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Chapter Five Federal Trucking Regulations: Violations For Which a Truck Driver and His Company May Be Liable

“Win Your Truck Crash Case And Avoid The Surprises That Can Wreck It”

Now that I’ve discussed a few of the legal theories you can pursue in your truck crash case, I want to familiarize you with the federal laws and regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow. This chapter is intended to provide an overview of major federal regulations that apply to all truck drivers and trucking companies. The regulations I discuss below are designed to increase safety in the trucking industry. It is only once these rules of the road are violated that you have a claim for negligence against the truck driver and trucking company.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has passed many trucking laws and regulations in an effort to promote safety in the trucking industry. Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations provides the laws and regulations that govern the entire trucking industry in the United States. These regulations can be found at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations. This chapter will discuss the major points of the federal trucking laws and regulations.

Licensing Requirements

Part 383 of the Code of Federal Regulations provides licensing requirements for truck drivers, as well as penalties for violating those requirements. Part 383 only allows truck drivers to have one driver’s license issued by their home state. The truck driver’s license will only be issued after the truck driver has successfully passed knowledge and skills tests. Hazmat carriers who transport hazardous materials are usually required to successfully complete additional tests before receiving a valid license.

When investigating your case, Burger Law always checks to make sure the truck driver had the appropriate licensing to operate their truck. If the truck driver was not licensed properly, Burger Law can point to this as evidence of negligence.

Special Training and Physical Requirements

Federal regulations require truck drivers to complete special training and pass physical examinations every two years. Part 382 prohibits truck drivers from reporting to work with a blood alcohol level of 0.02 or more. Part 382 also forbids truck drivers from carrying alcohol while driving, unless alcohol is part of the cargo. Truck drivers may not have alcohol or drugs that can impair driving abilities in the eight hours prior to a driving shift.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime. Truck drivers who operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs kill and seriously injure people. We investigate these claims very aggressively and get proof of the intoxication at the outset. WE get the evidence we need to present intoxication to the court – as sometimes prosecutors cut plea deals with drunk or intoxicated drivers and it can be hard to get that evidence later. If a impaired truck driver causes a crash, they, and the truck company, can be liable for punitive damages, which obviously increases the value of the case. We investigate all aspects of truck crashes – which includes investigating whether the truck driver was impaired by alcohol in violation of Part 382 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Remember that post-crash testing is required:

Each employer is required to test each surviving driver for alcohol and controlled substances as soon as practicable following an accident as required by §382.303.

Hours of Service

The FMCSA has implemented new hours of service rules due to the rise in truck accidents resulting from driver fatigue. The new hours of service laws provide that truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours in a workday of 14 hours maximum. Following these shifts, truck drivers are required to take a minimum of 10 hours off duty. Truckers must keep log books of the time spent at work and behind the wheel.

When we litigate these cases, we obtain truck log books and employment records to ensure that the truck driver did not work more hours than permitted by the hours-of- service rules. If the truck driver worked excessive hours or failed to properly log their hours, Burger Law will use this evidence to bolster your case.

An example of the Driver’s Log and Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report truck drivers are required to complete.

We have used other methods to track hours too. Many trucks now have GPS or have central dispatch facilities that track their driving. We can get that GPS data and assess for hours-of-service violations or speed. When a truck driver violates the hours-of-service laws that constitutes a federal regulation violation and is good evidence of negligence. This also often shows a systemic problem with the trucking company – the driver and his company are driving tired and dangerous.

Regulations on Trucks and Trucking Companies

The FMCSA has passed regulations related to securing cargo and heavy loads to make the cargo more secure and reduce the chances of it becoming loose or falling off the truck. These regulations include provisions for tying down cargo and using securing devices. In addition, all trucks must display certain markings on the vehicle, including USDOT numbers and Hazmat markings, among others.

The FMCSA has also passed regulations that govern trucking companies and hazardous material carriers. These regulations include complying with USDOT safety rules by trucking companies, unfit carrier rules, hours of service logbook rules for companies, hazardous material rules, State Hazmat permission and registration procedures, and others.

As previously mentioned in Chapter 2, Burger Law can help you recover compensation not just from the truck driver, but from the trucking company as well. Burger Law always conducts a detailed investigation into the policies and procedures of the trucking company to make sure no negligent action goes undiscovered. If the trucking company failed to comply with the safety rules mentioned above and that failure contributed to your injuries, Burger Law will expose the failure and use it against the trucking company in your case.

