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Everything You Need To Know About the Federal Trucking Regulations


Missouri Truck Accident Specialists

If you need information about compliance with federal trucking regulations, Buchanan Williams & O’Brien is the right law firm for you. Call us for more information.

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What Are the Federal Trucking Regulations?

The federal trucking regulations in the US were made to govern the interstate movement of commercial motor vehicles in the US and establish safety measures for trucking companies and truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency under the Department of Transportation, administers the regulations.

Non-compliance with the rules can lead to serious liability and penalties. Hence, everyone in the trucking industry needs to be aware of them.

As a truck driver, knowing these regulations can also help you understand your employer’s obligations to provide a safe working environment. This knowledge is important as it can help you gauge the extent of your employer’s liability for compensation if you suffered a trucking accident due to their actions or inactions.

Below we discuss critical areas of the regulations to keep you informed about some of the safety obligations for you and your trucking company. Read on to learn more.


Scope of the FMCSA Regulations

The regulations cover commodity and passenger trucks that meet the following requirements:

  • Combination trucks with a gross vehicle weight of at least 10000 pounds or a minimum gross combination weight of 260001 pounds
  • Heavy straight vehicles weighing at least 260001 pounds
  • Small vehicles that are designed to transport 16 passengers or more or used to transport hazardous materials.

If you drive a commercial vehicle that belongs to any of these categories, then these regulations apply to you and your employer. If you have doubts about whether the rules apply to you, you can confirm the vehicle’s weight from your employer or speak with a trucking attorney who understands how the rules work.

What Are the Federal Trucking Regulations sec

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Regulation of Driving Hours

As a truck driver, there’s a limit to the number of hours you can spend on the road at a stretch. The law prescribes specific hours of service for different kinds of truck drivers, which they cannot exceed unless in emergency conditions. The FMCSA also requires all commercial trucks to install electronic logging devices, such as commercial truck black boxes, to track service hours, among other functions.

These rules exist to prevent driver fatigue and reduce the rate of devastating truck accidents across the U.S. As such, it is illegal for a trucking company to compel you to drive beyond the legally approved hours for your vehicle. If you’re facing such a situation or need personalized information about your approved hours, do not hesitate to contact a trucking attorney to explain your rights and options.


Annual Vehicle Inspection and Repairs

Every motor carrier or trucking company must routinely inspect, maintain and repair their commercial vehicles so that they are in safe working conditions at all times. This inspection must be carried out every 12 months. Any truck that does not pass the inspection shouldn’t be out on the road.

If you’ve been compelled to drive a truck that has not been inspected or failed to pass inspection, and you sustained an accident in the process, you can get compensation for your injuries. Contact a Truck Accident Attorney to learn your options and determine the proper course of action for your case.


Equipment Inspection by Truck Drivers

As a truck driver, you also have certain obligations under the law, including inspecting vehicle parts, components, or accessories before you begin a trip. Some of the parts you must check include the following:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections.
  • Parking (hand) brake.
  • Steering mechanism.
  • Lighting devices and reflectors.
  • Tires.
  • Horn.
  • Windshield wiper or wipers.
  • Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.
  • Coupling devices.
  • Wheels and rims.

If you notice any part of the vehicle is faulty during your inspection, please do not drive the vehicle until it is fixed.


Cargo Security and Distribution

Another obligation you have under these regulations relates to the loading and security of cargo. You must ensure that the following conditions are met before you drive any truck:

  • The cargo is properly distributed across the truck
  • The tailgate, tailboard, doors, tarpaulin, and other cargo fastening devices are in place
  • The cargo does not obstruct your view from the driver’s seat or movement in any way.

If these conditions are not met, please do not drive the vehicle until the necessary adjustments are made. Poorly loaded or distributed cargo can make the truck unbalanced and cause trucking accidents. Hence it is illegal for the trucking company to compel you to drive a vehicle that does not comply with the loading regulations.


Driving Schedules and Speed Limits

Trucking companies are also prohibited from scheduling or allowing a trip that can only be completed within the allotted time by exceeding state or federal speed limits along the route. Companies must allow truck drivers sufficient time to complete runs without overspeeding. Otherwise, they could be liable if any accident occurs as a result.


Impaired Driving Regulations

Trucking companies must not permit drivers who are ill, exhausted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol to operate a vehicle. If any of these conditions apply, please inform your employer immediately. It is illegal for them to compel you to drive when your ability or alertness is impaired.

How Do the Federal Regulations Apply in Missouri?

The federal regulations apply to interstate travel across the states. But commercial motor vehicle operators are also required to comply with the state laws where they operate. As such, truck drivers and companies operating in or out of Missouri or any other state must comply with the state trucking laws. However, if the FMCSA regulations impose a higher standard than state law on a specific issue, then the federal regulations would supersede state law in that regard.

How an Attorney Can Help

There are many rules under the FMCSA federal trucking regulations, and it may be difficult for those involved to keep track of their legal obligations.

Still, compliance is compulsory, and any stakeholder who fails to comply may face severe penalties. Trucking companies may lose their trucking licenses. Truck drivers may also lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL). Experienced lawyers for truck drivers can explain your duties under federal and state regulations to help you avoid liability.

In the unfortunate event that you’re a victim of a truck accident, particularly due to your employer’s disregard for federal trucking or other regulations, truck accident attorneys are there to assist you. They will diligently work to secure the compensation you are legally entitled to, either from your employer or their insurance company.

How Do the Federal Regulations Apply in Missouri

Confused about truck accidents in Missouri? We are here to answer your questions.

Get Help From Reputable Attorneys for Truck Drivers in Missouri

If you have further concerns about trucking regulations or you’ve been involved in a trucking accident and need assistance with the compensation process, do not hesitate to contact us at the law firm of Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien.

We understand the challenges injured truck drivers face when dealing with uncooperative employers and insurance companies. Our skilled truck accident attorneys are here to fight for you and ensure you are not cheated out of your entitlements. Please set up a consultation with us today to discuss your issues so we can determine a suitable strategy to move things forward.

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