Since 1939, the federal government has attempted to oversee and manage the interstate trucking industry in order to make sure operating commercial vehicles and trucks are done in the safest manner possible. Because of this purpose, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set forth various regulations and requirements which all trucking companies and drivers need to follow.
The following are some of the most common FMCSA regulations cited in personal injury lawsuits involving trucking companies and drivers:
- Weight limits – Commercial trucks are allowed to carry a maximum 20,000 pounds per axle, which totals to a gross vehicle weight not exceeding 80,000 pounds. Improperly loaded or overloaded cargo causes trucks to experience braking and maneuvering difficulties, which can lead to accidents.
- Hours of service – A commercial trucker may only drive a truck for 11 consecutive hours, followed by a 10-hour break. A driver may not operate their vehicle beyond a 14th consecutive hour. Additionally, truck drivers are not allowed to work over 60 to 70 hours in seven to eight consecutive days.
- Qualifications of truckers – Truck drivers need to be at least 21 years old, be able to speak and read English, be physically able to operate a commercial truck, have a valid CDL, and have a driving record which doesn’t have any DUIs or felonies.
- Inspection and maintenance – Trucking companies and drivers are required to perform frequent, routine inspections and repairs on all parts of the truck before embarking on a long journey. Neglecting their duty to perform these mandatory inspections can make companies and truckers liable for any injuries caused by a defective or unrepaired truck part.
If a trucking company or a trucker breaks any of these laws, resulting in an injury or death of another person, the victim is entitled to financial compensation through the civil courts.