Like any other sector, the US trucking industry is governed by both state and federal laws that should be followed by all trucking companies as well as their drivers. Besides many other things, these trucking laws help determine who is at fault in the case of a truck accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the US Department of Transportation are the two major federal bodies that set regulations for this sector. Moreover, all the states in the United States have their own transportation departments that define rules for commercial trucking within a particular state.
If your truck accident involves the driver of a semi-trailer, trailer, or any other large commercial vehicle who did not follow a pertinent state or federal trucking law at the time of the accident, they or their company could be held responsible for your damage. Here are some laws that truck drivers are expected to abide by in nearly every state:
- Commercial Drivers’ Licensing: Large truck drivers should follow the state regulations case law related to commercial drivers’ licensing. If the driver, who is involved in your accident, lacks a proper license (they may have an expired one), this might work in your favor and against the driver or their company. Your New Orleans truck accident lawyer could help you determine whether the driver involved in the accident holds a genuine license or not.
- Duration of Rest for Drivers: The time for which a truck driver is allowed to operate their vehicle without any break or taking rest is also regulated by some specific laws. This is collectively known as “hours of service”.
- Maximum Permissible Weight: The permissible weight that a truck could carry depends on its size. For instance, 2-axle trucks are permitted to carry loads measuring up to 34,000 lb., whereas single axle trucks have 20,000 lb as the prescribed limit. Overloading is not just against the laws but risky too. Therefore, finding what the truck was carrying and what the weight of the material was at the time of the accident might give a favorable twist to your truck accident case.
- Quality Control of Vehicle: With respect to manufacturing as well as repair, commercial trucks are governed by both federal and state laws. For instance, there are laws pertaining to the air brake system of vehicles. In case the faulty truck or any of its components is found to be responsible for the accident, your New Orleans truck and motorcycle accident lawyer can file a claim against the trucking company, truck manufacturer, or repairer on your behalf. Such cases are covered under the ‘product liability’ legal theory.
- Hazardous Waste: The safety regulations for transporting hazardous materials have been issued by the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS). If the driver did not follow the laws related to transporting hazardous materials, which eventually led to the accident, you can consult your truck accident attorney to learn the process of filing a claim against the driver or their employer.
Not following any of the above laws can land a truck driver in the United States in serious trouble. For further assistance, get in touch with the New Orleans trucking accident attorneys at the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess.