Trucking regulations are put into place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reduce crashes and injuries. The FMCSA enforces these regulations throughout all 50 states. Florida also has its own set of regulations enforced by the Florida Highway Patrol Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (OCVE).
When trucking regulations are broken (whether on a state or federal level), it’s referred to as negligence. This negligence may be on behalf of the driver, the trucking company, or other third parties.
Negligence can result In truck accidents that cause injury or fatality. Those injured in commercial trucking accidents know firsthand how terrifying, stressful, and expensive these accidents can be.
What regulations do truck drivers have to follow, and how does a broken trucking regulation affect your truck accident lawsuit? To learn more about what happens when a trucking regulation is broken, keep reading.
There are many different trucking regulations put into place, either locally or federally. In addition, Florida has many specific regulations that aren’t enforced federally, so commercial vehicle operators need to be aware of both sets of rules.
Size and Weight Regulations
- Florida enforces a 75 foot limit on all commercial vehicles, while federal rules only place a limit on some specific combination vehicles.
- In Florida, vehicles may only have a three-foot front overhang.
- Florida’s height limit for commercial vehicles is 13 feet, 6 inches, or 14 inches for car transporters. However, there isn’t a federal limit.
- When it comes to width, vehicles may not be more than 102 inches wide. This doesn’t include safety devices or side-view mirrors.
Federal law determines how many hours a commercial truck driver may work each week, with specific rules that state how long they can consecutively drive and how long their breaks need to be.
Drivers may only drive for 11 hours if carrying cargo and 10 hours if carrying passengers. Drivers are also required to take 34 consecutive hours off-duty to reset after a 6-8 day period of driving.
These laws are strict, as driving for too long throughout the day or the week can result in fatigue, which can cause drivers to get into accidents.
- Drivers are required to consent to random drug and alcohol testing to ensure that no one is drinking or doing drugs while operating their commercial motor vehicle.
- A driver must have specific qualifications and training before they’re allowed to drive a commercial vehicle.
- Vehicles are required to be maintained, inspected, and repaired when necessary.
How Employees and Employers Break Trucking Regulations
There are many ways that these regulations may be broken, but most commonly, drivers take part in distracted driving, drinking or doing drugs, or driving past federal limits. By doing this, they put themselves and others on the road in danger. Truck drivers owe a duty of care to all other drivers on the road, and when they break trucking regulations, they’re also breaching that duty of care.
However, truck drivers aren’t the only ones that should be held accountable for breaking trucking regulations. Regulations are also often broken by employers, which can also cause accidents to occur. In addition, if employers don’t provide proper training, allow drivers to drive over the federal limits, or don’t maintain their trucks properly, they can be liable for any accidents that occur as well.
What to Do When an Accident Occurs Because of a Broken Trucking Regulation
If you’re involved in a trucking accident, and you suspect it’s because of broken trucking regulations, such as a fatigued, distracted, or intoxicated driver, record as much information at the scene of the accident as you can.
Once you’ve contacted the police after the accident, you should begin your own investigation, documenting as much as you can. Make sure to get the driver’s contact information as well as the company that they work for. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, and speak to anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Get their contact information for future reference.
This documentation can help your attorney further build your case, but they’ll also do a more in-depth investigation of their own.
How to Prove Third-Party Liability
To prove third-party liability, you much be able to prove that someone other than the driver acted with negligence. To do that, you must prove the following:
- Duty of Care. Truck drivers have a duty to act responsibly on the road to protect others from harm. As this is true, it can also be said that their employers (or another party) share this duty and must uphold it through their own actions.
- Breach of Duty of Care. You must be able to prove that something that the third party did resulted in a breach of duty of care, such as over-scheduling an employee or not providing proper training.
- Causation. You must be able to prove that the breach directly caused the accident to occur.
- Damages. And finally, there must be damages associated with the accident, such as medical bills or pain and suffering.
Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you should contact our talented team of attorneys as soon as possible. Truck accidents can be devastating, causing lifelong injuries like paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and even death.
To ensure that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries (or your loved one’s passing), hire an attorney who cares about your case and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.