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What Trucking Safety Regulations Affect My Truck Accident Case?
What Trucking Safety Regulations Affect My Truck Accident Case?

What Trucking Safety Regulations Affect My Truck Accident Case?

Federal and state laws highly regulate large semi-trucks. That's because semi-trucks are massive vehicles with the potential to inflict substantial damage.

Federal and state laws highly regulate large semi-trucks. That’s because semi-trucks are massive vehicles with the potential to inflict substantial damage. As such, it takes careful preparation, training, and strict guidelines to ensure they are operating safely.

Semi-trucks are enormous; they can easily crush passenger vehicles and leave occupants with catastrophic injuries or kill them. In addition, they’re difficult to operate. As a result, even the slightest mistake can cause a truck driver to lose control and cause significant damage.

Federal, state, and local regulations impact when, how, and how long truck drivers can operate. They may also affect your truck accident case if you were injured in a Florida truck accident. Read on to find out how truck regulations can affect your accident claim.

Breaking Truck Regulations Increases the Likelihood of An Accident

One simple act of negligence can cause a massive truck accident involving one or several passenger vehicles. That’s why trucks and trucking companies must adhere to all regulations. Failing to do so can put people’s lives in danger.

For example, skipping one truck inspection can lead to an accident caused by defective truck parts. The consequences can be dire – even fatal. Failing to comply with truck regulations is considered negligence, making them liable for an accident. And when a negligent driver or truck company causes injuries or death, the victims can seek compensation.

Federal, State, and Local Trucking Regulations

Semi-trucks are subject to more rules than the average driver. They have federal, state, and local laws to abide by. All truck drivers must know and follow trucking laws, or they could face penalties. A truck driver unaware of the laws can also cause an accident by failing to follow safety regulations.

Trucking companies and employers are also required to follow regulations. If a trucking company fails to follow truck safety laws, it can be liable for the accident. In addition, companies must follow guidelines for hiring and supervising drivers and maintenance and inspection of trucks. Unfortunately, sometimes trucking companies ignore these regulations to earn more profit.

Federal Trucking Regulation

Most trucking safety laws are made and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). They are a government entity that makes federal-level regulations, meaning all truck drivers and companies must abide by their regulations, regardless of which state they live or work in. Furthermore, any commercial vehicle in the following categories must also follow federal trucking laws:

  • Semi-trucks
  • Tractor trailers
  • Big rigs
  • Eighteen wheelers
  • Any truck exceeding 10,000

Florida State Trucking Regulations

In addition to federal regulations, Florida also enforces state-level laws. These laws are regulated by the Florida Highway Patrol’s Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement. Truck drivers must follow state regulations, just like federal rules. If they fail to follow trucking safety regulations, that can affect your truck accident case. For example, while there is no height limit on a federal level, Florida state does enforce a regulation for truck height. Failure to follow this limit can make the truck driver or company liable for negligence.

Safety Regulations That Can Affect a Florida Truck Accident Case

It’s up to truck drivers and companies to follow trucking laws and regulations. If not, they could cause severe accidents. Trucking regulations apply to many different areas of trucking, from hours of service to cargo and truck size.

Here are some of the most common trucking regulations that truckers and companies violate. Violation of these regulations could mean you can hold them accountable for your injuries. In addition, if there is proof of negligence by violating safety regulations, you may be eligible to collect financial compensation from the driver, trucking company, or third party.

Restricted Working Hours for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers’ working hours are regulated due to the high accident rate caused by drowsy and tired truck drivers. The effects of fatigued driving are similar to drunk driving and can cause monumental damage if a truck crashes. In addition, tired truck drivers have slowed reaction times, delayed reflexes, impaired judgment, and less perception.

Truck drivers are more likely than other drivers to drive while tired because of their demanding schedules. They usually work very long shifts, spending 10 hours or more driving.

Consequently, federal regulations place limits on working hours for truck drivers.

The regulations are in place to ensure that drivers take mandatory breaks and don’t overexert themselves beyond reasonable limits. For example, truck drivers have a daily limit of 11 hours if they carry cargo and 10 hours if they carry passengers.

Florida law also allows truck drivers transporting property to drive 12 hours daily. Furthermore, federal regulations require truck drivers to take a minimum 34-hour break within eight days.

