You may recall the accident in early June of 2014, in which comedian Tracy Morgan was injured. His limousine was struck by a Wal-Mart truck driver, whom it was determined, was speeding while fatigued. The truck driver did not have his automatic braking system engaged either. It was determined, after a federal investigation of the incident, which the truck driver was traveling 65 mph in a 45 mph construction zone, after not having slept for more than 24 hours at the time of the accident. This incident, as well as many others, often lead clients to ask whether the trucking industry is regulated by the federal government.
Which federal agencies regulate the trucking industry?
In light of the inherent risk of serious injury in truck accidents, the federal government has established numerous laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, regulates both the trucks and the truck drivers.
A summary of the federal regulations governing the trucking industry
The FMCSA provides regulatory oversight and guidance on numerous issues related to the trucking industry. They have established medical requirements for truck drivers, including drug and alcohol testing. There are regulations regarding the transportation of hazardous materials and the proper securement of cargo. One of the most important regulations, which often become an issue in trucking accident cases, is the “hours of service” regulation.
“Hours of service” regulations
The federal government has established very strict rules regarding the number of hours a truck driver can drive, as well as, how many hours of rest are required before the driver can resume driving. The obvious purpose of these regulations is to prevent trucking accidents caused by driver fatigue. The rules limit truck drivers to an 11-hour daily driving limit. As of July 2013, the maximum average work week is limited to 70 hours, allowing the driver to resume driving only if he or she rests for 34 consecutive hours. Truck drivers are also required to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
Truck drivers are required to keep a driving log
Government regulations require truck drivers to keep a driving log recording their driving hours. This log is turned into their employers (trucking companies) which must maintain the logs in case of a federal audit. The logs must also be submitted to law enforcement if required during a roadside inspection.
If you have questions regarding trucking accidents, or any other personal injury matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at Means Gillis Law, PC, either online or by calling toll free at 1-844-870-1777