Electronic Code of Federal Trucking Regulations

The bulk of federal regulations concerning tractor trailers can be accessed through the following index:


SUBCHAPTER B–FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS

Section Subsection Title
300-302 [RESERVED]
303 303.1 to 303.3 CIVIL RIGHTS
325 325.1 to 325.93 COMPLIANCE WITH INTERSTATE MOTOR CARRIER NOISE EMISSION STANDARDS
350 350.101 to 350.417 MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MCSAP) AND HIGH PRIORITY PROGRAM
355 RESERVED
356 356.1 to 356.5 MOTOR CARRIER ROUTING REGULATIONS
360 360.1 to 360.51 FEES FOR MOTOR CARRIER REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE
365 365.101 to 365.511 RULES GOVERNING APPLICATIONS FOR OPERATING AUTHORITY
366 366.1 to 366.6T DESIGNATION OF PROCESS AGENT
367 367.20 to 367.60 STANDARDS FOR REGISTRATION WITH STATES
368 368.1 to 368.8T APPLICATION FOR A CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION TO OPERATE IN MUNICIPALITIES IN THE UNITED STATES ON THE UNITED STATES-MEXICO INTERNATIONAL BORDER OR WITHIN THE COMMERCIAL ZONES OF SUCH MUNICIPALITIES
369 369.1 to 369.10 REPORTS OF MOTOR CARRIERS
370 370.1 to 370.11 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES FOR THE INVESTIGATION AND VOLUNTARY DISPOSITION OF LOSS AND DAMAGE CLAIMS AND PROCESSING SALVAGE
371 371.1 to 371.121 BROKERS OF PROPERTY
372 372.101 to 372.303 EXEMPTIONS, COMMERCIAL ZONES, AND TERMINAL AREAS
373 373.100 to 373.201 RECEIPTS AND BILLS
374 374.1 to 374.505 PASSENGER CARRIER REGULATIONS
375 375.101 to 375.901 TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE; CONSUMER PROTECTION REGULATIONS
376 376.1 to 376.42 LEASE AND INTERCHANGE OF VEHICLES
377 377.101 to 377.217 PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES
378.1 to 378.9 PROCEDURES GOVERNING THE PROCESSING, INVESTIGATION, AND DISPOSITION OF OVERCHARGE, DUPLICATE PAYMENT, OR OVERCOLLECTION CLAIMS
379 379.1 to 379.13 PRESERVATION OF RECORDS
380 380.101 to 380.725 SPECIAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
381 381.100 to 381.600 WAIVERS, EXEMPTIONS, AND PILOT PROGRAMS
382 382.101 to 382.727 CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES AND ALCOHOL USE AND TESTING
383 383.1 to 383.155 COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE STANDARDS; REQUIREMENTS AND PENALTIES
384 384.101 to 384.409 STATE COMPLIANCE WITH COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE PROGRAM
385 385.1 to 385.1019 SAFETY FITNESS PROCEDURES
386 386.1 to 386.84 RULES OF PRACTICE FOR FMCSA PROCEEDINGS
387 387.1 to 387.419T MINIMUM LEVELS OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MOTOR CARRIERS
388 [RESERVED]
389 389.1 to 389.39 RULEMAKING PROCEDURES–FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS
390 390.1 to 390.403 FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS; GENERAL
391 391.1 to 391.71 QUALIFICATIONS OF DRIVERS AND LONGER COMBINATION VEHICLE (LCV) DRIVER INSTRUCTORS
392 392.1 to 392.82 DRIVING OF COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES
393 393.1 to 393.209 PARTS AND ACCESSORIES NECESSARY FOR SAFE OPERATION
394 RESERVED
395 395.1 to 395.38 HOURS OF SERVICE OF DRIVERS
396 INSPECTION, REPAIR, AND MAINTENANCE
397 397.1 to 397.225 TRANSPORTATION OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS; DRIVING AND PARKING RULES
398 398.1 to 398.8 TRANSPORTATION OF MIGRANT WORKERS
399 399.201 to 399.211 EMPLOYEE SAFETY AND HEALTH STANDARDS
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