To ensure truck drivers are following federal ordinances, they must log hours. Any driver or employer who knowingly disobeys these service hour directives can be guilty of negligence.

No Alcohol and Drugs Policy

Truck drivers have a high incidence rate of drug and alcohol use. While there’s no exact causal link between substance abuse and truck driving, there is a high correlation. Meaning truck drivers are a demographic with a high chance of developing alcohol and other illegal substances additions.

There are obvious reasons why it’s dangerous for truck drivers to refrain from using drugs or alcohol while driving. This is a legal responsibility for all drivers – to drive sober. But many truck drivers use amphetamines, alcohol, or other drugs as a coping mechanism for their extended periods of driving.

Despite drug testing administered before employing truck drivers, many are still under the influence when they cause accidents. A drunk or drugged truck driver who causes an accident can be found negligent and held accountable for causing harm to others.

Restrictions on Size and Weight of Truck

Many of Florida’s interstates have weighing stations for large trucks. Weigh stations ensure that massive semi-trucks and commercial vehicles comply with weight regulations. In addition, size and weight regulations ensure that trucks are less likely to lose control from overloading.

Florida allows semi-trucks:

  • up to 80,000 pounds on the interstate and intrastate highways
  • height limit of 13 feet 6 inches
  • No more than three-foot overhang
  • Width limit of 75 feet and 102 inches, excluding side mirrors

Driver Qualification and Hiring Process Regulations

Truck drivers must undergo all necessary training and certification as commercial drivers to operate semi-trucks legally. After all necessary training, they must obtain a commercial driver’s license, background check, and pass a drug test.

Trucking companies have the legal responsibility to thoroughly examine drivers before hiring. Failing to conduct quality assurance during the hiring process is negligence. Furthermore, putting dangerous or unqualified drivers on the wheel operating huge vehicles creates a risk to everyone on the road.

Sometimes trucking companies take shortcuts or skip steps during the vetting process. Or, when they have a driver shortage, they may knowingly disregard certain requirements. This scenario could lead to a grave traffic collision that could have been prevented.

Truck Maintenance and Inspection Guidelines

Semi-trucks and big rigs are larger and more complex than passenger vehicles. Some trucks have up to eighteen wheels. They also cover more mileage than the average vehicle while carrying huge quantities of cargo. The extra weight and mileage require specialized and frequent maintenance.

Trucks should undergo regular inspections and routine maintenance to prevent malfunctions or defects. Trucking companies and drivers must ensure that trucks are in working order. When they forgo essential inspections and care to rush a job and cut corners, they put people’s lives at risk. A maintenance company or truck mechanic that fails to adequately service the truck can also be negligent if a truck malfunction and causes an accident.

Proving Negligence Will Strengthen Your Claim

If a truck driver or trucking company violated any safety regulations, this would probably work in your favor. That’s because negligence usually means liability (or legal responsibility). But you need to prove their negligence to win a truck accident claim. Building a successful truck accident case requires gathering strong evidence to establish fault. You must also prove that your injuries and losses directly resulted from the accident.

You Need Evidence to Prove There Was a Violation of Safety Regulations

You can work with a Florida truck accident attorney to ensure you gather all the necessary evidence for your claim. They may even hire a personal investigator to do an in-depth accident analysis. That can help retrieve essential evidence for a truck accident lawsuit.

An attorney with experience handling complex truck accident cases knows what evidence to look for. Truck accidents are not the same as regular passenger car accidents. Therefore, attorneys utilize specialists and experts to build a convincing case on your behalf.

For example, in addition to personal investigators, they may work with accident reconstruction specialists and contact witnesses for testimony to support your claim. If there is any other relevant evidence to help strengthen your claim, a Florida personal injury lawyer will know how to get it.

Contact an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one was injured in a Tampa truck accident, don’t hesitate to get professional legal help. You might be entitled to seek damage compensation for all of your losses. Our Florida personal injury lawyers specialize in truck accident cases and can get you the maximum compensation.

You deserve to focus on recovering while letting skilled attorneys handle your case. So call us today to find out how we can help with your accident case and get your life back on track.

Contact us online or call us to schedule your free initial consultation.

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