Yes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) posts special laws and regulations that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies. These rules do not apply to passenger vehicles like cars and light-duty trucks.
Regulations That Apply to Trucking Companies
Businesses that own or operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and employ or use drivers who have to get commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) must follow many rules designed to keep the highways safe. Here are a few examples of these laws:
Drug and Alcohol Testing
The FMCSA says that trucking companies must perform drug testing of their employees who operate CMVs. This requirement applies to intrastate and interstate drivers.
Trucking companies can hire laboratories and service agents to carry out the testing, but the ultimate responsibility is on the employer of the driver. The trucking company can receive civil penalties for not complying with the regulations if the hired service agent does not follow the rules or perform the tests.
After an accident involving injuries, the employer must have the driver tested for alcohol and controlled substances as soon as practicable. Per Federal Regulation § 382.303, if the alcohol testing does not get performed within eight hours of the collision and controlled substance testing does not happen within 32 hours of the accident, the employer must document in writing why the testing did not take place.
Hours of Service
Motor carriers have limits of how many hours in a day and week they are allowed to operate, and how long a driver can go before having to take a mandated break. There are different rules, depending on whether the commercial vehicle hauls property or transports people.
Trucking companies cannot place the responsibility for compliance with these rules solely on the trucker. The company must not schedule drivers for shifts that exceed the limits. Also, the company must develop and enforce protocols that support compliance. The employer must maintain records of duty status of its drivers.
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Special Laws for Truck Drivers
People who operate commercial motor vehicles must comply with the driving time limits. The laws forbid drivers from tampering with the onboard automatic recording devices that capture information about when the driver is in a driving duty status and non-driving duty status.
Drivers must not consume alcohol or prohibited drugs during their driving shifts. The rules against drinking alcohol or doing drugs also apply to the use of these substances before a shift, if doing so would cause any impairment when on-duty.
Anyone who operates a CMV must submit to drug and alcohol testing. Per the FMCSA, these tests can take place before employment, after an accident, randomly, or upon reasonable suspicion.
These are only a few of the special laws and regulations that apply to truck drivers, but these rules become essential in many truck accident injury lawsuits. The violation of these laws increases the risk of harm to other people on the road.
How These Special Rules Affect Liability in Collisions with Large Trucks
When a truck driver is fatigued from driving too long without adequate rest, he or she is more likely to be inattentive or fall asleep at the wheel, which can lead to a crash. A driver who operates a big rig while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance puts other vehicles on the road at risk of an accident.
The purpose of the special laws and regulations that apply to truck drivers is to keep truckers and the general public safe. When a trucking company or operator of a commercial motor vehicle breaks the law and the violation causes someone to get hurt, the company, driver, or both may be liable. Violation of a safety law can be negligence in most situations.
How We Prove That a Truck Driver Broke the Law
Because we handle truck accident injury claims, we know what records to request from the trucking company to preserve the evidence. We have to go after these documents right away, before the company has an opportunity to destroy the papers or electronic records that would prove that they broke the law.
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Getting Help for an Accident with a Tractor-Trailer
At Bressman Law, our truck accident team will get the job done. Because we have multiple lawyers on staff, your case does not get delayed when one attorney is in trial.
Our clients can devote their attention to getting better because they know that we are taking care of their legal matters. We work tirelessly to get our clients all the compensation that they deserve for their losses.
You do not have to be rich to get our help. We handle injury cases on a contingency-fee basis. Our fees come out of the settlement proceeds or award at the end. You do not have to pay upfront legal fees.
If you want a lawyer who is warm and supportive toward you while advocating aggressively for you, Bressman Law could be the right fit for you. Call us today at (614) 538-1116 for a free consultation.