Many regulations exist to help prevent trucking accidents and injuries. Trucks come in all shapes and sizes. However, the most common truck on this highway is the 18-wheeler, also called a semi-truck or tractor-trailer. Statistics show astonishing numbers of trucks crashing with cars on our roads. This article highlights some of the regulations applying to large trucks, their drivers, and the companies that own them. It further discusses how a good lawyer can apply these rules to hold truckers liable for injuries they cause.
Regulatory Agencies for Trucking Industry
The number of injuries and fatalities on America’s roads increased with the growth of the trucking industry. The state and federal legislatures created agencies to help protect public safety on our roads. The trucking regulators and law enforcement agencies include:
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- Department of Transportation (DOT)
- State Motor Vehicle Laws
- State and Local Police
These public officials work together to enforce regulations violated by truck owners and operators. Regulators create regulations. The police catch and cite violations. And judges apply the laws to hold lawbreakers accountable.
Regulations Applying to Trucks
Because trucking companies are engaged in transportation across the country, the federal government created agencies to design and enforce trucking regulations. Accordingly, some of these trucking regulations include:
- FMCSA minimum standards for commercial vehicle operators, including requirements for driver qualifications, vehicle maintenance, and hours of service.
- DOT standards for the construction and maintenance of commercial vehicles, and the transportation of hazardous materials.
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements.
- Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations to comply with hours-of-service regulations.
- Cargo securement rules.
- Regular vehicle inspections.
Various regulators and state law enforcement agencies enforce these regulations. The regulations are designed to help improve safety on the roads by reducing the number of crashes involving 18-wheelers.
How Good Lawyers Apply Trucking Laws
Experienced lawyers know taking on trucking companies requires not only knowledge of the laws that apply to trucking but also have sufficient financial resources necessary to support high stakes litigation against trucking defendants. Moreover, lawyers apply the rules of the road when taking deposition testimony of the trucking company and the driver to show that the regulations were not followed.
Regulatory violations show breaches of legal duties owed to protect the public. A good lawyer identifies these. A great lawyer creatively applies the violations to tell a story of negligent and reckless conduct that caused serious injury. If this is done right, insurance companies often pay the clients of these lawyers without the need for trial. When insurance won’t pay, judges and juries can award many millions of dollars in compensation to the victims of bad truckers. Therefore, injured victims must find a well-funded lawyer with trucking accident knowledge and experience to maximize their recovery.