Trucking is a highly regulated industry. A truck’s size and weight make this vehicle a hazard on the highway, so the federal government has developed a series of laws and regulations to promote safety. However, many companies and drivers do not abide by these standards, contributing to a high rate of tractor-trailer collisions.
If a wreck involving a commercial truck injured you or a family member, consult a local accident attorney. Showing a trucker or their employer violated federal trucking laws in Memphis is one way to demonstrate negligence. A legal professional could gather evidence of this negligence to secure financial compensation for your losses.
Non-Compliance with Regulations Indicates Negligence
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the regulatory body that governs the trucking industry. It collects data from trucking companies, manufacturers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to formulate regulations. The FMCSA publishes its regulations in the Code of Federal Rules Part 49, Sections 300-399.
Violating these regulations may subject a truck driver to sanctions, which could include fines, vehicle impoundment, and the loss of the right to drive a truck or operate a trucking company. In addition, failing to adhere to published regulations could be negligence per se, meaning an attorney would only need to establish a violation of these rules to prove negligence in a civil injury claim.
An injury lawyer in Memphis could investigate a crash to determine whether a truck driver or trucking company was compliant with all applicable federal regulations. They could also search FMCSA’s records to find out if the driver or company has a history of violations, as any evidence of non-compliance could lead to liability for a truck crash.
Truck Drivers Must Comply with Strict Rules
Federal laws stipulate that truckers in Memphis must hold commercial driving licenses (CDL), which require significant training. Specific laws apply to CDL holders. For example, although a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 is the legal limit for most drivers, this limit is 0.04 for drivers with a CDL–even when they are driving their personal vehicles.
Drivers must also follow working hours rules to prevent accidents caused by fatigue. Long-haul truckers may not drive more than 11 hours in a 14-hour window after having 10 hours off-duty. They also cannot be on duty more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. Drivers must keep a log of their working hours, which an attorney could examine after an accident.
Truck drivers must follow the same rules of the road as other drivers, although the speed limit for trucks is typically lower than for other vehicles on some highways. Any moving violation, such as speeding or a careless lane change, is evidence of negligence that could trigger liability for both the driver and their employer.
Federal Regulations Also Apply to Trucking Companies
State and federal laws limit how large and heavy a truck can be. On interstate highways, the largest trucks cannot weigh more than 80,000 pounds when fully loaded unless they have a state permit. The specific weight a truck can legally carry depends on the number of axles it has.
Balancing and securing the cargo while loading a truck requires skill and expertise. A truck that is too heavy will not perform properly–tires might blow out, brakes could fail, and steering could become distorted if the truck is overloaded. An unbalanced or poorly secured cargo could shift, causing a jackknife or rollover accident.
Regulations also require regular truck inspection and maintenance. A Memphis attorney could subpoena a truck’s maintenance records to ensure the owner inspected the truck as required, replaced worn components promptly, and otherwise kept the truck in safe operating condition per federal standards. Trucks also must have a data recorder, and a legal professional can compare this data with records the company provides to determine whether these records are accurate.
Hold a Trucking Company Accountable for Federal Law Violations with a Memphis Attorney
Federal trucking laws in Memphis are supposed to keep people safe. Unfortunately, not every trucking company or truck driver complies with these regulations.
Holding negligent trucking companies and drivers accountable is crucial. Not only does taking legal action provide financial compensation to an injured person and their family, but it motivates the industry to comply with safety regulations. If you or a family member was injured in a tractor-trailer collision, contact a dedicated injury lawyer at the Law Office of David E. Gordon.