Federal Trucking Regulations

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with a truck, you may be dealing with enormous physical and emotional harm as well as lost wages and other financial damages.

You need attorneys who have the knowledge and experience to handle the very specific issues raised by Irvine truck accidents.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has specific regulations about how many miles truck drivers can drive in certain time periods. It is very important to be represented by experienced truck accident lawyers who understand the federal trucking regulations that may affect your claim.

Fighting Fatigue

Several years ago, it became evident that trucking companies were pushing drivers to work longer and longer hours, with the result being driver fatigue that can cause accidents.

In 2013, the Transportation Department issued new federal regulations designed to improve safety for the motoring public by reducing truck driver fatigue.

The rules limit the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours to ensure that all truck operators have adequate rest.

Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers.

The federal government estimated that the new safety regulations in the trucking industry will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.

The final rule:

  • Limits the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours.
  • Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most – from 1-5 a.m.
  • Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.

The rule retains the previously existing 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day. Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rules could face the maximum penalties for each offense.

Drug Testing

Another big part of regulating trucking safety is making sure that drivers are not impaired by drugs or alcohol while they are on the job. Trucking companies are required to perform random drug testing of their drivers to make sure they are not affected by these substances while driving.

The Transportation Department has established a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse for commercial truck and bus drivers.

The clearinghouse database serves as a central repository containing records of violations of the drug and alcohol testing program by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders.

Motor carrier employers will be required to query the system for information concerning current or prospective employees who have unresolved violations of the federal drug and alcohol testing regulations that prohibit them from operating a commercial motor vehicle.  It also requires employers and medical review officers to report drug and alcohol testing program violations.

Other Issues

Other topics covered by federal trucking regulations include the amount of cargo that can be carried at one time – so that truck will be able to brake in time without hitting other vehicles – and the special precautions that must be taken when transporting hazardous materials.

Our attorneys know the kind of evidence that can be decisive in truck accident cases. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident in Irvine, don’t wait another day before getting the legal advice you need.