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Federal Trucking Regulations Handling Complex Cases With Unparalleled Expertise

Federal Trucking Regulations

Explained by Our Columbus Truck Accident Attorneys

Accidents involving large commercial trucks can be among the most dangerous on the road. Regardless of how safely a person drives, other vehicles may simply be unable to withstand the power, weight, and momentum of an 18-wheeler. To curb this danger and risk of catastrophic injury, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues strict regulations that oversee almost all aspects of the trucking industry. However, according to the FMCSA, just under half-a-million truck-related accidents occurred in the U.S. in 2014 alone—many due to one or more violations of these regulations.

When an accident occurs due to the negligent driving behavior of a trucker, they can be held legally responsible for resulting damages. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a collision with a commercial truck, contact Rourke & Blumenthal and tell us what happened. Our Columbus truck accident attorneys possess an in-depth understanding of federal trucking regulations and know where to investigate to help determine if a violation played a role in your accident.

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FMCSA Trucking Regulations

Largely put in place to help ensure that drivers on the road remain safe, the FMCSA regulations govern areas such as trucking maintenance and hours of operation as well as the actions of a trucking company. In the event of an accident, one of the first questions to ask is, “Did the operator or trucking company violate a federal regulation?” Companies and drivers alike are required to keep detailed documentation about the operation of their vehicles.

In the past, these records were kept with pencil and paper. Today, records are kept on electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) and electronic logging devices (ELD). Depending on the circumstances of an accident, a truck driver, a trucking company, and the manufacturer of the truck equipment may incur liability.

Areas that are subject to one or more federal regulations include:

  • Driver certification
  • Language requirements
  • Trucking inspections and maintenance
  • Load and cargo requirements
  • The total hours a trucker is allowed to drive
  • Proper maintenance of accurate records

What Are Key Federal Trucking Regulations That Apply To Commercial Truck Drivers In The U.S.?

One of the most important restrictions is the Hours of Service (HOS) rule, which limits the number of consecutive hours a driver can operate a commercial vehicle. Drivers are normally permitted to drive for 11 hours during a 14-hour period, followed by 10 straight hours off duty. This legislation tries to reduce driver weariness, which is a major contributing element in many trucking accidents.

Another important legislation relates to driving credentials. Commercial truck drivers must have a valid Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and meet certain age, language proficiency, and medical fitness requirements. They must also submit to frequent drug and alcohol tests to ensure they are not operating under the influence.

Vehicle maintenance and inspection requirements are also critical. Trucking companies are mandated to conduct regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs on their fleet. This includes daily pre-trip inspections by drivers and more comprehensive annual inspections by qualified personnel.

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are another important component. These devices automatically record driving time to ensure compliance with HOS requirements. ELDs make it more difficult to falsify records and assist ensure adherence to safety regulations.

If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, understanding these federal regulations can be complex. Our experienced trucking accident attorneys can help navigate these laws, build a strong case, and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your specific situation and how we can assist you.

How Are Violations Of Federal Trucking Regulations Enforced?

Violations of federal trucking regulations are strictly enforced and can result in significant penalties. As dedicated trucking accident lawyers, we understand the critical role these regulations play in maintaining road safety and how their enforcement impacts both truck drivers and companies.

The FMCSA is responsible for enforcing federal trucking regulations. When a violation is discovered, whether through routine inspections, audits, or after an accident, the FMCSA can levy a variety of fines. These fines are intended to assure compliance and prevent future infractions.

Fines are the most typical penalties for regulatory infractions. The severity of fines depends on the specific type and extent of the infraction. For example, serious offenses like fabricating hours of service records or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in significant financial penalties.

In addition to fines, the FMCSA has the authority to place drivers and vehicles out of service. This means that a driver or vehicle is temporarily prohibited from operating until the violation is corrected. Repeated or particularly egregious violations can result in more severe consequences, such as revocation of the driver's commercial license or the company's operating authority.

Regulatory infractions might also have substantial legal consequences in truck accident situations. A truck accident lawyer might use evidence of these violations to prove negligence and build a liability case against the truck driver or corporation. Demonstrating that a violation caused an accident can have a substantial impact on the outcome of a case and the amount of compensation paid to victims.

Injured in a Truck Accident? Call (614) 321-3212.

At Rourke & Blumenthal, we understand how stressful being injured in an accident can be. Between dealing with insurance companies and paying medical bills, it can be difficult to know where you can turn for help. Know that you are not alone in this struggle, and our firm can help you to seek compensation for medical costs, missed work, and reduced income potential as well as for your pain and suffering. Our Columbus truck accident attorneys have a proven history of success in accident cases and can help you to seek the restitution that you deserve.

To best assist our clients, we offer weekend and evening appointments. Contact our firm today.

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