The Differences Between State and Federal Trucking Regulations

Truck drivers and trucking companies must operate under a variety of laws and regulations. The federal laws governing the trucking industry are known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The regulations are located in Subchapter 49 of the United States Code. The code regulations are designed to ensure nationwide uniformity of trucking safety laws.

In addition to federal regulations, individual states have their own laws and rules that must be followed. The laws and regulations are found in state statutes, and codes are typically similar to federal rules in terms of their requirements.

The laws surrounding the trucking industry are extremely complex and dense. Knowing how to apply them to a specific case is an important factor in determining the ultimate success of your claim. It is important to hire an experienced nationwide truck accident lawyer if you or a loved one were injured in a commercial vehicle accident.

Federal Trucking Regulations  The Differences Between State and Federal Trucking Regulations

At the beginning of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is a list of definitions and key concepts. These definitions and concepts are often important in determining whether a violation of federal trucking regulations has occurred. Let’s take a look at some important issues that are  commonly involved in truck accident litigation:

  • Truck Drivers: While we might think that the term truck driver is easily defined, it is not actually so simple. Under federal law, a “truck driver” is any person who operates a motor vehicle designed to transport eight or more persons for hire or any vehicle designed to transport 15 or more passengers, or a vehicle whose weight exceeds 26,000 pounds.
  • Service Hours:  The number of hours that truck drivers can be on the road is limited. Under current United States law, a truck driver who is hauling freight may not drive more than 11 hours in any 24-hour period. The driver is further limited to 60 hours of driving within a seven-day period or 70 hours of driving within an eight-day period. If the driver reaches the 70-hour mark, they must then not operate a commercial truck for a period of 34 consecutive hours. These hours are commonly logged and are available on electronic devices that are built into the truck.
  • Size and Weight Limits:  Federal laws contain strict limits on a truck’s weight ratio and distribution. The weight of a truck must be distributed across all axles in order to ensure safety and proper operation. Weigh stations are present on all interstate highways to check trucks for compliance with federal and state law.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing: In 1991, Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act. The law requires drug testing of commercial truck drivers immediately following a crash. Additionally, drivers are subject to random drug testing throughout the year. When a driver tests positive for drugs, they must then test negative before returning to work.

All of these federal regulations play an important role in keeping both the trucker and the general public safe. Most trucking companies and truckers will do the right thing and follow the law. However, some trucking companies are unscrupulous and will cut corners during the process. When a truck accident occurs, it is important to determine whether any federal regulations were violated. Any negligence on the part of the trucking company or its employees could lead to a legal claim for compensation.

State Trucking Laws

Under our system of government, states also have a right to pass and enforce trucking laws within their individual borders. Every state in the country has adopted a set of laws and rules that truckers must follow. These laws are in addition to the federal regulations already in place. Some states have tougher laws than others. Truckers must be aware of the rules in each individual state, or else they could face fines and penalties. If a violation leads to a crash, the trucker can be held legally responsible.

The following are examples of certain specific laws that may apply to truckers in various states:

  • Colorado Chain Laws: Many states have rules requiring the use of tire chains, but Colorado has some of the strictest laws in the country. Drivers in this state are required to chain all four drive tires in winter weather conditions. Failure to follow the law can lead to fines and other penalties.
  • California Truck Inspections: California is the toughest state in the country when it comes to inspections. In 2020, the state posted 15 truck inspections per lane mile. Maryland was the next toughest state with 11, followed by North Carolina with 7.
  • Illinois Lane Restrictions: In a majority of states, it is illegal for a truck to drive in the left-hand lane or “fast lane” except in emergency circumstances. In Illinois, a truck driver caught in the fast lane faces a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted.

Complying with both state and federal law can impose a burden on commercial truckers. However, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. When a trucker violates the law and injuries occur, they can be held legally accountable for their actions.

Given the complex nature of trucking regulations, having a knowledgeable national truck crash lawyer is crucial to your success in any truck accident case. Your attorney knows the laws and will work to ensure that they are properly applied to your situation.

Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer

As the victim of a truck accident, you are likely feeling confused, overwhelmed, and scared. If you were not at fault for the crash, you deserve an aggressive and competent attorney who is not afraid to stand up to the trucking company and its insurance adjusters. Receiving appropriate compensation often depends on your attorney’s knowledge of the various federal and state laws and how they interact with your case.

At Burg Simpson, our seasoned nationwide truck accident lawyers can help when you have been injured in a commercial truck crash. We will always stand up for your legal rights and fight for the compensation that is needed for you to get back on your feet.

To schedule an appointment with a member of our team, please contact us any time at (888) 895-2080.

Previous PostNext Post

Related Posts

Understanding Gross Negligence in Truck Accident Cases

Truck accidents can leave victims suffering from serious and sometimes permanent injuries. In the worst-case...

The Impact of Truck Accidents on Small Businesses

The trucking industry is extremely vital to the viability of the American economy. Each day,...

Collecting Evidence in a Truck Accident Case

According to the United States Department of Transportation, approximately 182,000 people were hurt in nationwide...

phone-handset linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram