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Are There Special Safety Regulations
That Apply to Commercial Trucks?

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

A commercial motor vehicle is a very large vehicle made of strong and heavy metals, which can easily damage almost any other vehicle. Therefore, driving them cautiously and abiding by federal safety regulations is important.

As an experienced personal injury attorney, I will explain the significance of following safety regulations for commercial trucks and the potential penalties for noncompliance.

Quick Summary

  • The FMCSA enforces special safety regulations for commercial trucks to maintain road safety and regulate interstate commerce.
  • Drivers must adhere to drug and alcohol testing and hours of service regulations, obtain a CDL, use driving log books, and meet vehicle maintenance requirements.
  • Failure to comply with the rules could result in liability for truck accidents or fatalities. 

Are There Special Safety Regulations That Apply To Commercial Trucks?

Yes, there are special safety regulations that apply to commercial trucks. With specific regulations governing various aspects of trucking, from driver qualifications to vehicle maintenance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plays a critical role in keeping our highways safe and regulating interstate commerce [1].

Drug And Alcohol Testing

A truck driver that was asked to do drug and alcohol testingCommercial truck drivers need to undergo drug and alcohol testing for safety purposes. Trucking companies must conduct these tests on drivers operating commercial vehicles within and across state boundaries.

These tests prohibit drivers from consuming alcohol while on duty because impaired driving is a major hazard to the safety of drivers and other road users.

The alcohol test should be conducted within eight hours of the accident, and the controlled substance test must be completed within 32 hours of the incident [2].

Not adhering to these testing regulations can lead to trucking companies being subject to civil penalties.

Moreover, drivers transporting hazardous materials or unsafe materials such as flammable liquids must follow additional safety precautions, such as maintaining a safe distance from open fires and refraining from smoking near the vehicle.

Hours Of Service

The FMCSA has set rules for the maximum hours of driving for commercial truck drivers to avoid accidents caused by driver fatigue. These regulations limit the hours a driver can drive daily and weekly. 

These breaks help drivers get enough rest, decreasing the chance of accidents caused by falling asleep while at the steering wheel.

Commercial Driver's License

A truck driver showing his commercial drivers licenseDrivers must possess a valid Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to operate a commercial vehicle [3]. 

In most states, the minimum age requirement for a CDL is 18 years old, although some states have a higher minimum age requirement. A CDL requires passing a written knowledge test, a skills test, and a medical exam.

Furthermore, the Department of Transportation mandates a DOT Supervisor Training program for employers who operate vehicles requiring a CDL on public roads and have more than one employee.

Related Article: Do You Need a CDL to Drive a Box Truck?

Driving Log Book

A driving log book is vital in ensuring that truck drivers adhere to the hours of service regulations set by the FMCSA. 

Commercial truck drivers must maintain a record of duty (log book) daily unless they remain within a 100-mile radius of their initial location.

The logbook must document every 24 hours, including any changes in duty status, such as sleeping in the berth or driving.

Vehicle Maintenance Requirements

A man checking the tires and brakes of a truckProper vehicle maintenance is essential for ensuring the safety and reliability of commercial trucks on the road. 

Periodic inspections of vehicle components such as fluid and oil checks, brake and light inspections, and maintenance record-keeping for at least one year are required for commercial trucks.

Before operating any commercial vehicle, the driver must ensure that all necessary components function properly and the presence of the safety equipment. 

If any of these parts are not working properly, they must report it to the motor carrier without delay for repair or replacement of the affected commercial vehicles.

Read Also: Are Semi Trucks Dangerous?

Who Sets Safety Regulations For Trucking Companies?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets safety regulations for trucking companies. They do this by setting and enforcing safety regulations. 

As an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, the FMCSA establishes and enforces safety regulations for commercial motor vehicles, including trucks, to prevent or reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

Related Article: Why are Oil Field Truck Accidents Such a Problem?

What Are The Special Laws For Truck Drivers?

A man driving a commercial truckSpecial laws for truck drivers include driving time limits, no tampering with recording devices, no alcohol or drug consumption while driving, and mandatory drug and alcohol testing.

These laws are designed to promote the safety of truck drivers and other road users by reducing the potential for accidents caused by driver fatigue, impairment, or other factors.

"Federal law requires supervisors of commercial truck drivers to take 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of alcohol abuse and another 60 minutes of training on the symptoms of controlled substances use. "-Brian Wallace, Attorney at Foster Wallace Law Firm.

What Is The Impact Of Violating FMCSA's Rules On Truck Accident Cases?

The impact of violating FMCSA rules on truck accident cases can be significant. Violations of the regulations can lead to hefty fines, suspension of operating authority, and even criminal charges against those found responsible for triggering an accident, depending on the severity of the violation and the outcome of the crash.

How Can I Prove That a Truck Driver Broke the Law?

A commercial truck on a highway

You can prove that a truck driver broke the law by gathering evidence to support your claim.

This may include:

  • Obtaining records from the trucking company
  • Speaking with witnesses
  • Consult an experienced truck accident attorney who can help you navigate the complex legal landscape and obtain the compensation you deserve.


What Organization Regulates Safety Compliance In US Trucking?

The organization that regulates safety compliance in U.S. trucking is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

What Is The 10-Hour Rule?

The 10-hour rule is a safety regulation that stipulates truck drivers are not permitted to drive for more than 10 hours without taking a break.

What Are The Regulations That Govern Vehicle Safety?

Regulations that govern vehicle safety include the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the rules outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for commercial motor vehicles.

Have You Been Injured In A Truck Accident? Contact An Attorney Today

Truck accident cases can be complex, involving multiple parties and various state and federal regulations.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is crucial to seek the help of an experienced truck accident attorney who can guide you through filing a claim and obtaining the compensation you deserve.

An attorney at Schmidt & Clark, LLP can help you navigate this legal landscape, gather evidence, and represent your best interests in negotiations with insurance companies or in court. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and protect your rights.