may apply for an exemption with the federal regulations.
As you can see, proving negligence against a truck driver or trucking company is all about investigating which, if any, federal trucking regulations have been violated. Only a skilled lawyer from Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg can help you with that. Schedule a free consultation by calling at 310-997-0904.