Large semi-trucks can be very dangerous. Drivers and the trucking companies they work for must adhere to regulations to ensure that their operations are safe. These regulations are established primarily by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as well as state and local agencies that have their own laws.
Hours of Service Regulations
Hours of service regulations limit the amount of time that truck drivers can spend on the road. Limiting driving hours can reduce the likelihood of driver fatigue, and therefore limit the safety hazards that tired drivers can present.
Truckers are only permitted to drive for a maximum of 11 hours according to regulations established by the FMCSA. This limit only applies if the driver has been off duty for 10 hours before that. After being on duty for 14 total hours, truckers cannot drive any longer. They are required to periodically take breaks as well. Drivers that do not adhere to these regulations may be less aware and responsive, and can cause truck accidents. These risks are the reason why hours of service regulations were established.
Weight and Cargo Regulations
Trucks must be under a certain weight limit to ensure that the vehicle cannot be overloaded and tip over. The specific weight limits for a truck depend on the type of vehicle, the cargo they are carrying, and other factors.
Truck drivers are also limited to the type of cargo they can carry. Some items, such as chemicals or flammable objects, cannot be transported via truck at all. In other instances, the trucking company may be able to acquire a permit to transport potentially hazardous items. Without these permits, trucking companies can face penalties for safety violations.
Trucking companies must ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained. Maintaining a fleet of trucks requires frequent safety inspections and prompt repairs of any issues. Trucking companies should also remove any vehicles from their fleet that are deemed unsafe.
In addition to the duties of the trucking company, drivers must be sure to monitor the safety of their vehicle and identify maintenance issues. If an issue can be repaired on the road — such as a flat tire or a dim headlight — drivers must correct that issue. The failure to do this can cause a truck accident, resulting in injury and damage.
The lawyers of Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C. are dedicated to helping injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us if you have been injured because of another person’s negligence.