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State and Federal Regulations in Truck Accidents

Red TruckSemi-truck drivers, owners, and manufacturers are all required to adhere to a variety of state and federal regulations. These rules regulate how much weight a truck can carry, how long a driver can operate a truck without sleep, and how a truck must be maintained. The regulations were put in place in large part due to the higher risk large trucks pose to other travelers on the road because of their size and weight. A truck driver’s failure to adhere to either state or federal regulations can result in devastating injuries, for which the driver may be liable.

Duty of Care

All drivers have a duty to act reasonably in complying with traffic laws and operating their vehicles safely. Truck drivers are held to an even higher standard simply because semi-trucks can be so dangerous to other drivers and to pedestrians. To help enforce this standard of care, both the federal and California governments have instituted a series of guidelines to regulate truck drivers. Violations of these regulations that result in injuries to others are often treated by courts as instances of negligence per se, or presumed proof of the party’s negligence.

Driver’s License Regulations

One of the most important semi-truck regulations is the requirement that all commercial drivers obtain a specialized license. To obtain a commercial driver’s license, commercial truck drivers must pass a series of tests administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The tests require a driver to be adept at a variety of skills, including:

  • Vehicle inspection;
  • Maneuvering;
  • Maintenance of engines, tires, and lights; and
  • Understanding hazardous materials containment procedures.

Truck drivers are also required to pass a drug test and a physical examination.

Log Book Regulations

Federal law requires that truck drivers adhere to a strict schedule. For instance, drivers cannot drive for more than eleven hours straight and must take a ten hour rest period afterward. Additionally, truck drivers may not drive more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days.

In order to verify that these rules are being followed, drivers must keep an accurate log book containing certain data, including:

  • The number of hours they drive and rest;
  • The date on which they pick up their cargo;
  • The truck’s weight;
  • The delivery date of the cargo; and
  • The destination.

Being the victim of a truck driver’s negligence or violation of a federal or state regulation can be emotionally and financially devastating for victims and their families. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you may be able to recover damages for the harm you suffered, including medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and the loss of future income. Please contact the dedicated San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free initial consultation.

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