You drive by them every day. They are giant pieces of machinery! Fast! Heavy! Unpredictable!
Commercial motor vehicles are everywhere on our roadways, and most individuals who operate these pieces of equipment are safe. However, there are instances when operators and/or their companies fail to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, directly and proximately causing catastrophic results. These regulations are designed to help keep commercial drivers, along with everyone else on the road, safe.
An instance where regulations are not followed occur when trucking companies/drivers want to satisfy a demanding deadline. Here is what you should know about what trucking companies/drivers are permitted to do legally.
Hours of Service Regulations
Given the enormous size of commercial motor vehicles and the potential for catastrophic crashes, operators of said equipment must ensure they are well rested and able to operate said vehicles correctly/safely.
The FMCSR limit the number of hours a driver can operate a commercial motor vehicle daily/weekly. These regulations are dependent on whether the driver is transporting property, carrying passengers and/or whether they are in a 100-air mile radius.
For instance, a diver hauling property is required to be off duty/in sleeper berth for 10 consecutive hours before they can start driving for the day. A similar driver can be on duty for 14-hours a day, but only be driving for 11 hours.
There are various size restrictions that must be followed when it comes to the weight of the truck, as well as the width and length. Here are some of the things you should know about size restrictions.
·There are no federal length limits imposed on a national level regarding most truck operations, unless it is a combination vehicle designed to carry automobiles or boats. In this case, the length limits would be either 65 or 75 feet depending on the connection type.
·According to federal law, no state may impose length limitations of less than 48 feet in terms of trailer length.
·Vehicle width may not have a limitation of more or less than 102 inches.
·Vehicle height does not have a federal limit, but some states will determine between 13.6 and 14.6 feet for total vehicle height.
As far as weight, single axle vehicles may not exceed 20,000 pounds, tandem axle vehicles may not exceed 34,000 pounds, and the gross vehicle weight may not exceed 80,000 pounds.
Any individual responsible for loading cargo into trailers must ensure everything is safely and properly loaded. That means items should not cause uneven weight or that the trailer is not overloaded. If this is done incorrectly, it can lead to a potential crash.
I have been involved in instances where trucking companies try to encourage overloading cargo and/or driving longer than the permitted so deliveries are timely made. Such a situation can lead to a fatigued driver and/or a dangerous situation where crashes are near certain.
What the Injured Parties Can Do
When someone sustains a serious injury as a result of a truck crash, they have specific rights, but they should start with hiring legal counsel to help them along the way. A lawyer can help utilize necessary evidence to determine if a regulation violation was the cause of the accident.
At Bordas & Bordas our attorneys are dedicated to helping you if you’ve been injured as a result of a negligent truck driver, trucking company or any other party in the trucking industry. We know what causes crashes and we know how to utilize our experience to seek justice on your behalf.