Three Trucking Regulations that Lead to Wrecks

Trucking regulations commercial vehicle attorney in Texas

Commercial Vehicles Must Follow Strict Regulations

We know that commercial truck drivers (and other commercial vehicle drivers as well) have a set of regulations they have to follow.  These aren’t arbitrary; they were designed from years of data by experts that understand how people and heavy equipment work together.

Often, however, some companies see those regulations as cutting into their profits.  Sometimes truck drivers themselves feel they are better drivers and can “fudge” the rules just a bit.  Today, the Car Crash Captain is looking at three regulations that are often violated, and can have a significant impact on your truck accident case.

Driver Rest Periods

Most people know that semi-truck drivers have to take rest periods.  But do you know what those are?  They’re actually quite confusing – something that a driver or trucking company may try to exploit if they are in a wreck.

  • Drivers may only drive for 11 hours at a time… but only after they have been off-duty for 10 hours.
  • They also have to drive those 11 hours within a 14-hour window – then take a break.
  • Every 8 hours of driving, drivers have to take at least a 30-minute break.
  • In a 7-day period, maximum driving hours cap out at 60 hours; in an 8-day period, they cap at 70 hours.

Unless, of course, you’re transporting people.  Then there are different rules.  Check out our previous post on the hours of operation, and see the official trucking regulations on the FMCSA website.

If you’ve been injured in a wreck with a semi-truck, and that driver has violated any of the hours of operations regulations, then your case has to be handled differently.  A Texas truck wreck lawyer will know what to do – but do you know what to do?

Vehicle Maintenance Schedules

Because most commercial vehicles are big and heavy, they can cause a lot of damage, death, or injury if they fail.  To help prevent this, the FMCSA has created a schedule of repairs and maintenance to ensure that rigs on the road are operating safely.

There is, however, quite a bit of leeway.  Things that could be open to interpretation.  Items like inspections of emergency windows, doors, and marking lights on passenger buses have to be every 90 days.  Other maintenance issues come down to “make sure it gets done.”

The legal documents for inspection, repair, and maintenance, say, “Every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control.”  That gives a bit of wiggle room – would an inspection have prevented the failure, or was this something completely random?

It’s also important to know that unless you thoroughly understand these laws and how they can be violated, will you be able to argue for your case?  Will you be able to do that if you’re recovering from major injuries, or mourning the death of a loved one?

Cargo and Rig Weight Limits

While weight limits seem like they should be clearer, they really are not.  There are multiple weight categories depending on the vehicle and driver.

Drivers must be certified as A, B, or C weight class commercial groups.  It all depends on if the rig, with combined trailer or vehicle-in-tow is over a certain weight – check out the FMCSA site to see what those groups are.

For the absolute maximum size, though, the FMCSA says that commercial motor vehicles (CMV’s) operating on interstate highways cannot exceed 53 feet in length, and weigh no more than 80,000 pounds.  Unless, of course, they fall into the exceptions categories.

When you’re in a wreck, do you know if the driver is certified to operate that vehicle?  Are they in the right driver weight class?  Is the vehicle properly permitted or have they exceeded their weight limit?

Herbert Law Group Knows Trucking Regulations

Trucking regulations can be confusing.  They’re even more confusing when you’ve gone through a traumatic experience and you’re trying to heal – mentally and physically.

That’s why an experienced truck wreck lawyer in Texas is necessary.  Someone that will help you understand what’s going on, argue for you, and bring you the settlement you need to heal completely.

Let’s talk about what happened, and develop a game plan.  Call the Herbert Law Group offices at 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form on our site and we’ll reach out to you.