Improving Road Safety with Federal Regulations: Understanding Liability in Truck Accident Cases

Commercial truck drivers are held to stringent federal and state standards to ensure everyone’s safety on the road.  When catastrophic accidents happen, many times it’s because the truck drivers have violated these regulations. Federal regulations play a huge  role in the investigation of commercial truck accidents.  If the company involved in the accident broke these laws- by cutting corners or just by sheer negligence- they are likely to be at fault and liable for the accident.

Accident victims or their loved ones must familiarize themselves with the importance of commercial vehicle regulations.  Once it’s understood how much is involved, the interested parties will see how much an experienced truck attorney can help them receive the compensation they deserve.

How Commercial Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents

A crucial difference when comparing car and commercial vehicle accidents is that individual drivers are held entirely responsible if proven guilty. With commercial truck accidents, it’s often the negligence of adhering to federal regulations by transportation companies which makes them susceptible to substantial  settlements.

Understanding this is essential in hiring an attorney who knows the specific truck regulations and is experienced in holding the trucking companies at fault accountable. Why? When pursuing compensation after a commercial vehicle  accident, going up against a company can be much more challenging than going up against an individual. Commercial companies often have many resources and may invest heavily in legal support to avoid paying out personal injury settlements.

Dealing with insurance adjusters from trucking companies can be very difficult. This is why having quality legal representation is crucial if you want to have any chance of receiving fair compensation.

Federal Laws for Truck Drivers

The additional regulations that are issued for commercial trucks and commercial truck drivers are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA, part of the Department of Transportation). Examples are below.

Driver Qualifications

Drivers must be at least 21 years old according to FMCSA rules. However, they only need to be 18 to drive within their state; age restrictions on intrastate travel vary from state to state. To obtain the CDL, truck drivers must possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and pass vision and medical exams.  These requirements have to be updated every two years. The DMV must have these records on hand. Truck drivers must be able to speak and read English.

Hours of Service

Another critical  regulation regards the hours of service that truckers can work. Truck drivers can work up to 11 hours within 14 hours as long as they have had at least 10 hours off duty before starting their shift. Moreover, depending on the company’s regulations, drivers should not work beyond sixty hours spread across seven days or seventy hours spread across eight days. Drivers must maintain electronic records regarding their working hours. 

Truck Inspections

The FMCSA mandates that truck drivers inspect their vehicles at the end of every workday and maintain a written report containing details of any broken parts or mechanical issues affecting the truck’s operation.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

All trucking companies are bound by law to conduct drug tests while hiring individuals for driving duties in addition to this requirement. The FMCSA stipulates that these companies must routinely subject their drivers to random checks concerning substance abuse. Furthermore, an accident that leads to severe harm or death necessitates further testing of its involved driver.

Why Federal Regulations Are So Important for Your Case

It’s worth noting that federal regulations greatly influence your accident case’s outcome.  For example, in typical cases involving car accidents, your lawyer must establish evidence indicating that the opposing driver failed to protect the other person’s safety. A breach of driver responsibility could take many forms- for example, traffic violations or careless driving, like talking on a cell phone or driving aggressively. 

Since truck drivers need to adhere to a stricter set of federal rules, you have more ways available through litigation regarding liability claims. These can stem from any potential misdeeds revealed from the driver logs.

Nevada State Regulations for Truck Drivers

Throughout the US, federal laws regulate the operation of commercial trucks. However, individual states such as Nevada also create their own laws. 

Even though a driver can obtain their CDL at age 21, in Nevada, they need to be 25 to drive a truck longer than 70 feet. 

In Nevada, truck drivers must be 21 years old to drive across state lines. If they’re 18, drivers can travel within state lines. Drivers cannot exceed 65 miles per hour anywhere in the state.

Since severe consequences may occur with commercial vehicles, weight, and size restrictions form crucial factors for attorneys when examining evidence.  In Nevada, it is mandatory not to exceed twenty-thousand pounds on a single axle or surpass thirty-four thousand pounds on double-axle combinations while retaining an overall cap of eighty-thousand pounds. Furthermore, truck length cannot extend beyond seventy-five feet overall under any circumstances according to regulations outlined explicitly  by the state government authorities concerned over transportation measures on their highways.

Arizona State Regulations for Truck Drivers

Arizona’s state regulations align closely with federal regulations. Like Nevada, truck drivers must be 21 years old to drive the truck across state lines, but they can only travel within state lines at age 18. Drivers cannot exceed 65 miles per hour anywhere in Arizona.

The weight limit on a single axle in Arizona is 20,000 pounds, and the maximum weight for five axles is 80,000 pounds. The overall length of the truck can not exceed 65 feet. However, there are certain exceptions to this law. For example, the state allows trucks of longer sizes  to travel on the National Network highways, which are federally designated trucking routes.

How an Attorney Can Help

Truck accidents are incredibly dangerous situations to find oneself in due to their impact size compared to personal vehicles. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision with one of these commercial-sized trucks, damages incurred physically or financially can be significant. In these scenarios, there is very much at stake personally; one needs adequate representation from skilled lawyers well-versed in this field. 

You may also struggle while managing physical trauma from sustained injuries after the accident.  On top of that- navigating legal complications by yourself with the truck’s  insurance company who will stop at nothing to dodge responsibility, which puts you at a severe  disadvantage.

Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys are knowledgeable legal representatives with a reputation for assisting clients with results-driven resolutions regarding truck accidents and their aftermath. If you’ve found yourself enduring damages in Arizona or Nevada, contact us without delay for closure and rightful reimbursement.