What Are the Regulations that Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies Must Follow?
The trucking industry is regulated by an organization called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This organization was established on Jan. 1, 2000, to reduce and prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries—especially those caused by big trucks. By implementing strict regulations for truck drivers, truck owners, and trucking companies, the organization improves driver training and the safety of trucks carrying heavy loads across the country.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Murfreesboro truck accident attorneys know that FMCSA help reduce the number of accidents caused by negligent truck drivers or truck companies. However, many drivers and truck companies bend or break the rules to increase their profits. If you were injured in a truck accident that may have been caused because of an FMCSA regulation violation, contact us today at (615) 200-1111 or fill out a free online form. We know Tennessee truck accident laws, and we can help you get compensation.
5 Important Regulations for the Trucking Industry
Although FMCSA regulations cover nearly every aspect of the industry, there are a few regulations that work directly to increase safety for both truck drivers and other motorists on the road:
- Driver licensing regulations
Driving a big truck is much more difficult than driving a standard passenger vehicle. Because driving 18-wheelers and semi-trucks requires intense concentration and driving ability, drivers are required to be fully licensed and approved to drive their trucks. Commercial driver licenses are the minimum requirement, while drivers who get behind the wheel of oversized trucks or trucks carrying hazardous materials often need additional certifications.
- Weight limit regulations
Trucks are designed to carry only a certain amount of weight at any given time. FMCSA regulations limit the amount of weight truck drivers are allowed to carry to decrease the likelihood of trucks becoming difficult or impossible to maneuver due to excess weight. These regulations also serve to dissuade truck drivers and trucking companies from overloading trucks to generate more profits.
- Maintenance and inspection regulations
Like any vehicle, trucks require frequent maintenance to operate at full capacity and remain safe on the road at all times. Trucks are required to undergo routine maintenance for all critical components, including brakes, steering systems, tires, lights, and more to prevent serious accidents while goods are in transit. Frequent inspections help make sure that all trucks on the road are safe to drive and don’t pose serious hazards to other motorists.
- Drug and alcohol use regulations
Truck drivers are subject to the same laws as other drivers when it comes to getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, truck drivers are also required to undergo random testing throughout the year even if they’ve never been cited for any accidents involving alcohol or drugs. Drivers who appear to be under the influence can also be subject to immediate drug testing.
- Rest and sleep schedule regulations
In an effort to maximize profits and minimize downtime, truck drivers are sometimes tempted to drive excessively long hours without sleeping or taking breaks. That puts them at risk of driving while drowsy or even falling asleep behind the wheel—both of which can have deadly consequences. To combat this, the FMCSA requires drivers to take regular breaks throughout their shifts and to never drive more than 11 hours in a 24-hour period all the way up to 70 hours in an eight-day period.