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U.S. Trucking Regulations

The Federal And State Trucking Regulations Violated Most Frequently

In order to build a strong personal injury and damages claim, it is critical to prove that the truck driver was indeed negligent, and that the negligence was the legal or “proximate” cause of injuries you sustained. In cases involving a truck accident, if you can prove the truck driver was in violation of any federal or state regulations, then you have an effective means of proving negligence and winning your case. Courts very often find such violations to be clear unequivocal proof of an occurrence of negligence. Added proof establishing additional negligence certainly helps your case. But federal or state regulatory violations may be an “automatic” win.

18-Wheeler Regulations

The two semi-truck regulations that are violated the most frequently are obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License and maintaining a Log Book.

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) – Drivers of commercial semi-trucks are obligated to have a CDL. For a truck driver to obtain a CDL, the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) mandates that truck drivers pass a battery of tests specifically designed for commercial truck drivers. Applicable laws may differ somewhat from state to state, but all must be in compliance with federal DOT regulations and laws including related Codes of Federal Regulations (CFR) 49 CFR 382, 49 CFR 385, 49 CFR 3890, 49 CFR 391, 49 CFR 392, 49 CFR 393, 49 CFR 394, 49 CFR 395, 49 CFR 396, and 49 CFR 397. How stringent the test is depends upon the weight of the truck, tractor or trailer – larger vehicles mean more stringent testing.

Associated regulations mandate that truck drivers demonstrate full proficiency in several areas:

  • Parking, maneuvering, backing up, etc.
  • Maintenance of tires, lights, engines, breaks, placards, etc.
  • Mastery of the pre-trip inspection regimen.
  • Procedures and regulations for the containment of hazardous materials.

In addition to obtaining the CDL, commercial truck drivers must also pass drug testing and a physical examination to ensure that they are physically capable of operating an 18-wheeler or other commercial vehicle.

Log Books.  Drivers of semi-trucks or other types of commercial vehicles are required to maintain log books that record information such as:

  • The number of daily hours they commit to driving as well as to rest. Generally commercial truck drivers are permitted 11 hours of daily driving followed by at least 10 hours of rest. Driving over 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours over eight days is generally against the law. This is pursuant to the applicable Code of Federal Regulations as summarized in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service and other sources.
  • The calendar date that they picked up their current cargo load.
  • The weight of the rig (truck, tractor and/or trailer) prior to and after the cargo is loaded.
  • The cargo destination.
  • The delivery date.

More Evidence Demonstrating Negligence:

Depending upon the facts of your case, there are more ways you can build the strength and credibility of your injury claim. Think of them as the more conventional ways of finding evidence of both proximate cause and negligence. The phrase “proximate cause” basically means that the negligent actions of the semi-truck driver were the foreseeable and logical reason that the accident happened. An alternate way to explain proximate cause is to say that the accident would not have occurred at all except for the negligent actions of the truck driver. Therefore, the negligence of the truck driver was the direct, proximate cause of the eventual accident and the injuries you suffered.

“This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship.”