Are you aware of the rules and regulations governing truck drivers and their employers? The trucking industry has its fair share of rules and regulations that govern the way they conduct themselves. This means that you should always be mindful of these rules before taking legal action against them, as the rules could impact your personal injury claim.
If you are injured by a truck driver, it is important that you know what the law says about who is responsible for paying for your medical bills and other damages. Here is what you should know about trucking industry rules.
Trucks Must Follow Federal, State, and Local Trucking Regulations
The United States government regulates the use of heavy-duty trucks. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Act of 1980 requires that commercial trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds carry certain equipment and meet certain standards for driver training and vehicle maintenance.
In addition, states regulate the operation of larger trucks within their borders. For example, Pennsylvania requires that commercial trucks weigh no more than 80,000 pounds.
Local jurisdictions are also concerned about the safety of heavy trucks. They often pass local ordinances restricting where trucks can travel and how fast they can go. Some cities even ban trucks altogether.
Hours of Service for Pennsylvania Truckers
Federal guidelines limit the number of operating hours that commercial motor vehicle drivers can work each week. Hours of Service regulations were established in 1937 to reduce fatigue among drivers and improve safety. They require drivers to take regular breaks, rest for eight consecutive hours, and follow a daily schedule. In addition, property-carrying drivers must log a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel after having 10 consecutive hours off duty. Passengers-carrying drivers must complete 10 hours behind the wheel after being off duty for 8 consecutive hours.
The federal government sets the permissible working hours for interstate truckers based on the type of load they carry. For example, drivers transporting hazardous materials have different requirements than short-haul drivers. Trucking companies often use electronic devices to track compliance with hours-of-service requirements.
Truck Driver Training Requirements
Trucking companies must make sure that their drivers are properly educated about safe driving practices. In addition, truckers must have a valid CDL and pass a DOT physical exam every two years. Companies that fail to comply face fines.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drug testing for commercial truckers pre-employment and after accidents. These tests are required when someone is injured or killed or when there is property damage.
A truck needs to pass safety inspections regularly. These inspections ensure that the vehicle meets federal regulations and state requirements. Inspections include checking tires, brakes, lights, steering components, suspension systems, exhaust systems, and fuel tanks. In addition, drivers must check fluids, inspect windshield wipers, perform regular oil changes, and test air pressure in the tires.
If the truck driver or trucking company fails to maintain the truck, they are liable. The owner may be held responsible if the truck causes an accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accident cases are unique from others because they often involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, owner of the truck, and even bystanders. In most cases, each party involved in the accident is liable for damages arising out of the incident, and liability depends on whether one party caused the accident and what liability applies.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact our law firm today. We offer free case evaluations and can help you determine how much compensation you deserve. Call Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford at (215) 822-7575 or submit our contact form to schedule your consultation.