The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a division of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and is the body that governs big trucks and their drivers. Truckers are required to follow the rules put out by this administration while they are working. There are times when the details of a truck accident may seem confusions since truck drivers are technically regulated but not only the FMCSA, but also state laws. If you have been in an accident with a big truck of any kind, these regulations will likely play a big part in how your case is handled.
There are many things that the FMCSA regulates. If you have been in an accident with a big truck, it’s important to hire an attorney that will not only know how the court will interpret these laws, but how opposing lawyers may argue that these laws relate to your case. Some of the FMCSA regulations include the following.
- Driver qualifications. There are several qualifications when it comes to driving a big truck. The FMCSA states that all drivers must be at least 21, be proficient in English, and possess a commercial driver’s license.
- Inspection, maintenance, and repair. The FMCSA has specific guidelines when it comes to how often big rigs are to be inspected, repaired, and maintained. These things must be performed routinely for a big truck out on the road.
- Minimum insurance coverage. Trucking companies are required to hold a higher amount of minimum insurance coverage than regular passenger vehicles. This is an indication of their higher level of financial responsibility. Because accidents involving big trucks are usually more destructive and disastrous, the higher minimum coverage is needed. The actual minimums may vary depending on things such as cargo load or distance driven.
- Fitness and safety. The FMCSA considers the safety of big trucks to be an indication of their fitness. The FMCSA will give a review of a truck before issuing a rating. This rating will determine if it’s safe enough to be allowed on public roads. If a truck is deemed unsafe, the FMCSA will direct the driver or truck company on how to improve the safety issues that were found.
- The hours of driving and keeping records. Per federal regulations, drivers are only allowed to drive so many hours per day. Additionally, there are required to take breaks after so many hours of driving. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences. Drivers are also required by law to keep detailed records of their driving hours.
If you have been in an accident with a commercial truck, be sure to contact a qualified truck accident lawyer in Staunton, VA to discuss your options.
Thanks to MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and federal regulations for big trucks.