The trucking industry in the United States is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Act, which was passed by the United States Congress. Additionally, some regulatory authority has been passed by Congress to the Department of Transportation.
If you were injured in a collision with a tractor-trailer, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. An experienced truck accident attorney could investigate the crash to see if the at-fault driver followed all applicable federal trucking laws and industry regulations. If they failed to comply, an attorney may be able to hold them accountable for your injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Act places significant limitations and regulations on truck drivers and trucking companies. For example, companies are required to complete checklists of pre-trip inspections, perform regular maintenance, and maintain extensive documentation. This documentation includes records of repairs, injuries, and employees’ prior accidents and criminal background checks.
Additionally, trucking companies must have substance abuse policies that apply to their employees. Additional regulations restrict the amount of time a driver can spend on the road each week and each shift. The Federal Motor Carrier Act and the guidelines that it prescribes are comprehensive.
Trucking companies have an obligation to uphold the standards prescribed by the Federal Motor Carrier Act. Furthermore, failure to comply with these regulations could create serious difficulties for a company. If a company has a bad rating, their insurer is going to charge them a much heftier premium. Additionally, the DOTD and other law enforcement agencies can issue tickets directly for failure to comply. The penalties for those can include fines, suspension of a vehicle’s use, or even suspension of business.
The insurance requirements under the Federal Motor Carrier Act vary depending on the purpose and weight of the vehicle. Different requirements apply to trucks that haul cargo versus those that carry passengers. For instance, a 16-passenger vehicle is required to have $5 million or more in liability insurance. Additionally, any truck weighing over 10,000 pounds is also required to have $5 million in insurance.
There are additional qualifications under the Federal Motor Carrier Act for the hauling of hazardous substances, which not only include additional insurance but also include additional precautions and regulations.
Trucking companies ensure compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Act regulations in several ways. For example, they may have truck drivers log on and log off when they are driving a truck to ensure the drivers do not exceed their daily or weekly maximum. Conducting substance abuse testing, both at random and after an accident, is another way employers enforce compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Act. Truck drivers doing pre-trip inspections on their automobiles is another common example of compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Act.
If you were hurt in a truck wreck, you may be eligible for compensation from the at-fault party. With the help of an experienced attorney, you could hold trucking companies and drivers accountable for their breaches of federal trucking laws and industry regulations. Call today to discuss your case.