About the Rules Governing the Trucking Industry
The commercial trucking industry is regulated to mitigate the number of accidents involving large trucks. There are many different rules, each aimed to manage some type of hazard or risk particular to this industry. Some of the most prominent trucking regulations include:
- Hours of Service Regulations to combat tired driving
- Size and weight limits to combat accidents caused by overloading
- Special speed limits for trucks to combat speeding related accidents
- Commercial driver’s license requirements to ensure specialized training for truckers
Hours of Service
“Hours of Service” refers to the amount of time truckers are allowed to operate commercial motor vehicles before they have to stop and take a resting break. Truckers can face pressure from their employers to deliver their cargo under harsh time constraints, which might tempt them to forego these mandated breaks. Truckers and their employers might also manipulate their logs, which are the formal records of drive time and resting breaks.
Size and Weight Limits
If you’ve ever seen a weigh station off the side of the highway or freeway, one of its purposes is to ensure that commercial trucks do not exceed federal size and weight limits. Oversized loads are allowed, but they must be designated as such and be treated with the necessary warning signs. Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks can cause serious accidents because they make it more difficult for truckers to brake, and they can also contribute to jackknife accidents.
Truck Speed Limits
Commercial trucks are subject to different speed limits than passenger vehicles in many states, although in Tennessee, that limit is the same for trucks and autos (70mph). Speed limits for hazmat trucks may also differ. For example, Alabama’s trucking speed limit is 70mph, but drops to 55mphfor hazmat haulers.
Commercial Driver’s License
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is different than a class C driver’s license (for drivers of passenger vehicles). One common area of liability for employers involves CDLs. If a company hires a driver without the proper credentials, that company can be held liable for any accidents that driver causes.
Why These Regulations Matter For You
Throughout the course of your life, there is no real reason for you to need to know these trucking regulations. However, if you or a loved one was involved in an accident, these regulations play an important role. If the accident you were involved in happened because a trucker or trucking company violated one of these federal regulations, you can take action.
The Memphis truck accident attorneys at Reaves Law Firm are here for you. We can evaluate the nature of your case and determine who was at fault in your accident. Because we have insurance defense experience, we know how the other side thinks, which can be to your benefit in a trucking accident case.