There are many federal laws in a place that the trucking industry must follow in the interest of maintaining a safe environment for all drivers on the road. While the average driver probably doesn’t know the requirements and penalties for a CDL, for instance, a working knowledge of the “rules of the road” is paramount if you find yourself involved in truck accident litigation. Below is a brief introduction to the most common trucking regulations. You’ll find a more complete overview of those rules in the Truck Accident section of our website.
According to federal data, in 2010 — the latest year for which there is information — there were 3,867 large trucks and 94 buses involved in non-injury accidents in the state of Florida. There were 2,484 large trucks and 75 buses involved in injury accidents within the state. In a year’s time, Florida residents saw more than 3,700 injuries as a result of large truck and bus crashes.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for the regulations put in place to help prevent truck accidents. These regulations involve everything from the qualifications to be a truck driver in the U.S. to the hours of service an individual can drive a truck, to the parts and accessories used on trucks. In brief, drivers must be at least 21 years old, speak English, be able to physically operate a truck and have a CDL in order to operate a truck that weighs over 10,000 pounds, transports more than 16 passengers or carries hazardous materials.
Drivers cannot drive more than 10 hours after 8 straight hours off-duty or for any time after 15 hours on duty. In addition to driving time, on duty time includes that spent at loading or unloading facilities, time spent in inspections, non-driving time spent in a commercial vehicle or doing compensated work for a motor carrier company.
Motor carriers are required to ensure that the truck is in good working order, has been regularly inspected and maintained, and that drivers are not operating unsafe vehicles. In addition, if the driver is hauling hazardous materials, those materials may not be left unattended.
Again, these are just a few of the requirements of commercial trucks. However, in spite of the rules, there are still thousands of accidents on Florida roadways involving trucks. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, there are a number of things you need to do in order to preserve evidence and file a claim. The experienced attorneys at DDB Law can help. Please contact us today for your free consultation.