Trucking Laws that Impact Accident Claims

No matter which state you live in, all vehicles on the road must follow traffic regulations and basic traffic laws. However, different laws exist for larger trucks and commercial vehicles.

Trucks and commercial vehicles have an important role in the economy. They are responsible for delivering goods and moving cargo throughout the nation.

In California, more than 78 percent of the communities rely on these trucks to move their cargo. Further, NHTSA states that the number of traffic fatalities that involved a big rig steadily rose from 2013 to 2017.

The following statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation) further point out how dangerous truck accidents are:

  • Occupants of the noncommercial vehicles involved in commercial truck accidents have a far greater risk of being injured in a commercial truck accident than do truckers – these occupants made up 97 percent of all such fatalities in 2015.
  • In 2015, almost 4,000 people were killed in tractor-trailer accidents nationwide.
  • In the period from 2009 to 2015, the number of semi-accident fatalities rose by 22 percent.
  • In 2015, 11 percent of all traffic fatalities involved a tractor-trailer.

Semi-trucks are everywhere, especially in rural areas of California, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, our economy is driven by semis that deliver all those consumer goods that we need – and want. Ours is a consumer-based economy, and the trucking industry coupled with consumer demand keeps things moving forward. This means that as more trucks are being utilized in California, trucking accidents are simultaneously on the rise. Unfortunately, truck accidents are often more dangerous and deadlier than other accidents.

Their significant size can cause serious damage in truck accidents. If you are involved in a major truck accident, you must seek the assistance of an experienced attorney from your area immediately. You must get an attorney within your vicinity to easily reach them. If you are from Los Angeles, then seek the help of an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer.

Trucking laws are often more complicated and confusing. This is why getting help from an attorney is important.

But how exactly does trucking laws impact accident claims?

There are two primary federal agencies in the U.S that are responsible for regulating truck accident laws. They are the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

State and federal trucking regulations exist for the safety of everyone on the road. Every state may have different standards for the standards that trucking companies and drivers must meet.

In California, they’ve imposed the following regulations regarding truck accidents:

  • More restrictive standards for obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which is necessary to operate a big rig
  • Far less tolerance for a commercial driver’s use of alcohol and/or drugs – including testing for such usage
  • Strict regulatory standards related to the transportation of hazardous materials
  • Closely monitored requirements related to the safety standards and the physical health of commercial truckers and the safety standards of trucking companies

The trucking industry and its truckers are closely and carefully regulated by both state and federal government, but deadly accidents have not decreased. The fact is that the trucking industry often cuts corners to continue to maximize profits, and this to the safety detriment of everyone on the road.

The FMCSA has created a set of rules called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), which covers commercial vehicles, including trucks. Truck drivers and companies are required to meet the following truck safety guides:

Hours of service rules

– Truck drivers are not expected to drive for more than 11 hours without a break. They are usually required to have an electronic logbook that will document their driving hours to verify their compliance.

Truck maintenance rules:

– Truck companies and drivers are responsible for adequately maintaining their vehicles to ensure a safe operation. This may include inspections, routine maintenance, and major repairs.

Hiring and training requirements:

– Trucking companies are expected to do thorough background checks and testing before they hire a driver. This is done to avoid having an irresponsible truck driver on the road. Once hired, their drivers must also be trained to follow general safety policies related to drugs and alcohol.

Drugs and alcohol:

– Of course, like all other drivers on the road, truck drivers are not allowed to drive while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol during their shift. Truck companies are responsible for doing a routine drug test to avoid substance abuse on the roadway.

Illness and impaired driving:

– Truck companies must avoid hiring visually impaired drivers or drivers with illnesses that can seriously affect their ability to operate the vehicle.

If any of these safety protocols are violated, the trucking company will be liable for their negligence. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you gather evidence if you ever find yourself caught in a trucking accident.