The average driver is not aware of the numerous state and federal laws which apply to the trucking industry, but these laws can have a great impact on your case. Trucking companies and truck drivers are held to a higher standard than drivers of passenger vehicles.
Laws applying to trucking companies
Trucking companies are required to adhere to very strict laws which govern every aspect of how they do business. A big part of any trucking accident lawsuit is establishing carrier responsibility. Among the laws trucking companies must adhere to are regulations pertaining to:
- Insurance – Trucking companies are required to maintain certain minimum levels of insurance coverage on their trucks.
- Truck maintenance – Trucking companies are responsible for keeping their trucks in good working condition and must keep detailed maintenance records.
- Hiring and monitoring drivers – Trucking companies must hire qualified, healthy drivers, who speak English. They must also keep track of how much time their drivers spend on the road, traffic violations, accidents, and must conduct routine drug screening.
Laws applying to truck drivers
While the ultimate responsibility lies on trucking companies, truck drivers are also subject to very strict rules and regulations, including:
- Special training and licensing – truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and they must have the right class of CDL for the type of truck they are driving and cargo they are hauling. This requires special training and tests,
- Hours of Service (HOS) – HOS regulations dictate how many consecutive hour a driver may spend on the road, and how long they must wait before driving again, once that time has elapsed each day and each week.
- DUI laws – Truck drivers are restricted to a much lower BAC than non-commercial drivers, and must refrain from consuming alcohol for at least four hours before going on duty. A truck driver is “on duty” when loading and inspecting the truck, not just while driving.
In the end, laws are just words on paper. They can’t always prevent tragic accidents, but they can give you a leg to stand on when seeking the compensation you need and deserve. An important part of these laws is the strict requirement for detailed documentation. With the help of a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer, this documentation can be the key to winning your lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a trucking accident, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer today.