Truck drivers must follow safety regulations surrounding how long they drive without taking a break, total hours driven in a day, total hours driven in a week, etc.
Failing to follow these regulations carefully could mean that the driver is found negligent if they cause an accident. Having clear proof of compliance with trucking regulations will aid in demonstrating that the truck driver had done all they could to prevent accidents on the road.
Learn more about the safety regulations truckers must follow and how they might relate to your accident case.
Trucking Safety Regulations You Should Know
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees the trucking industry and regulates truck driver activity. The FMCSA mandates certain behaviors and actions to keep other motorists safe on the roads. Here’s an overview of some of the truck safety laws you should know.
All companies that transport goods or passengers must register with the Department of Transportation. When completing the DOT registration, the company must provide honest and thorough information about its transportation business.
Transportation companies are required to maintain records on a driver’s qualifications to operate a vehicle. This includes knowing their driving history, having proof of a commercial driver’s license, and the ability to meet physical requirements for operating the vehicle. Employers must update a driver’s file each year.
Drivers must complete a DOT physical every 24 months when operating a commercial vehicle. If a driver has a condition, the FMCSA medical examiner might require that the driver return sooner than 24 months to monitor a condition.
Hours of Service
Drivers must follow all hours of service requirements and track those hours using an electronic logging device. The limits for property-carrying drivers include:
- Drivers cannot exceed 14 consecutive hours on duty until taking 10 consecutive hours off duty to reset the clock.
- Drivers must take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 cumulative hours without a 30-minute break. The break must be non-driving time of 30 consecutive minutes.
- Drivers cannot drive after 60 hours on duty on 7 consecutive days or 70 hours on 8 consecutive days. The driver can restart those periods with 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Electronic Logging Devices
As of December 17, 2019, truck drivers must use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record hours of service. Using an ELD prevents truck drivers from writing down whatever hours of service fit their needs when completing paper logs. It also reduces errors in drivers forgetting when they went on duty or when they last took a break. The device can auto-log when a vehicle is in motion and drivers can update their status using a convenient mobile app.
Trucking Safety Regulations and Negligence
Failing to meet these safety regulations leaves others on the road at risk. If a truck driver fails to comply with these regulations and causes an accident, it is more likely that law enforcement and the courts will find that the truck driver was at fault for the accident.
When determining negligence, the courts evaluate which driver failed to meet their duty of care toward the other, directly causing injuries and harm to another driver. In some cases, negligence is failing to follow the speed limit. Other times it is changing lanes without the appropriate level of care or without using a turn signal.
In the case of a truck driver not obeying safety regulations, it could mean undue fatigue for the driver, impairing their ability to make good choices and protect those around them.
Connect With Us for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been injured by a truck driver and want to explore your options for recovering financially from the accident, schedule a free consultation with Stewart & Stewart. Our team is well-versed in truck driver safety and can evaluate how it factors into your case.