Were you hurt in a crash with a large truck? If you believe a commercial truck driver or trucking company is at fault for your injuries, talk with a lawyer right away. Truck accident claims are tough. The trucking company and its insurer have the upper hand. They’ll inspect the aftermath of the collision right away. They know the ins and outs of the law and their insurance coverage. It’s up to you to hire an experienced attorney who can investigate the crash on your behalf and fight for fair compensation.
Our team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. are well-versed in Illinois and federal trucking regulations. We take an in-depth look into the crash, the trucker, the trucking company, and any other parties involved to see if they’re responsible for one or more regulatory violations and negligence. To learn more about state and federal trucking regulations and how to identify a violation, call us at (312) 236-2900 or use our online form. We offer free consultations.
The FMCSA was created by the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. It’s a separate agency from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The purpose of the FMCSA is to lower the number of large truck and bus accidents and the injuries and fatalities they cause. To further this mission, the FMCSA creates and enforces commercial trucking regulations.
The FMCSA dictates how large and heavy commercial trucks and buses can be. States also have limits. When a truck is going to be over-sized because of its cargo, this becomes a state or local issue. The Illinois Department of Transportation also has regulations on how large trucks can be.
Some of the most controversial FMCSA regulations are hours of service limits. These rules dictate how long truckers can work in a given period, such as during one workday and a workweek. Drivers can operate a vehicle up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off or up to 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off. Drivers can’t drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after they come on duty, though. For a workweek, they can drive 60 or 70 hours over 7 or 8 consecutive days. A driver can restart a new work week after 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
December 2019 was the deadline for all fleets to switch to ELD’s to log their drivers’ hours of service.
The regulations specifically say all motor carriers and intermodal equipment providers have to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all of their vehicles and equipment. Everything needs to be in safe and proper working order at all times.
The FMCSA dictates when truck drivers and companies must inspect their vehicles. Drivers are required to fill out driver vehicle inspection reports at the end of each workday. There’s a long list of each part of the truck or bus driver needs to inspect for wear and tear or more significant damage. The driver also has to inspect the vehicle before started a new haul or route. They must be confident the vehicle is in safe working order and sign off on the previous driver’s vehicle inspection report.
The FMCSA dictates how much insurance motor carriers must have depending on the type of cargo and weight. For example, non-hazardous freight in a vehicle weighing less than 10,001 lbs. must be insured for at least $300,000. Other shipments, depending on the commodity and their weight, have to be insured for between $750,000 and $5 million. Passenger vehicles also require significant insurance limits.
FMCSA regulations define what constitutes hazardous materials, how they must be safely transported, and the warnings the commercial vehicles should have when carrying hazmat.
The FMCSA has rules on pre-employment, post-accident, random, reasonable suspicion, and return-to-duty testing for alcohol and controlled substances. Drivers aren’t allowed to drink alcohol while on duty, and they can’t perform safety-sensitive functions without four hours of drinking.
As of January 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is open. This is an online database of drivers who aren’t allowed to operate trucks or perform other safety-sensitive functions because of a drug or alcohol violation.
If a driver is caught with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, they’ll be charged with a DUI. A DUI conviction leads to the loss of the driver’s license for a time.
Illinois is in charge of when and how you can get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or additional endorsements for your CDL. Endorsements are special requirements for certain types of vehicles. An endorsement shows the truck driver has the knowledge and skills necessary to operate that vehicle safely. To get a license, drivers are expected to pass a knowledge and skills test.
Commercial vehicles driving through Illinois have to adhere to Illinois’ Bridge Formula, which determines the maximum allowed weight for vehicles on Illinois highways. There also are maximum dimensions and weights depending on the class of the vehicle. An oversized or overweight truck needs to get a permit from IDOT before it can hit the road.
Illinois, like all states, requires trucks that are going to do business in the state to register here. A motor carrier that works only in Illinois will register here exclusively. Other trucking companies will obtain apportioned plates under the International Registration Plan, which allows them to travel throughout several states.
The federal and state trucking regulations above are only a small sample of all the rules trucking companies and drivers need to follow. Violating one or more of these regulations means defective trucks and unqualified drivers might be on the road. It’s negligence, and it’s dangerous. After you’re hurt or lose a loved one in a trucking accident, it’s crucial you have an experienced attorney thoroughly investigate the accident and look for violations of state or federal trucking regulations. Evidence of violations can help you establish a personal injury or wrongful death claim and win compensation. Use our online form or call (312) 236-2900 to learn more from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.
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