FAQs Regarding Federal Trucking Regulations
Though we see commercial trucks driving on the highways across the country and making deliveries every day, many people are not very familiar with the ins and outs of the commercial trucking industry. For example, some individuals may not realize that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)1 enacts and enforces numerous rules and regulations that directly apply to truck drivers and their employers. The following are some frequently asked questions regarding federal trucking regulations.
How do you get a commercial driver’s license?
Commercial trucks are large and potentially dangerous vehicles and they require additional knowledge of maneuvering and driving techniques in order to ensure the safety of others on the road. For this reason, anyone who wishes to drive a commercial truck must first obtain a special commercial driver’s license.2 In order to receive this license, you must pass the following:
- – Written knowledge test
- – Skills test involving pre-trip inspections
- – Skills test involving basic maneuvers of the truck, including turning, driving backward, and more
- – Road test showing that you can adequately handle the truck in many different types of traffic conditions
- – Any additional tests required for special license endorsements or different classes of license, such as hazardous materials or school bus license
- – Health examination by a qualified medical professional to ensure you have no vision, hearing, heart, seizure, or other conditions that may disqualify you from driving a commercial truck.
What are “Hours of Service” regulations?
Because fatigued driving is extremely dangerous, the FMCSA regulates the number of consecutive hours and days that a truck driver can be on the road without sufficient rest or sleep breaks. These rules are called hours of service regulations,3 and the FMCSA takes violations very seriously. For example, a driver must take a 30 minute break after driving a truck for eight hours, and may not drive more than 60 hours in six consecutive days or 70 hours in seven consecutive days without taking a certain amount of time off.
What is the legal limit for drinking and driving for commercial drivers?
It is unlawful for any driver in the United States to operate any type of motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.08 percent. Because trucks are so much larger and heavier than other types of motor vehicles, however, truck drivers are held to a more strict standard when it comes to drinking alcohol and driving. The FMCSA sets out a federal regulations setting the legal limit for commercial drivers at 0.04 percent, which is about two standard alcoholic drinks for most people. Of course, this amount can vary based on size of the person, how much they had to eat that day, how quickly they were drinking, and more. Commercial drivers are also subjected to random drug and alcohol testing by their employers in accordance with FMCSA regulations to try to further ensure that they are not drinking and driving.
What happens if a truck driver violates the law and causes an accident?
Truck drivers can act negligent and still technically be within the law. However, when a commercial truck driver violates a law or regulation and causes accidents and injuries, a court should use the violation to find the driver automatically negligent, known as “negligence per se.” This means that injured victims will not have to present any additional evidence of negligence other than the violation of the law and, in many cases, this makes it easier to prevail in a legal claim.
Contact an experienced Clearwater truck accident lawyer for a free consultation today
If you have been in an accident with a truck driver, it is important to identify whether or not the truck driver violated any FMCSA regulations. An experienced truck accident attorney will know how to investigate the case, speak with law enforcement, and use other resources to use any violations to help you fully recover for all of your accident-related injuries. At the office of the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, our team of attorneys knows how to prove any violations of driving laws or FMCSA rules to help you receive the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation with one of our lawyers today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756